Friday, September 7, 2012

Gameday preview: Maryland at Temple

Matt Brown was the runaway winner last year of a poll on this website
that asked "Which RB best epitomizes the term   "Temple TUFF", beating 

Heisman Trophy runnerup Paul Palmer and Bernard Pierce, among others.
 In this photo , taken  after the New Mexico Bowl win, Brown holds up two hands, 
signifying his number change this season.

Temple vs. Maryland
Lincoln Financial Field
Kickoff: Noon
Radio: WPHT (1210AM)
Tailgate: Lots open 7 a.m.
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 at kickoff, 87 by 3 p.m., slight wind (15-25 mph), rain coming in after the game is over
Notable: Owls have won five straight at LFF and are 16-3 at home in their last 19 games
A famous football coach, now disgraced and dead, once said:
"You always improve the most between the first and second week."
I've always agreed with that.
Some of the best Temple football teams in my memory did not start out well opening week, but had a heckuva Week 2 on the way to a terrific season.
So here's the formula for today's noon showdown with visiting Maryland:
Mix in an improved Temple football team vs. an improved Maryland team, add a touch of revenge on Maryland's part and what comes out of the oven?
Well, I think the faulty ingredient in that mix is the revenge part.
Sure, there are SOME Maryland players still on the team steaming about Temple's 38-7 win at College Park last year.
Still, what about the 14 new players, 12 true freshmen, who saw their first action for Maryland last week in an opening 7-6 win against William and Mary?
I'm not sure they are feeling the same rage.
Temple, on the other hand, talked all week about avoiding a letdown ala Toledo last year.
I don't think it's going to happen against Maryland.
Look at it this way.
That "letdown" had to do as much with two awful picks thrown by Chester Stewart as it did with overlooking Toledo.
It's what I call the CSF Syndrome or, simply, the Chester Stewart Factor.
There is no CSF now.
Matty Brown, Temple's dynamite tailback, plays every game like it's a freakin' Super Bowl.
If Brown could give his teammates a pre-game shot in the arm that gets their blood flowing as fast as his, that's the kind of thing that would ward off any emotional advantage any other team could have. I don't think that's possible, but they seem to feed off his energy.
Brown is a Temple fan favorite. Last year, after a season in which Bernard Pierce gained 1,747 yards and scored 27 touchdowns, I asked a question on this website. "Which RB best epitomizes the term Temple TUFF?" Brown was the runaway winner, garnering 75 percent of the vote, and solidly beating Pierce and former Heisman Trophy runnerup Paul Palmer.
I could not argue with that choice.
Another factor is that we haven't seen the "real" Montel Harris yet and you know he's got to be motivated to show his skills on Saturday.
So there you have it.
Take away Maryland's rage, which is a red herring, and decide whether an improved Temple team in Week 2 is better than an improved Maryland team.
Since William and Mary, in my view, is no better than Villanova, I think Temple takes this one by a fairly comfortable margin.
I'll go with 28-13.

Later tonight: Game analysis