Prior to the 24/7 news coverage that social media provides, media day was a way for conferences to kick start the upcoming season. It was a way to update the fans on some intriguing story lines, provide updates, and listen to players/coaches talk about the upcoming season. Over the years its usefulness has declined and is more or less a relic of the past. Occasionally you’ll still get bits and pieces of new information, but by and large the media coverage on ESPN/247Sports/CBS/twitter is year round and any media day updates are nonessential. In my opinion the AAC has the best format with the food and socializing. Primarily a laid back atmosphere that feels like a luncheon than an actual media day(s). Plus, when you have Verne Lundquist helping to host the event, you get bonus points.
However, given the turnover at Temple, there was an opportunity to learn more about Carey and the staff. For Temple there is a lot to unpack over the last week or so from media day. Last Tuesday various members from Temple joined others in Newport Rhode Island from some crab cakes and this year’s AAC season kick off. Rod Carey was joined by WR Isaiah Wright, LB Shaun Bradley, LG Jovahn Fair and LB Chapelle Russell at the event. Coach Carey updated the reporters on why he demoted Foley which caused his departure, some of the injuries in the spring including Russo, the running back situation, and how he plans to use some key weapons in the offense.
Mike Aresco did the usual P6 narrative pump up, lauded the new ESPN contract, and continued on about how much success the conference has had over its short history. Nothing new here. Here is the Houston Chronicle’s 5 takeaways which sums things up well. Aresco also stated he isn’t looking to expand out of necessity, only if it makes sense and if it helps improve the brand. The AAC won’t expand to 12 unless the school adds value. ESPN wants to maximize revenue and can only do that with the appropriate addition. That means teams like Marshall or Southern Miss are out of the equation. Moving on…
The media poll was also released and with little surprise, UCF is still #1. Houston and Memphis also received some 1st place votes. UCF situation is more interesting this year with the QB situation. I wrote about that previously and you can click on the button below for more.
Temple is slated to land #4 in the east, which means they are actually expected to be the 7th or 8th best team in the conference. The SB Nation preview with S&P+ rankings suggest USF and Temple will be in a dead heat for 3rd and 4th in the east, but both only 1 conference win behind Cinci. Basically the 2nd – 4th spots in the east are tight. Temple, according to the S&P+ rankings will have about 7-8 wins, which would actually place them around 4th overall in the conference with win totals. These are just a numbers game and don’t necessarily take into consideration other factors. As stated in another article, Temple should be Temple.
Plenty of talent returning on both sides of the ball, if Russo can elevate his game by limiting turnovers and also remaining healthy, the offense should click and the position previews are up and running on previous posts. Even the athletic Centeio can perform well with this offensive line and skill players. Defensively the Owls will have to figure things out in the secondary, but plenty of options are abound. Secondary consistency is key to overall defensive performance, especially in a conference such as the AAC and some of these offenses. You have to be able to defend the pass. That will be Temple’s biggest key for the season on defense.
One thing is for sure, August 31st can’t come soon enough.