As the Temple season quickly approaches and camp updates proliferate at a furious pace, its time to preview the season for Temple. In a previous post we looked at the AAC Power Rankings, which can be found by clicking the button below:
In this post I want to look at each game and predict whether Temple should win or lose the game. I am a huge fan of statistics, as you may know, and Bill Connelly already previewed the Temple season with S&P+ projections. Based on that, Temple should achieve 7 or 8 wins. Most pundits are expecting 6-6 or 7-5 based on returning production, coaching changes, and schedule.
With that being said, let’s see take a look at each game on the schedule and how Temple should do with each match-up.
8/31 bucknell at Temple
I haven’t had a chance to look at what Vegas thinks of this match-up, but I’m thinking Temple is at least a 4 touchdown favorite. This will be a good one for some of the younger guys to get game experience. Bucknell endured a rough 1-10 season last year and saw their 123rd ranked offense in the FCS sputter with injuries and inexperience at the QB position. They have a new coaching staff that joined the Bison in mid-February. This has the makings of a big win for Temple.
9/7 bye week
Temple has an early bye-week to get some more practices in and get the team ready for the University of Maryland. A chance to get some of the banged up guys healthier and rolling because the next bye week doesn’t happen until the end of October.
9/14 Maryland at temple
They have no answer at QB just yet for the 2019 season, but they do have an All-B1G RB in McFarland. Locksley has recruited well, but the B1G is unforgiving. A lot of questions on the offensive line with many replacements being shuffled in. Similarly, the defensive line will need to be retooled. The S&P+ predictions give Temple a 66% chance of winning, but only at -3 overall. Maryland obviously has more talent, but Temple might be the better team here. Maryland, however, will have Syracuse the week before, so they may be more ready. The fans should travel well and the atmosphere at the Linc will be electric. I’m looking forward to this early season match-up, the Terrapins are looking for revenge.
Outcome: Win, but a struggle
9/21 Temple at buffalo
The Bulls were well on there way to an incredible season until the MAC championship when NIU pulled off a second half comeback for the ages. This year’s Bulls team returns only 40% of its offensive production. The offensive line returns a good bit of production, but they lose two of their top receivers. Defensively, they have to replace Khalil Hodge and Brandon Williams, among others. With Lance Leipold at the helm, Buffalo should still be fine. They will likely regress though and Temple appears to be a touchdown favorite with S&P+. This is a revenge game for some of the Owls.
9/28 Georgia tech at temple
Now here is a pretty interesting match-up to end Temple’s non-conference slate. Georgia Tech will feature Geoff Collins and a noteworthy amount of ex-Temple staff that went with him. I briefly previewed GT in my 4 Most Important Games of 2019 post. They will be installing a new offensive philosophy and have to figure out their QB and RB situation. Plenty of questions along the OL as well. Defensively loses some big pieces along their defensive line as two players moved on to the NFL while another 2 graduated. There is a lot of production to replace and the S&P+ projections are not too kind to the Yellowjackets as they are currently projected to have only 4 wins. Temple is an 8 point favorite with a 78% chance of winning. These are of course preseason projections, but right now the Owls have a better team. Georgia Tech, like Maryland, has generally recruited better over the years and has better athletes. Whether they come together or not in late September is another story. Two new staffs have to get their squads ready for a matchup that should be close. GT with the better athletes. Temple returning more overall.
Outcome: Win – but its closer than S&P+ projects. Home crowd helps.
10/3 temple at ecu
Temple’s conference schedule begins with a Thursday night game at ECU. The Pirates nabbed JMU’s national championship coach Mike Houston. They have to rebuild their program a bit and I’m not sure they have the horses to keep up with a Temple squad that should have better athletes right now. Still, I’m a believer in Ahlers and Houston, so ECU could be one of those teams that causes trouble as the season progresses. They tend to play Temple without fear and have given the Owls a scare several times. Temple is currently a 14 point favorite according to projections with a 79% chance of winning. This is a sneaky game for Temple, who might be looking ahead to the next one.
10/12 memphis at temple
The top team in my AAC power rankings, Temple should thank their lucky stars that they get Memphis at home. This team returns a lot of production on both sides of the ball, one of the most returning production teams in the country. They are poised for a big season and get an early season matchup with Ole Miss to show the country their potential this season. A NY6 bowl is on the horizon, if they don’t slip up. They are a touchdown favorite against the Owls, but the Owls will have a few extra days to rest up. Still, I think the Tigers win here with the talent they have.
10/19 temple at smu
A sneaky good SMU squad returns a lot of their defensive talent. They have a good enough squad to land a bowl game. They are my 8th ranked AAC squad entering this season and I think this game shakes out about even overall. They brought in some talent on offense this offseason, so its possible the mercurial offense picks up some steam this season, which would make SMU a dark horse in the AAC West. They have to reshuffle their offensive line and QB remains a mystery, for now. Temple only a 2 point favorite with a 57% chance of winning according to S&P+. This game is not as much of a given as most people think. Depending on how banged up both squads are heading into this game will help determine the outcome. SMU has TCU and USF in back-to-back weeks prior to Tulsa and then Temple.
Outcome: Win, but also close
10/26 ucf at Temple
The number 2 team in the AAC Preseason Rankings has a ton of talent returning as well, but the major question is at QB. Wimbush is likely the starter, but Mack may return later on in the season. Dillon Gabriel broke all kinds of records as a high school QB and the future appears bright for the young signal caller. The left side of the offensive line need to be replaced, but the right side and center are all-AAC talents. Defensively, the line has to replace quite a bit of production from Trysten Hill, a 2nd round NFL talent, not to mention AJ Wooten and Titus Davis. I like Josh Heupel and the schedule is light, but it is conceivable that they lose two games this season. It won’t come against Temple though. UCF is favored by a touchdown in this one, and I think that will separate the two squads. Just a few too many questions for UCF to make this a big win. Temple played them tough last year too.
Outcome: Closer loss than most expect
11/2 bye week
Temple has a chance to lick its wounds after a difficult battle.
11/7 temple at usf
Things don’t get any easier after a bye-week. Another Thursday night matchup for Temple. As difficult as Temple is to read this preseason, USF may be more difficult. USF has a bye week as well after playing BYU, Navy, and ECU. Ranked number 5 on my AAC Power Ranking, one spot ahead of Temple. If the good USF shows up, this one is likely a 10 point win for USF. An opportunistic defense returns much of their depth chart, save from a few starters. Does Charlie Strong still have control of that locker room? He dismissed a dozen players prior to their bowl game. He’s got his work cutout for him in South Florida. Temple has a 47% chance of winning and -1 margin of loss. USF has plenty of talent, probably a bit better than Temple overall. More speed for sure. This one is a tough one.
Outcome: Loss, maybe
11/16 tulane at temple
Tulane quietly finished 2nd in the AAC West last season. Currently ranked 7th on my preseason rankings, Willi Fritz has slowly put together a respectable program. They have concerns at WR, QB, and at the guard positions. They do return a solid amount of their front 7 on defense, but a few concerns at safety and DB exist. They are more of a defensive team than most people think, and have two really good RBs. Overall, there is a lot to like about Tulane as they seek consecutive bowl births since 1979-1980. Temple is currently an 11 point favorite with S&P+ rankings, but Tulane has enough on defense to keep things close.
11/23 temple at cincinnati
As close to a football rival as Temple has, the Bearcats are on the hunt this year for an AAC crown and NY6 bowl berth. Temple has bested them in the last 4 meetings. Temple has their number, but at some point the streak will break. Luke Fickell is destined for a P5 job in the near future, but it won’t save Temple this season. Temple only receives 33% chance to win this game and are 7 point underdogs according to S&P+. Stats aside, the Bearcats return a formidable offense regarding skill players, but will have to remodel the offensive line. Their defense is littered with All-AAC talents and their defense S&P+ ranks is projected to be 36. They will have USF before Temple. The advanced stats are a bit more favorable to Temple than some of the pundits. Cinci is one of the favorites to supplant UCF in the east.
11/30 uconn at temple
UConn administration says they want to stay in the FBS and compete as an independent. As difficult a task as it is for Edsall to rebuild the UConn team he left, it will be that much more difficult without a conference and with the FCS looming overhead. Independence only works for Notre Dame because of their following and alumnae. Perhaps Army has recovered as well as an independent. Two very different programs to UConn. It is not a long term solution for the Huskies. They will be chasing a perfect season this year after a historically bad defense last season. And by perfect I mean winless.
It appears in this preview that Temple will go 8-4, 4-4 in conference play. There will be several close games on the schedule, so the coaches will have to make sure the players are prepared and understand the game plan. At the end of the day, Temple should be in the thick of things in the AAC East, but not quite up to speed with UCF and Cinci. I can definitely understand why some believe Temple will go 6-6 or even 9-3. We’ll just have to wait and see how well the players and coaches come together this season.