Opponent Watch 2018: Temple

Familiarity makes a difference
The biggest difference during Geoff Collins’ second spring as Temple’s coach as opposed to the first was an obvious one. Last spring the players had to get used to a new coaching staff, which meant a new playbook and a new set of eyes to evaluate the talent. The players and the new coaching staff were adjusting on the fly. Fast forward to this year and the players seemed so much more comfortable, and so did the coaches.

Players were able to react much quicker, trusting their instincts, rather than thinking about what they were doing. Things were so comfortable that Collins had the players wear their Twitter handles instead of their names on the back of their jerseys for the spring game. We couldn’t imagine that happening at this time last year.

Temple Owls
Head coach: Geoff Collins (7-6, second year)

2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-6 (78th)

Projected 2018 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-5 (81st)

Five key points:

After a dicey start, Temple finished strong in Collins’ first season, winning four of five to go from 3-5 to 7-6.

Both offense and defense turned things around, going from getting outgained by 1.9 yards per play over five games to outgaining opponents by 1.3 over the last eight. Eventually wins followed.

QB Frank Nutile returns and has a veteran receiving corps at his disposal. If the Owls can actually keep some RBs or linemen healthy this year, this could be a top-50 offense.

The pass defense has been thinned with losses both in the secondary and at defensive end. But Temple still has as much exciting young defensive talent as anyone in the AAC.

S&P+ doesn’t take injuries or late-season surges into account, so I’m guessing the 7-5 and No. 81 projection could end up being more like 8-4/9-3 and a top-60 performance. The Owls are dangerous.


This preseason ranking has gone off the rails. Still, Temple should be pretty good and could be a sneaky dark horse in the East.


Outlook: The Owls return several key pieces on both sides of the football but must learn to win away from Philadelphia, especially with road contests against Power 5 opponents in Maryland and Boston College as well as AAC powers Navy, UCF and Houston.

Actually they are my darkhorse as well. I am not impressed by the Heupfel hire at UCF, I have not been impressed with Strong as a head coach. Collins had a lot of missing pieces when he took over Temple last year. They were a much better team at the end of the year than the one we played. Do I think we will be better than them? Yes.

I believe the battle for the East will come down to UCF and Temple. The strength of the league will be in the West this year with Memphis, Houston, and Navy.



I don’t want to say they like us but Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


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“I think the big thing is, since I got here, we’ve talked about building elite depth on our roster. And I think we’ve done that. We signed 29 guys. We got a couple of grad transfers from other places. And I think some people just relish the chance to compete at that level. We don’t have depth charts. Everybody in our program is working to be above the line, to get playing time, to fight for playing time. And some people don’t always want to do that. But the guys that are in our program day-in and day-out relish that chance to be a part of our culture, the tremendous buy-in that it takes, the demands that we place on the guys.”

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“Frankie Juice” is going to get squeezed.

Starting DE for Temple. Timeframe would have him back before Houston plays Temple later this season.

To do so, the Owls will need to be a lot more efficient on both sides of the ball to reverse an alarming trend that has seen them surrender 832 yards the past two weeks.