As we inch closer to the college football season, sports bettors and writers are starting to make their predictions for the season. For a program like Temple, national analysts and football fans are unlikely to go all too in-depth to the roster and season predictions. Still, there are some interesting articles out there in general about this coming college football season. Take for example a recent article from 247Sports. They released their 10 bold predictions and they believe the B1G misses out on the playoffs this year( 247sports.com) while bestowing us with the always dubious prediction of Michigan actually beating Ohio State.
The guys at Underdog Dynasty believe North Texas is an underrated team that could make a NY6 bowl but UCF is the clear cut favorite (underdogdynasty.com)
CollegeFootballNews released their bowl projections and as Temple sitting at 6 wins and no bowl game this year.
Meanwhile at CBS, the Owls over/under win total according to FanDuel sits a 6.5 wins, which you can find in this line -> CBS Over/Under. That made me wonder, what could possibly be causing the national media and bettors to consider Temple a 6 win team?
Athlon sports seems to think heavy losses on defense and new coaches will contribute to the Owls struggles, as they rank Temple 78th overall to start the season ( Athlon rankings), but ranked only a few spots behind Collins and Georgia Tech (75th) and well behind the top ranked Group of 5 School, UCF (22nd).
As stated by Bill Connelly in his preview (found here) , Carey was a fairly unflattering hire in the age of introducing up and coming coordinators. But his head coaching career at NIU includes two MAC championships, including an unexpected win over favored Buffalo (who happened to beat Temple last year). The greatest concern from Connelly, at least offensively, isn’t the returning roster, but rather an unimpressive offensive coordinator in Mike Uremovich. One moderately okay season followed by two poor seasons raises some eyebrows. He must do better at Temple which an overall more talented roster.
Uremovich inherits Anthony Russo and a seasoned offensive line. The RB situation remains to be seen, but Gardner has shown flashes of talent while both Kyle Dobbins and Tyliek Raynor come in as highly ranked 3 star prospects. They’ve also got returning athlete Jeremy Jennings and some JUCO/mid-year enrollees. The roster has plenty of options at WR as well with Isaiah Wright, Randle Jones, and Freddie Johnson returning. We have yet to see TE Kenny Yeboah break out, but the talented athlete can have a big season if he is given the opportunity. Not to mention Pitt transfer Tyler Sear who made waves as a freshman before falling out with the staff. I think the offense overall is not given enough credit, but again, a new staff has to figure out how to put the players in the best position for their talents. We saw the struggles early on with Dave Patenaude attempting to fit his style of offense on a roster that simply wasn’t cut out for it, before backing off and infusing traditional Temple style offensive schemes as the season progressed. He did it both seasons without fail. Hopefully Uremovich doesn’t take as long to adjust to his roster.
Coach Knowles on the other hand turned around a pitiful NIU defense made them quit respectable, particularly their rush defense, which ranked 11th in the nation last year in yards per game allowed. They were also 16th in the country in opponent touchdown percentage in the redzone. Overall a lot to like in his first 2 seasons as a defensive coordinator. It still isn’t clear what kind of role Fran Brown will play on defense as co-defensive coordinator. Does he get to make play calls as well? What about developing schemes? We don’t really know. Walter Stewart, who is coaching the defensive line, is considered by many to be a rising star in the coaching ranks, coached up the NIU team to 50 sacks last season. No one but Clemson did more, who tallied 54 on the season (while playing 1 more game).
The losses of Michael Dogbe, nickel corner Rodney Williams, 2nd round pick Rock Ya-Sin, and Delvon Randall are significant. But the LB unit is one of the best in the AAC, if not one of the best units in the entire country. Their returning production on defense as whole is middle of the pack, as compiled by Bill Connelly in his returning starters update in January. Shaun Bradley is considered to be an NFL talent and is ranked as the #14 ILB in the nation according to draftscout.com. Defensive ends should also be fine with Mesdey, Rochey, Levine, and intriguing underclassmen. Dioubate and Archibong anchor a strong 1st string interior but the second string will be interesting to develop, so guys like Khris Banks will have to step up at a young age.
We know the defensive back situation should be pretty stout despite the losses. Linwood Crump, Kimere Brown, Braswell, Hand, Ty Mason, Chauncey Moore, Benny Walls, and Keyvon Bruton provide plenty of depth at DB and SAF. We will have to see how the 2nd string develops, particularly at safety with some depth issues.
Overall, I feel pretty confident on both sides of the ball. Every team not name Ohio State, or Clemson, or Alabama, has to deal with attrition issues without reloading on 5 star talent. Naturally it raises significant questions every year for most programs. Some years it makes a significant impact, other years, less. The development of the players from year to year is key and that falls on the coaching staff. But with a new coaching staff, there is no year to year consistency in the training. So perhaps this is the year things fall off? With so much transition between Rhule and Collins and now Carey, it is very much a possibility. Still, the roster has plenty of talent and given the schedule, I cannot imagine this team only achieving 6 wins.
August 31st cannot come soon enough.