Friday, November 30, 2012

P.J. Walker leads unbeaten Elizabeth tonight

I don't think this music is on Steve Addazio's IPOD, but the passes are impressive.

The recruits so far, according to
When one of the nation's top 15 recruits last year was asked why he chose a lesser profile school over another, he responded:
"That other school wanted me, but this team NEEDS me," he said.
So it is with P.J. Walker of Elizabeth (N.J.).
Other schools may WANT P.J. Walker, but Temple NEEDS P.J. Walker and that is why I think he will be arguably the top recruit of the 2013 Temple class. I write "arguably" because you could make a good case for kicker Jim Cooper, Jr., too.
With Temple's top three quarterbacks (Chris Coyer, Juice Granger, Kevin Newsome) gone after next season, the Owls need someone for the 2014 season who can be brought up to speed in the 2013 season to be The Man in the 2014 season.
To me, that person is P.J. Walker, who leads his team tonight (7 p.m., Williams Field, Elizabeth) against Franklin. Walker's Minutemen are 9-0 and probably 10-0 after tonight (they already beat Franklin, 42-13, in the regular season) and are the top-ranked Public School in the state.
Williams Field is just off Route 1 in Elizabeth.

Head coach Steve Addazio says he wants to run a true spread offense, but he said that in the summer and that didn't happen. He says that will happen next year. I want to see play-action passes on first down to make the running game more effective on second down. I want to see defenses have to defend the whole field and next just inside the tackle box. I think all Owl fans do. That's a true spread offense.
We'll see.
In my mind, the true spread has got to happen because Temple needs a "Doug Flutie-type" impact player to make the move from bad to good to phenomenal to super phenomenal.
This year, let's be honest, the Owls were just plain bad.
They have to make the move to good next year and, I don't care what Daz says, the record is going to have to reflect it. Rome wasn't built in a day, but the construction guys didn't take a year off, either.
Boston College wasn't significantly better than Temple until Flutie pushed the school into national prominence. The same argument can be made for Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater.
Walker could be that player for Temple.
Once Walker takes the controls, they can think of being phenomenal in his sophomore year and "super phenomenal" by his junior year.
At least that's the direction Daz promises the team is headed.
To do that, the Owls have to corral Walker and a few more impact players.
If you are in the neighborhood of Northern New Jersey, a trip to Williams Field might be a better option tonight than watching the MAC championship game on ESPN.
It'll be like going to a Temple football game two years from now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Temple football: The road to Super Phenomenal

One last Temple look at Matt Brown. Something tells me we will see him again playing on a different day of the week.

Interested in keeping Temple Football Forever regularly updated during recruiting season? Please click over the donate button to the right.

Right about now, Temple head football coach Steve Addazio is setting the GPS for the road to Super Phenomenal.
If the Owls get there, it will depend a lot on Daz inputing the right coordinates.
At the very least, you've got to figure that Temple is going to be a better football team this year than next.
The Owls played as many as 16 freshmen starters at times this year and a couple of solid teams leave the schedule in Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Addazio says the team is moving in a "super phenomenal direction" and you've got to hope that Daz's definition of "super phenomenal" is not just five wins next year.
What is my definition of "'super phenomenal" .. hmm, AT LEAST flipping the 4-7 into 7-5 next year. I've never seen a "regular" phenomenal 6-6 team. If "super phenomenal" is, say, 9-3 or better in a couple of years, you've got to at least go 7-5 along the way.
Still, though, there are some serious concerns to be addressed before the Owls chose the road that leads them to Super Phenomenal.
Since you've got to go with the current roster personnel, I would tweak things just a big to improve the 2013 Owls. I don't think anybody currently playing in high school is going to make the Owls super phenomenal next year.
My easy fixes:
Looks like the Army Billy Goat followed the Owls from
West Point in this great image captured by Frank Stephens.
The shadow behind John Christopher was not photo shopped.
DEFENSIVE SECONARDY _ Can this be fixed in one year? I don't know but I would give a serious look to former Rutgers' recruit Abdul Smith as a cornerback. Unlike the current starter, who was recruited by FCS Hofstra (now without a program), Smith brings solid BCS recruit potential in there and I thought he played very well in his most extended duty, the UConn game. With lock-down cornerback Anthony Robey on the other end, that's an upgrade. I would give Kevin Newsome the entire spring to become the star playmaking free safety I think he can be and he was proven to be in high school. If the first two QBs get injured, Newsome's 2012 of being third-team quarterback won't be wasted and he could fill in as emergency QB. He's too good an athlete to keep off the field, though.
DEFENSIVE LINE _ Since the Owls appear to be thin there and have plenty of talented linebackers, why not go 3-4 instead of 4-3. With a 3-4 you need to have a good nose guard and I think both Levi Brown and Hershey Walton fit that bill. I would recruit a big, mean, pass-rushing JUCO DE or at least two. Playng a 3-4 allows you to blitz a couple of  speedy linebackers on passing downs, while leaving two back to cover a screen or draw.
OFFENSIVE SCHEME _ I would ditch this run-first approach and rehire Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator. The Owls' offense was much more smooth under Loeffler and he was even able to make Chester Stewart effective in the Maryland game by a lot of short rollout passes to the tight end and running backs on first down. That made Bernard Pierce a much more effective back. Daz needs more than a yes man as OC and Loeffler would fit that bill nicely. Without Matt Brown and Montel Harriss, the Owls can't be one-dimensional. I think Jamie Gilmore and Montrell Dobbs would thrive under a more balanced approach and the Owls have to show future quarterback recruits they are more than ready and willing to throw the football.
That's how my GPS tells me to get to Super Phenomenal. I hope Daz has the same GPS system.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Official Programme of the 1970 World Cup

A cheery red cover invites you to thumb through the 66 pages of this souvenir programme created as a guide to the 1970 World Cup. Priced at just six shillings (or 30p for any Brits harbouring decimal thoughts a year ahead of their time), this was the official handbook guaranteed to help you get the most out of the FIFA’s ninth global tournament.

Or at least two-thirds of it was. Some 23 pages were set aside for adverts, thus proving that rampant commercialism isn’t as new as you think. But what adverts – some for official partners like British Leyland (England’s coach providers), some for popular brands of the day like Mobil oil, and some for utterly random items like Action Man dolls (complete with sporting outfits, mark you). Even the Esso 1970 World Cup Coin Collection gets a look in.

But never mind that, I hear you cry – what sort of useful information could I find inside such an august publication? Well once we’ve been informed who makes up the World Cup Organising Committee, we’re given a short history of the competition translated into four languages. Throughout the programme, everything’s available in English, French, Spanish and German and printed in black, blue, pink and black again respectively.

After that, there are details about the previous tournaments, the qualifying results for the 1970 Finals and the ever-useful fixture list for the sixteen teams taking part.

Then it’s onto an illustrated profile of those teams and the stadia they were due to play in. Taking one group at a time, we get a black and white photograph of each venue plus a line up for each squad with monochrome images of six of the players.

Here we realise the limitations brought about by a lack of colour – and the lack of a photographer. The harsh Mexican sunlight means the likes of V Pereda and I Calderon are shown half-and-half in extreme brightness and shadow. The Swedish players look like they’ve had their photos taken at the local police station, while Bulgaria’s finest appear so dim and grainy as to be barely identifiable at all.

Yet it’s the Czechoslovakian team that causes most concern. Their team are depicted not photographically but as a series of paintings the like of which wouldn’t look out of place in the waiting room of a mental institution. Whether the budget ran out to pay for a measly six photos at the headquarters of the Czech FA we’re not quite sure, but it’s safe to say even an 80-year-old Spanish woman could have done a better job than this.

Finally at the back, there are pages where you can fill in all the scores of the matches as the tournament progresses plus the player line-ups for the two competing finalists. All in all, a curious mix of content which, it could be said, lacked the excitement brought about by Pele, Banks and their ilk, but nonetheless tried valiantly to build on the success of the previous tournament four years before.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 2

It's time for Round 2 of The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Round 1 ended on Friday and the results can be viewed here.

But now it's time for the big guns to enter the fray as the 32 seeded sponsors join the tournament!  At last, Crown Paints, Wang, Sharp, etc, get to flex their sponsorship muscles!

Not only that, but as you'll see, the sponsors themselves have been granted a makeover courtesy of John Devlin, author of football kit bible True Colours.

Our sincere thanks and gratitude go out to John for not only kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations, but also for working so quickly to get the images to us. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.


1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 2 closes at midnight on Friday 30th November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

Let battle commence!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Four and seven nothing to get excited about

At least Steve Addazio is excited about the future of the Temple University football team.
If he is, I guess I should be.
I'll have to reserve judgment on that one because, no matter how you package it, four and seven is nothing to get excited about.
I must be a hard marker.
After Friday's 38-20 loss to Syracuse, which looked a lot like the other four Big East losses before that, there were a few things that were painfully apparent this year:
TEMPLE'S SECONDARY CAN'T COVER ANYONE _ If Daz can't see that, I don't know what he's looking at. Other than Anthony Robey, the Owls got picked on big-time on third and long this year and could not get off the field. That's not being negative. It is what it is. Without criticizing individual kids, there were some guys who were on the field who did not belong on the back line of the defense. Does anybody ever step in front of a ball and pick it off anymore? Not at Temple, sadly. Unless young versions of Todd Bowles, Kevin Ross, Bob Mizia, Pervis Herder or Anthony Young show up on campus in the next few months, I don't see how this gets any better.
TEMPLE'S PASS RUSH WAS NONEXISTENT _ I knew the Owls would miss Adrian "Rush" Robinson and they did. There was just no guy on the defensive line with his spin move, speed, toughness and his relentlessness. There was some talk about injuries along the defensive line, but those are just excuses. Other teams had injuries and they got to the quarterback. Temple needs a Robinson to arrive on campus soon. Maybe he will. Maybe that will energize the other returning linemen. We can only hope. The pocket needs to collapse and the Owls need D-linemen with the speed to get to the QB and put him down. Getting close won't cut it anymore. This isn't T-ball where everybody gets a certificate for trying. This is big-time college football and a results-oriented business.
TEMPLE'S OFFENSIVE LINE DID NOT DO A GOOD JOB PROTECTING THE PASSER _ Chris Coyer got beat up during his time as a QB and Friday was Juice Granger's turn. Daz said the team had problems picking up protections, but isn't that was Monday through Thursday practice is for? Just sayin'.
I've always said that my two keys to winning in football were to protect your QB and put the  other guy's QB on his ass.
Temple did a very poor job of both against Syracuse and in the four BE games prior to that one.
Other than the secondary, pass rush and pass protection, I agree with Daz.
The future is bright.
Just don't know if there's enough other areas to make much of a difference.
Season: 17-9 overall, 15-12 ATS. 
Last week: 0-1 with three ties (or pushes, as Vegas calls it):
BUFFALO giving 10 at Umass; TULSA favored by 2 to over visiting UCF and LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE giving 4 to visiting Western Kentucky. Amazingly, this is how good Vegas is: Buffalo won, 29-19; Tulsa won, 23-21 and LL won, 31-27. Lost on  SOUTH FLORIDA getting 7 at Miami. Al Golden won, 40-9.
This week: Going back to high-value underdogs. RUTGERS getting 2 at Pitt; WYOMING getting 7 1/2 over visiting San Diego State; AUBURN and OC Scot Loeffler getting a backdoor cover of 33 at Alabama; GEORGIA TECH getting 14 at Georgia.

Match of the Day - Episode 1 (1964)

The first edition of the BBC’s Match of the Day programme was aired on 22 August 1964. Shown on BBC2, it was the first time people in the UK (albeit only in London at first) were able to watch football highlights on their own TV screens.

Despite initial fears that it might lead to fewer people going along to watch matches in person, it went on to become an institution of British broadcasting and a go-to programme for British football fans everywhere.

Though today’s Match of the Day is a showcase for slick presentation, superior camerawork and great commentary, the first outing for the show was notably lacking in gloss. To begin, there was no theme tune, no opening title sequence and, this being 1964, everything was in black and white. What you’d have seen was a picture board showing the programme’s title, over which a continuity announcer spoke the following words:

“And now we come to ‘Match of the Day’, the highlights of one of today’s Football League matches. Your commentators are Kenneth Wolstenholme and Wally Barnes.”

What happened after that?  Read on to find out....

1. Introduction

The camera cuts straight to the film footage of Liverpool v Arsenal (complete with barely readable caption) where the home side run out onto the pitch to a noisy but cheerful welcome from the crowd. The first thing to note is Liverpool wearing white shorts, such was the case back then. Bill Shankly would eventually have his side wearing all red because he felt a kit of one colour gave an altogether stronger image to the opposing team. Someone somewhere has probably done research into whether a one-colour kit brings greater success, but now’s not the time to discuss it.

2. Kenneth Wolstenholme

Our first sight of Kenneth Wolstenholme, commentator supreme and still two years away from his iconic performance at the 1966 World Cup Final. In the background we hear the Anfield crowd singing along in unison to 'She Loves You' and Wolstenholme gives us his opening gambit:

“Welcome to Match of the Day, the first of a weekly series coming to you every Saturday on BBC2. As you can hear we’re in Beatleville for this Liverpool versus Arsenal match.”

3. Liverpool

A caption shows us the Liverpool team line-up. Remember, Liverpool were the reigning league champions at the time but two of their number were missing here - Ian St. John with appendicitis and Alf Arrowsmith with a leg injury. Oh for the days when footballers were called ‘Alf’...

4. Arsenal

And so to the Arsenal team which, Wolstenholme tells us, could be heading for glory in the eyes of many people - especially with new signing Don Howe, the former England right back, in their ranks.

5. Wally Barnes

Wolstenholme is joined pitchside by former Arsenal full back Wally Barnes. To a backing tannoy accompaniment of ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ by The Swinging Blue Jeans, Barnes explains that the absence of Liverpool’s two strikers due to illness could be an unsettling factor for the defending champions.

6. Kick-off

Liverpool kick off, playing from right to left and wearing the grey shirts. Roger Hunt is ready and poised (see top of picture) and with the blow of the whistle from Mr Howley of Middlesbrough, the 1964/65 season gets underway.

7. Early chaos

Chaos ensues as, after a bright start, Ian Callaghan is fouled near the Arsenal goal, but no-one hears the referee’s whistle amid the Anfield din. Arsenal counter-attack and even when the Liverpool keeper Tommy Lawrence gets to throw the ball back upfield for the free kick, Arsenal defender Billy McCulloch intercepts the ball and tries a shot. “None of this matters” exclaims Wolsteholme, but luckily George Eastham figures it all out and brings the game to a temporary halt.

8. Early chance

Despite an opening seven minutes in which both sides have had their fair share of attacking play, it’s Arsenal that get the first decent chance of the game. A free kick taken by George Eastham from just outside the far corner of the penalty area arrows towards Lawrence’s right-hand post, but the Liverpool keeper dives low to smother the ball.

9. Liverpool open the scoring

GOAL! Liverpool’s oft-used ploy of crossing balls into the Arsenal box from the left wing finally pays dividends as Roger Hunt hooks an Ian Calaghan pull-back over the keeper and into the net. “It’s a goal!” shouts Wolstenholme, and who are we to disagree - 1-0 to Liverpool.

10. Caption issues

Note for future reference - make sure captions are positioned correctly so that any ‘1’s aren’t obscured by the half-way line.

11. Half Time

The referee blows for half time. Liverpool have played the better football and edged the possession, but both sides have had their chances. Don Howe’s certainly seen plenty of the ball in the Arsenal defence and is proving a useful close-season buy from West Brom.

12. Wally's First Half summary

Wally Barnes appears on-screen again to give us his verdict of the first half. He feels Liverpool have dominated the first half (perhaps a bit harsh) and correctly highlights the home side’s strength down the left wing which, coincidentally, is where Arsenal are at their weakest. His explanation is spoken to the musical accompaniment of Ken Dodd singing ‘Happiness’ over the Anfield tannoy system.

13. Second Half

Arsenal kick off, playing from right to left in a kit of white shirts, white socks and red socks. Nike - take note. Purple and black simply will not do.

14. Liverpool double their lead

GOAL!  Liverpool go 2-0 up... Ian Callaghan’s cross finds Gordon Wallace who heads in from close range. Once again, no action replay to watch so if you wanted to see the goal again, you’d need either a photographic memory or both teams randomly re-enacting the goal for you.

15. Arsenal back in the game

GOAL! Arsenal pull one back thanks to Geoff Strong who plays a neat one-two with Eastham before unleashing a low shot past the beaten Lawrence. A rare lapse in concentration for what had been a strong Liverpool defence, but still a goal generously applauded goal by the home fans.

16. Arsenal equalise

GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2 ARSENAL 2... Strong plays the ball down the right wing where it’s picked up by Armstrong. He crosses for Baker whose brilliantly angled diving header beats Lawrence again on his left post. It’s two goals in two minutes for The Gunners and they’re right back in it.

17. Lucky omen... but for who?

Another swift flowing move almost results in Armstrong putting Arsenal in front, but Kenneth Wolstenholme has other things on his mind. “A black cat is running on the far side... there it is! A black cat... I wonder which side it supports? Arsenal or Liverpool?” The poor distressed animal runs almost an entire circuit of the pitch, even evading a fan who dives onto the pitch to try and catch it. A reminder to anyone younger than 15: this was an era when animals were regularly seen making random appearances in the middle of top-flight football matches. Nowadays you’ll be lucky if you see so much as a beach ball.

16 Liverpool's late winner

GOAL! Despite being under the cosh from a series of constant Arsenal attacks in the second half, it’s Liverpool who grab the winner in the dying seconds of the match. Receiving a cross-field pass from Ian Callaghan, Gordon Wallace cuts in from the left wing and from yards out lets rip with a storming shot that leaves Furnell floundering. It’s his second and Liverpool’s third.

17. Final whistle

Arsenal throw everything into one last desperate attack but it comes to nought as the referee blows his whistle to end the game. Wolstenholme quickly reappears on-screen, puffing out his cheeks at the exciting climax to a great game. “Well I call it the Match of the Century, I don’t know about the Match of the Day!” he says and, wrong though he probably is, who are we to deny the great man his moment of elation.

Before the end, KW just has time to bring us the other results involving clubs from London. Crystal Palace had “a bad start to Division Two” losing 3-2 at home to Derby, while Fulham lost 2-1 at home to West Ham, “but then one London club had to lose then” explains Wolstenholme helpfully.

18. Closing titles

With that, Kenneth Wolstenholme invites us to watch Match of the Day again next week and we finally get some Newsreel-style music by way of a closing theme.

Nearly 50 years on, it’s fair to say the presentation couldn’t be any more different to that which we know today, but at least the football itself remains the central focus of the programme. While that’s the case, we’ll always look to Match of the Day for our weekly fix of football escapism.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Game Day Preview: At least the weather is good

The weather at UConn on Oct. 13 (above) was colder than is forecast for today.
The weather (above) for Philadelphia on Nov. 23.

"Having 500 yards of rushing for Coach Daz is like giving an addict another baggie of crack. We may never see another forward pass."
_ Fan post on
Steve Addazio's affinity for the running game reminds me of my obsession with the lottery.
It never does me any good, but I keep going back to it every Saturday.
If 1-3-13-19-20 and 6 come up this Saturday, I will be writing my next posts from Clearwater Beach and waiting down there for the six weeks it will take for some of the early pitchers and catchers to report.
Before I hitch my brand new Chevy Volt to a chartered Auto Train in Lorton (Va.), I will donate $200 million to Temple to start its own stadium fund. I think I can scrape by on the remaining $156 mil. (I'll stop by the house of the lone TFF donor from Lorton beforehand and give him a $1 million check for believing in me when I was poor.)
Otherwise, I still will be up here pounding the payment.
If the numbers 351 and 7, as in yards and touchdowns for Montel Harris, comes up Friday, Addazio and his Temple Owls will probably be going bowling. (Yeah, I know the Owls will be a five-win team, but they will be the only five-win team with just six losses and the hottest running back in the country.)
Neither my winning the lotto or those numbers coming up for Daz will happen, but I know I'm willing to lay odds against either of us trying.
The Army game was, as Jeffrey Lurie might say, Fool's Gold.  Army was ranked 118th in rushing defense. Syracuse is ranked 43d in the same category. Big difference. If Temple approaches Syracuse with the same game plan it took to West Point, the Owls will be the team losing, 63-32.
Somebody had a great line on the other day about that and I wish I could give him credit but I'm afraid he'd get in trouble so here's the perceptive fan post of the year:

"Having 500 yards of rushing for Coach Daz is like giving an addict another baggie of crack. We may never see another forward pass."
Why do I get the feeling that the first three plays Friday morning will be Harris off-tackle right, followed by Harris off-tackle left and a read option that goes for no gain?

To me, that's the wrong way to go but I've been saying that all year and I now know Daz doesn't give a wit what I think.
Temple's best chance of  moving the ball and keeping it out of Ryan Nassib's hand is to deftly fake it to Montel Harris on A LOT of first downs, then make "explosive plays in the passing game downfield" to spread the defense and get the eight out of the box.
With Harris' history established as the Owls' chief offensive weapon, a play-fake to him is likely to freeze the defense long enough that Jalen Fitzpatrick and Ryan Alderman and company will be so open in the seams that both will probably be frantically waving their hands above their heads.
That way, the Owls can go back to Harris and the running game a lot more effectively, chew up large chunks of each quarter and salt away an important victory over the Saltine Warriors.
Why do I get the feeling that the first three plays Friday morning will be Harris off-tackle right, followed by Harris off-tackle left and a read option that goes for no gain?
If Daz proves me wrong for the first time all year, that will be a little like winning the lottery without the monetary reward.
If not, I will still always have Saturdays to look forward to at about 11 p.m.

Tomorrow: Complete game analysis and Saturday football picks

Throwback Thursday: The last time vs. SU

A week ago, Temple had a one-man show putting up 63 points in a win at Army, courtesy of Montel Harris.
Funny, because the last time Temple played Syracuse at Lincoln Financial Field was also a one-man show.
Trust me, at 6-3, 240, you did not
want to tackle this guy in open field.
The man was quarterback Walter Washington.
The show was 185 yards rushing, 130 more yards passing that accounted for all of Temple's touchdowns in a 34-24 win over visiting Syracuse.
The Orange, coached by Paul Pasqualoni, went on to a winning season.
The game was the highlight for Temple and its second win in a two-win season.
Despite winning only two games, Washington, an All-American JUCO out of Dodge City (Kan.), was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year.
Ironically enough, this TU-SU game, also at Lincoln Financial Field, will feature a JUCO All-American quarterback playing for Temple in Juice Granger (Pierce Junior College, Calif.).
Washington was an unstoppable force in 2004, often carrying multiple defenders as many as 15 yards downfield to get his yardage.
Another great day in the TU-SU series, the 1982 game.
He turned down his final year of eligibility at Temple in order to go to pro football. That didn't work out too well, since he spent the 2005 season in the stands with Temple fans lamenting his decision.
But he gave Temple fans a terrific memory in 2004 and the Owls their second-straight win over Syracuse in Philadelphia.
Two years earlier than that, Mike McGann and Tarnardo Sharps led the Owls to a 17-16 win over the Orange in a game played at Veterans Stadium.
This year's memories and principal players are yet-to-be-determined but, if Granger and Harris can pick up where Washington, McGann and Sharps left off, the Owls could be in pretty good shape.

Friday: Game Day Preview

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A tribute to the seniors

Brandon McManus was the reason the Owls opened 2-0 in the Big East.

One of the constants of being a Temple football fan is change.
As long as I'm living, and hopefully that will be a long, long time, I will be in the stadium six times a year.
Have been for the last 30 years and, God-willing, will be for the next 30 years.
I also understand a lot of great people I've met along the way, parents and players, won't.
(I've only seen parents of two players who've graduated come back and those were Mr. John Haley and Mr. Elliot Seifert whose only connection with Temple was that their kids were Owls and then they became great fans afterward.)
A lot of the players come back, but a lot of them don't.
So it is with great sadness every year that this day comes, Senior Day, as it will again on Friday. I may never see some of these guys again, but the memories will always remain.
A few words about some of these guys are appropriate now:
Matt Brown: Toughest Owl ever
MATT BROWN _ Everybody remembers the 226-yard, four-touchdown, performance at Army two years ago year but I have a couple of other favorite memories about this unparalleled Warrior. Last year, during the Kent State game he limped off the field. I turned to my seat neighbors and I said, "You know, I've never seen him get hurt." Pretty much the most durable player I've ever seen play at Temple and, pound-for-pound, the toughest. Another memory was Brown scoring the TU third touchdown of the Eagle Bank Bowl to give Temple a 21-7 lead over UCLA. Before he squirted through the hole and into the end zone, 23,000 people rose to their feet with the loudest "Let's Go Temple!" cheer I've ever heard, in or out of Philadelphia. People were pounding on the RFK Stadium frozen seats and going crazy and Brown did not let them down. Last year's enduring memory was head coach Steve Addazio putting his arm around Brown and walking him down the sideline with some encouraging words when Brown appeared to be beside himself angry for not playing early in the New Mexico Bowl. It would be a sad irony if this amiable young man could not play Friday due to injury. I'm betting he will.
And here it is, Matt's TD: (The Zapruder Film was shot in higher quality and that was in 1963)

BRANDON MCMANUS _ Without question, the MVP of this year's team. My favorite memory was McManus' game-winning kick in the second Mayor's Cup game. Al Golden screwed the pooch by playing the first game too close to the vest and the Owls took a loss. They simply could not afford to lose to Villanova the second time and McManus drilled a 44-yarder that won a game the school absolutely needed. His 330 points (hopefully about 345 after Friday) will be a record that will stand a long, long time at Temple. Because he is a rare triple threat kick guy (kickoffs, FGs and punts) and can take up one roster spot normally occupied by two guys, he will be playing on Sundays next year.
My favorite TU photo of Montel, talking to Army linebacker
Nate Coombs after a seven-touchdown performance.

MONTEL HARRIS _ I used to call Bernard Pierce "The Franchise" but I really believe BP would have had a hard time seeing the field if Montel had been here the last three years. This kid has a greater initial burst into the hole than Pierce did and better moves inside the pile than Pierce did. The only thing Pierce had better than Montel is breakaway speed once he made it around the tight end and a quicker burst in that direction. I believe Harris will also be playing on Sundays. I can't wait until a smiling Montel looks into the camera on Monday Night Football and says, "Montel Harris, Temple Owls."

The only good thing is that the Owls lose just a dozen players and the returning ones should put Temple in the conversation for the upper half of the Big East in next year's preseason predictions.
Here is the complete class (click over the name for bios):

Twelve members of the 2012 Senior Class— RB Matt Brown; Vaughn Carraway Justin Gildea  Marcus Green . C/.JHammond  Montel Harris , Maurice Jones  Brandon McManus  Darryl Shine , Ahkeem Smith , Martin Wallace, John Youboty 

Senior OL Sean BoyleSean Boyle will not participate in Fridays' Senior Day activities. The NCAA has granted him a five-year clock extension, giving him a sixth year of eligibility. Plagued by injuries, Boyle did not play during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He returned to action this fall as the team's starting center but has missed the last three games. I see Sean slotting into Martin Wallace's spot as an OT next year, strengthening an improving offensive line. To think that Sean started the 2009 opener against Villanova and will start the 2013 opener vs. Notre Dame is both mind-boggling and reassuring.

Tomorrow: Throwback Thursday

Monday, November 19, 2012

You think you've got troubles?

Every time I start to feel sorry for myself that I still haven't found a job in the newspaper business after cutbacks cost me mine and the money is about to run out (there still is a newspaper business, right?), I see something that I have to shake my head about and thank God for my blessings.
Lately, it was a story about a poor military guy who lost both legs in Afghanistan or Iraq and is keeping on keeping on.
I plan to do the same, although the next step might be as a greeter at Wal-Mart. I'll keep my hand in writing here.
That brings me to fandom.
A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling sorry because my university, a school I said was going to shock the Big East world a couple of months ago, was getting pasted for the fourth straight time by a Big East team.
It rocked my world, but it could be worse.
I could be a Boston College fan.
I found this while searching a Boston College fan site the other day:

This from a Boston College fan lamenting a bad day in a bad season.

Montel Harris was trending on Yahoo late Saturday afternoon.
It was the second item right below General Patraeus.
That's good news for Temple, bad news for Boston College.
While Temple is 4-6 with two more Big East wins than many of the pundits thought possible, Boston College is a two-win team looking for a new head coach.
The Eagles have a great on-campus stadium, but a terrible product and the guy who they kicked off the team is doing pretty well at Temple.
Yes, it could be worse.
In life and in fandom.

Wednesday: A tribute to the seniors

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 1 (Matches 17-32)

It's finally here! The Vote for the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Matches 1-16 kicked off yesterday and now it's time for the Sunday fixtures to take their place.

Just to repeat the Rules:

1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 1 closes at midnight on Friday 23rd November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

And so... let the voting commence!

Have you voted in Matches 1-16 yet?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Better late than never

Montel Harris (8) needs a lift  to see what is distracting Cody Booth (38) and Wyatt Benson (44).

Two phrases rattled around my head during the fourth quarter of Temple's 63-32 win at Army on Saturday:

  • That's more like it.
  • Better late than never.

This is the Temple football team I envisioned back in August and September.
No, I'm not crazy enough to think that Montel Harris would have gone for 351 yards and seven touchdowns every Saturday but I thought both Harris and Matty Brown could go near or over 100 yards each game and that their running ability would set up some "explosive plays downfield in the passing game" that head coach Steve Addazio promised in the summer.
Temple football records Saturday:
Most rushing yards game individual: Montel Harris (351)

Most touchdowns game individual: Montel Harris (7)

Most career points individual: Brandon McManus (332).
Most touchdowns game by a Big East team (9).
Whatever the Owls lacked on defense I thought could be made up by an offense turning the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard into an adding machine.
And, I thought, that would have been good for at least six wins and, maybe, as many as eight.
Now, the best the Owls can do is five because those explosive plays in the passing game never materialized, simply because the Owls stubbornly tried to pound the rock against bigger, more talented, defensive fronts for most of October and November. They might as well have been pounding their heads against a rock with that misguided approach.
The Owls were just as stubborn on Saturday in a 63-32 win over Army, but they could afford to do that against a team ranked near the bottom of the country in rushing defense.
They also helped themselves by eliminating the turnovers which, as Michael Vick can tell you, is the key to winning any football game.
If the Owls can somehow parlay Syracuse's fear of Harris (and Brown) into some, err, explosive plays downfield in the passing game (perhaps off a fake to Harris on an early down), they can make a statement that they are ready to make a run at the top of the Big East ladder next year by rudely sending Syracuse off to the ACC.
The Owls won't have Montel or Matty next year, but Jamie Gilmore and "Montrell" Dobbs figure to have the requisite three-star talent to pick up where those two left off.
And, pretty much, the rest of the team is back although I'd like to see a serious upgrade in the defensive secondary (hint: Kevin Newsome).
Harris' performance was an eclipse that obscured a lot of other good things on Saturday, but it should not go unnoticed that Brandon McManus set the school record for career points by an individual, breaking Bernard Pierce's standard of 324. McManus needed four going into Saturday's game.
Another great kicker, high school All-American Jim Cooper, Jr., arrives for summer classes in July.
Other than that, as Jose from Norristown might say, it was amazing to see how much misinformation is out there.
Twice during the game, CBS Sports announcers said that Harris was the "leading rusher all-time in the history of the ACC' and, later, the "15th-leading rusher all-time in the history of the ACC."
Both were wrong.
In reality, Harris is still the second-leading rusher in the history of the ACC, falling 828 yards short of Ted Brown's record set at North Carolina State. He is only 50 yards away from another 1,000-yard season.
I was privileged to see Paul Palmer's 349-yard game against East Carolina and Saturday's performance by Harris was even better, both on the stat sheet and stylistically.
Harris will have spent only one year here but he will always be remembered by me as a warrior and a great Temple Owl.
So will Brown and McManus and the rest of the seniors.
They deserve to go out in front of a large, appreciative home crowd on Friday.

Tomorrow: You think you've got troubles?
Tuesday: ???
Wednesday: A tribute to the seniors 
Thursday: Throwback Thursday 
Friday: Game Day Preview

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 1 (Matches 1-16)

It's finally here! The Vote for the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

As mentioned previously, this will be a knockout tournament comprising 96 teams. 32 of these have been seeded and will only appear in Round 2.  Therefore, Round 1 will be 32 matches between the 64 non-seeded teams.  NB, the list of seeded teams can be found in the post linked to above, so before I have to explain where Wang or Crown Paints are, take a look!  ;-)

I've split the First Round into two parts. This is so the page doesn't get ridiculously long and also because setting up the polls is taking longer than planned!

Rules - Just a few things to mention:

1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 1 closes at midnight on Friday 23rd November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

And so... let the voting commence!

Round 1 - Matches 1-16

32 sponsors v 32 sponsors (all 64 being 'non-seeds')

Have you voted in Matches 17-32 yet?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fast Forward Friday: What, Me Worry?

In this, the second installment of "What, Me Worry?" ,  Temple Football Forever is officially worried.
Fortunately, the first installment of worry (The Big East invitation) turned out to be unfounded.
I hope this installment turns out the same way.
Worried  about the outcome of tomorrow's game at Army.
Nothing the Owls have done in the last four weeks have shown me they can beat EVEN Army, and that would be the exclamation mark of a downward trend between this season and last season that is alarming at best.
Look at what Army's has done in recent weeks:

  • Beat Boston College, a team that gave Notre Dame a decent game.
  • Lost by one point to an outstanding Northern Illinois' team.
  • Beat Air Force, a decent team from the West that gave Michigan a good game.

Look at what Temple has done in recent weeks: Lost by 47-17 to a Pitt team that gave Notre Dame a good game.
Even Temple grad Dick Weiss is picking against the Owls.
Lost by 45-17 to  a Louisville team that was given a good game by 0-9 Southern Mississppi and 1-9 Florida International.
Lost by 35-10 to a Rutgers' team that lost to Kent State.
Temple beat Kent State, 34-16, last year.
Temple also beat Army by 42-14 last year.
Temple also beat Ball State by 42-0 last year.
Ball State is one of the best teams in a Mid-American Conference that is outstanding this year.
Listen, I know Temple lost six starters on defense and most of the offensive line to the pros last year but it did not lose SO much talent to have this kind of a downturn in 12 months.
Except for a 16-for-20 performance in the passing game against South Florida, Temple seemed to spend the entire season in an attempt to return college football back to the days of Woody Hayes and "three-yards-in-a-cloud-of-dust" approach. Only it worked for Ohio State, not Temple.
Beating a 2-8 Army team would not be a feather in the Owls' cap, but it would certainly show signs that this program has a pulse and won't take the final game against Syracuse lying down.
Yeah, I'm worried.
I have reason to be.
I hope the football program and team prove my worries as unfounded as the administration did back in March.

Last week: Was a good week. I went top-heavy on high-value underdogs. The only loss was the Army game and it was 7-7 in the fourth quarter. I had ARMY getting 18 at Rutgers; MIAMI (FLA.) getting 1 at Virginia (a push); VANDY getting 3 at Mississippi (Vandy won outright); GEORGIA TECH getting 9 at North Carolina (GT blew out UNC  outright); BUFFALO getting 2 1/2 at home vs. Western Michigan (Buffalo won outright). Only liked one favorite: TULSA giving 2 at Houston and Tulsa won, 41-7.
This week: Going the other way, liking three favorites and a dog.  BUFFALO giving 10 at Umass; TULSA giving 2 to visiting UCF and LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE giving 4 to visiting Western Kentucky. Like one underdog and that's SOUTH FLORIDA getting 7 at Miami.
Last week: 4-1 overall, 4-1 ATS.
Season: 17-8 overall, 15-11 ATS.

Saturday: No story, but complete analysis of the game on Sunday

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - 1st Round Draw

The 1st round draw has taken place and here it is in full:

NB...Voting instructions will follow soon :)

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever 1st Round Draw (64 non seeded sponsors)

Chang (Everton) v Poll Withey (Norwich)
NTL (Celtic & Rangers) v NOBO (Brighton)
Peugeot (Coventry) v T-Mobile (WBA)
Bukta (Hibernian) v Reg Vardy (Sunderland)
Solvite (Watford) v Oki (Portsmouth)
Candy (Liverpool) v Fly Virgin (Crystal Palace)
Ora (Barnsley) v Laver (Sheff Utd)
Philips (Man City) v Maxwell (Derby)
British Caledonian (Brighton) v O2 (Arsenal)
Panasonic (Nottm Forest) v Autoglass (Chelsea)
Coors (Chelsea) v JVC (Aberdeen)
JCT600 (Bradford) v Britannia (Stoke)
Ind Coope (Leicester) v Lewisham (Millwall)
Auto Trader (Reading) v Ericsson (QPR)
Saab (Man City) v (BT) Cellnet (Middlesbrough)
Skol (Nottm Forest) v Ian Skelly (Motherwell)
Courage (Reading) v Samsung (Chelsea)
Motorola (Motherwell) v GMB (Fulham)
Auto Windscreens (Birmingham) v Dagenham Motors (West Ham)
Greene King (Ipswich) v Ricoh (Stoke)
Unipart (Oxford Utd) v Truman (Wimbledon)
Carlsberg (Wimbledon) v Carlsberg (Liverpool)
Subaru (Coventry) v JD Sports (Oldham)
Greenalls (Newcastle) v Good Year (Wolves)
Dr Martens (West Ham) v ICI Perspex (Blackburn)
Hewlett Packard (Tottenham) v Capital One (Nottm Forest)
Elonex (Wimbledon) v Shipstones (Nottm Forest)
Bass (Derby) v Muller (Aston Villa)
Sanderson (Sheff Wed & Southampton) v Finlux (Sheff Wed)
Granada Bingo (Coventry) v Carling (Celtic & Rangers)
Vaux (Sunderland) v Wrangler (Notts County)
Fly Emirates (Arsenal) v Fisons (Ipswich)

Football Monthly (November 1983)

The perm or the straight-cut?  This was the question perplexing grown-up kids and young adults alike in February 1983 when they bought the latest issue of Football Monthly.

The subject, Bryan Robson, was seen on the front cover and on page two, the latter being an advert for New Balance boots. The Manchester United and England star claimed he’d helped the company to “shape, test and refine” their boots under every possible playing condition - “including World Cup competition.” Judging by the picture on page one, he’d had also had a similar involvement with the production of hair-straightening equipment too.

But let’s not be distracted for Football Monthly wasn’t all about the hairstyles of injury-prone internationals. It concerned itself with hard facts and copious statistics, and this was proven in the ‘Transfer Market’ feature on page five. Here we get an interesting snapshot of who was moving where 29 years ago.

Charlie Nicholas was top of the list, moving from Celtic to Arsenal for £750,000, but many other well known names were also changing clubs. Kerry Dixon had moved from Reading to Chelsea for a bargain £175,000 while in the sub-£30,000 bracket Sam Allardyce switched from Millwall to Coventry and Gerry Francis moved from Coventry to Exeter. There’s also an ‘R Savage’ leaving Liverpool for Stoke. Surely he’s not *that* old, is he?

Despite qualifying for the 1982 World Cup, England were struggling to qualify for the 1984 European Championships and this issue of Football Monthly was ruthless in its review of England’s recent games. When Bobby Robson’s men were defeated 1-0 by Denmark, the magazine claimed this was “without doubt England’s worst-ever performance at Wembley”. It went on to say “Apart, possibly, from the 1950 World Cup defeat at the hands of the USA, this was England’s most inept display in 111 years of international conflict.”

A look at the magazine’s Formscope scorecard, however, gave a different view. Peter Shilton was rated “7 out of 10 - Good”, Phil Neal “8 out of 10 - Very good”, Russell Osman “7 out of 10 - Good” and so it went on. Every player scored either 7 or 8 out of 10 with the exception of John Gregory (6) and Paul Mariner (5). A little confusing, to say the least...

Football Monthly was on safer ground when, for no explainable reason, they listed all 92 league club managers from Division One to Division Four. Unordinary though it may seem on the surface, it actually provides an interesting view of the experienced and not so experienced men in charge of their teams back then.

In Division One, Larry Lloyd was manager Notts County - just across the city from his old boss, Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. Clough’s old partner Peter Taylor, meanwhile, was in charge at Second Division Derby County while elsewhere in the division, two former Leeds players - Norman Hunter and Eddie Gray - were learning the ropes at Barnsley and Leeds respectively.

One manager doing rather well was Terry Venables. Having guided QPR into Division One, he’d overseen the introduction of the Omniturf pitch at Loftus Road and, at the time of publication, was putting together a consortium to buy the club outright. All things considered, Venables was the recipient of much praise having seen his team into the FA Cup Final of 1982, a feat made possible thanks to some diligent purchasing. The record-breaking sale of Phil Parkes to West Ham had freed up lots of cash, and the former Crystal Palace manager spent it well on some decent players.

A mixture of flair, experience and youth was undoubtedly the hallmark of Venables’ side. Along wth old stagers Bob Hazell and Terry Fenwick, Mike Flanagan and Clive Allen had arrived from Palace like Venables himself. Utility player John Gregory was playing well enough to break into the England team (as we’ve already heard) and with the likes of Ian Dawes, Gary Waddock and Peter Hucker in goal, QPR clearly had all the talent they needed to eventually finish the 1983/84 season in fifth place. “The First Division is going to have more to worry about than just a plastic pitch” claimed Football Monthly, and with some justification.

Other articles in this issue included ‘Ron’s Reds Poised To Take The Title’ in which Man United’s Ron Atkinson was “quietly confident” of his side winning the title (they’d finish fourth) and ‘Ipswich Are Standing At The Crossroads’ in which the Portman Road club were assessed in the light of so many key players leaving (they’d finish 12th). In many ways, though, Football Weekly leaned heavily on the tried and trusted features of similar publications that were available at the time.

The centre pages featured a colour team picture of Manchester United in the style of Shoot! while at the back was ‘Scoreline’, a three-page statistical reference containing recent results, scorers and attendance figures as per World Soccer. There was even a ‘Classified Page’ containing the ubiquitous ad from Steve Earl Football Programmes to make you think you were thumbing through Match magazine.

All in all, then, Football Monthly appeared to be a publication of some distinction due to its lengthy no-frills articles and factual information. Clearly it was pitched at the youngsters that considered themselves a little too old for Shoot’s glossy colour pictures and easily digestible text, but seemingly there was a gap in the market for just such a title. It appeared in newsagents right the way through the 1980’s and despite its slightly cock-eyed England match reports, it rightly became a trusted source of football reporting throughout.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coming Soon... The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen us banging on about the Greatest Sponsor Ever tournament we've got lined up. Well, now we've finally decided on the classic sponsors that have made the cut. It's going to run as a knockout tournament, pitting classic sponsor against classic sponsor over several rounds. Think of it as the FA Cup, only ironically about sponsors, not ruined by one... ;-) To make the numbers even, we had to whittle down our initial list of over 120 classic sponsors to 96 on top of which we've seeded some so they won't have to scrap out the First Round.

So it'll go like this:

Round 1
32 sponsors v 32 sponsors (all 64 being 'non-seeds')

Round 2
32 sponsors v 32 sponsors (64 participants made up of the 32 seeded sponsors and the 32 non-seeded winners from Round 1)

Round 3
16 sponsors v 16 sponsors (all 32 being the winners from Round 2)

Round 4
8 sponsors v 8 sponsors (all 16 being the winners from Round 3)

Quarter Finals
4 sponsors v 4 sponsors (all 8 being the winners from Round 4)

Semi Finals
2 sponsors v 2 sponsors (all 4 being the winners from Quarter Finals)

1 sponsor v 1 sponsor (both finalists being the winners from the Semi Finals)

The draw for the First Round will be taking place very soon and will be done live on Twitter... more details on that soon, and I can now reveal the sponsors that have made the cut. Those seeded to the Second Round are highlighted.

You'll note that McEwans has two entries and that also we've grouped the Celtic and Rangers variants (as we have done with CR Smith). This is because we felt that, as Celtic and Rangers always share a sponsor, we can't really separate the two, whereas we've left Blackburn's on its own as it has no ties to the Auld Firm's deal at all... and of course may have some specific meaning to Blackburn fans in the mid-90's for some reason ;-)

And of course, remember people, this is just a bit of fun and is all above board...if Granada Bingo happens to win, then that's just fate ;-)


The Contenders (ordered by sponsor name)

(BT) Cellnet / Middlesbrough
Auto Trader / Reading
Auto Windscreens / Birmingham
Autoglass / Chelsea
Avco (Trust) / West Ham
Bass / Derby
Bedford (Trucks) / Luton
Britannia / Stoke
British Caledonian / Brighton
Brother / Man City
Bukta / Hibernian
Candy / Liverpool
Capital One / Nottm Forest
Carling / Celtic & Rangers
Carlsberg / Liverpool
Carlsberg / Wimbledon
Chang / Everton
Commodore / Chelsea
Coors / Chelsea
Courage / Reading
CR Smith / Celtic & Rangers
Crown Paints / Liverpool
Dagenham Motors / West Ham
Dr Martens / West Ham
Draper (Tools) / Southampton
Elonex / Wimbledon
Ericsson / QPR
Fads / Charlton
Finlux / Sheff Wed
Fisons / Ipswich
Fly Emirates / Arsenal
Fly Virgin / Crystal Palace
GMB / Fulham
Good Year / Wolves
Granada Bingo / Coventry
Greenalls / Newcastle
Greene King / Ipswich
Guinness / QPR
Hafnia / Everton
Hewlett Packard / Tottenham
Hitachi / Liverpool
Holsten / Tottenham
Ian Skelly / Motherwell
ICI Perspex / Blackburn
Ind Coope / Leicester
Iveco / Watford
JCT600 / Bradford
JD Sports / Oldham
JJB / Wigan
JVC / Aberdeen
JVC / Arsenal
Laver / Sheff Utd
Lewisham / Millwall
Maxwell / Derby
McEwans Lager / Blackburn
McEwans Lager / Celtic & Rangers
Mita / Aston Villa
Motorola / Motherwell
Muller / Aston Villa
NEC / Everton
Newcastle Brown Ale (star) / Newcastle
No Smoking / WBA
NOBO / Brighton
NTL / Celtic & Rangers
O2 / Arsenal
Oki / Portsmouth
Ora / Barnsley
Panasonic / Nottm Forest
Peugeot / Coventry
Philips / Man City
Pioneer / Ipswich
Poll Withey / Norwich
Rank Xerox / Southampton
Reebok / Bolton
Reg Vardy / Sunderland
Ricoh / Stoke
Saab / Man City
Samsung / Chelsea
Sanderson / Sheff Wed & Southampton
Sharp / Man United
Shipstones / Nottm Forest
Skol / Nottm Forest
Solvite / Watford
Subaru / Coventry
T-Mobile / WBA
TDK / Crystal Palace
The Woolwich / Charlton
Top Man / Leeds
Truman / Wimbledon
Unipart / Oxford Utd
Vaux / Sunderland
VG / Dundee United
Vodafone / Man United
Walkers / Leicester
Wang (Computers) / Oxford Utd
Wrangler / Notts County