92 Ranked teams the Owls have faced since 1970, when they opted to step up their strength of schedule with the hiring of Hall of Fame coach Wayne Hardin. This Saturday’s nonconference matchup with No. 9 Notre Dame will push that number to 93.
2 Victories posted by the Owls against those ranked opponents. The more shocking of the two was a 28-24 win at No. 14 Virginia Tech, which snapped a six-game losing streak to start the Temple season and accounted for half of its wins in 11 games.
8 Times Temple lost by a field goal or less to ranked opponents since 1970, including a pair of two-point defeats by the Paul Palmer-led Owls of 1985 and 2013’s 39-36 loss to No. 15 Central Florida in Matt Rhule’s first season as head coach.
4 Ranked teams that Temple has faced since Rhule took over as head coach in 2013. The Owls are 1-3 in those matchups, with last season’s 20-10 victory against No. 21 East Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field being the most recent.
200 Win total reached at the college level by Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly when his Fighting Irish hosted Temple back in 2013 and prevailed 28-6.
25 First downs the Owls recorded in that game at South Bend, Ind., a total that topped ND’s by four.
3 Kicks (2 FGs and 1 PAT) the Owls missed in the first half, which ended with them down 21-6.
16 Losses the Owls suffered in Rhule’s first 23 games at the helm.
0 Losses the Owls suffered in Rhule’s last 8 games at the helm.
Temple's student section lives it up during the Owls' 27-10 season-opening win vs. Penn State. Pssst, everyone with Cherry & White connections, it's OK to do so now.
Yet again, something escapes me.
In this superficial, look-at-me society we currently tweet, post and boast in, it hardly seems fathomable, never mind reasonable, that some take a step back, crawl into a cave and genuinely fear sharing what they hope, or even believe.
So it is, though, with most who have connections with, or attachments to, Temple University and its football program.
Even now, with the Owls off to a start unprecedented in their gridiron history, ranked for the first time in 36 years and unbeaten after seven games for the first time ever, there is very little pumping of chests going on, hardly any proclamations of continued success, and absolutely no guarantees of victory against the next opponent.
Showing your colors? Bragging about your team? That’s the “whisper under your breath” exception with this timid lot.
Just don’t understand it, not in this day and age.
OK, sure, it’s been so long since Temple has experienced some level of legit, “catch the country’s attention” winning that no one can either relate or remember. Yeah, plenty subscribe to the jinx factor and fear that speaking out in favor of the Owls would surely spark the team’s immediate demise. Then, of course, you got your doubters and your pooh-poohers heading the inferiority-complex crowd who cannot accept that anything even remotely associated with themselves can be “decent,” never mind “great,” or – gasp – “special.”
But not a single peep about the Owls beating Notre Dame this Saturday in prime time? Really?
It’s one thing for Temple head coach Matt Rhule and his players to show restraint, promoting only respect for the highly touted opposition awaiting them. It’s quite another when those supporting him and the Owls crawl under a proverbial rock when discussions turn to the upcoming affair, deathly afraid of showing any real support because, well, frankly, they really don’t believe themselves.
Not for nothing, but work on the beer muscles or grow some cojones. Jeez. Something. Anything. At this point, it is EMBARRASSING.
As a Temple alum and longtime BELIEVER in what the football program could become, and currently – newsflash, everyone: HAS BECOME – my skin crawls every time another with Cherry & White coursing through their veins retracts like a turtle into its shell, emotionally, verbally, maybe even physically, whenever the words “Fighting Irish” come up right now or suggestions about an unbeaten season arise.
What is the point of that? Seriously, what is it?
OK, say your greatest fears – from this point on – are eventually realized. The 21st-ranked Owls lose to the No. 9 Irish. Even get blown out … to the point they don’t recover, and stumble to the 2015 regular-season finish line with a mediocre record and a crappy bowl berth.
Right now, your team is one of the top 25 teams in the country … and recognized as such. Not just in one poll, but two. Your team is one of 12 unbeatens remaining in the country. Your team already has beaten its unbeatable opponent, Penn State, this season. Your team has two of the top individual performers in the country in running back Jahad Thomas and linebacker Tyler Matakevich. Your team has one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. Your team has discovered how to win … in just about every conceivable AND inconceivable fashion possible.
This you know.
So, why would you not celebrate it, bask in it, rejoice in it, shout from the mountaintop that, “hey, you know how all you punks said we sucked; well, now we’re gonna kick your ass … and their ass … and everyone else’s ass?” Down in the dumps for decades, if not generations, the Temple faithful finally – right here, right now – has reason, and the firepower, to poke the bear. Even one encased in gold and incomparable history.
So, once and for all, do it ... and drop the namby-pamby, scaredy-cat “loser” mentality.