Pre-Season Countdown: #10

So let’s recap. 

We started with the easiest game/opponent on the schedule at #12 with Indiana State University.  Number 11 was Eastern Michigan University. 

The nominees for #10 include Indiana, Temple, Ohio State and Illinois.  Well, even without Pryor and Tressel, I don’t think the Buckeyes have a chance at coming in at #10.  So without further ado . . .

TEMPLE.

I almost declared a tie between the Hoosiers and the Owls.  Let’s face it, we’re talking six of one and half a dozen of the other here.  More interesting is that both schools are sporting new coaches this season.  Former offensive coordinators are all the rage on the fashion runways in the NCAA this fall.  The Owls have Steve Addazio, erstwhile offensive coordinator from Florida and the Hoosiers hired Kevin Wilson from Oklahoma where he was, coincidentally enough, their offensive coordinator.

In the end, I had to give the nod to Temple, though.  Big Ten lower tier trumps mid-level MAC team.  Both are road games, although the Temple game will essentially be an Eastern Home Game for Penn State.

The Owls went 8-4 last season and gave Penn State a bit of a scare with a 22-13 contest at Beaver Stadium.  Truth be told, many Temple faithful believed that last year was THE YEAR they would finally beat Penn State.  Maybe the Hoosiers thought that way as well.  Neither team took the Cinderella title and lived happily ever after.

The big question is what kind of team will this be in the post-Golden Age?

Offensively, Temple should be okay.  They have an offensive coordinator from an offensively strong program like Florida, which incidentally pasted quite a few points against us in the bowl game.

But according to Greg Doyle of CBSsports, the Addazio hire is not a good thing.

In one fell swoop, Temple football is back to being Temple football. Which is to say, Temple football returned to irrelevance today by hiring a man who did the impossible: failing to score points with Urban Meyer’s offense and Florida’s recruits.

Hold the presses, Nellie.  That was with the talent that FLORIDA and URBAN MEYER accumulated.  Can Addazio be able to replicate his success with what Al Golden was able to assemble?  Doyle doubts it and I’m inclined to agree.

My gut feeling?  Addazio won’t be successful right away.  Give him a few years to recruit “his people” for “his system” and maybe he’ll enjoy some success.  I’ve also never been impressed that former OC’s do well defensively, and as we shall see in the next paragraph, that could be a problem.

But while Temple may have some good running backs (Brown and Pierce) and experienced quarterbacks (Stewart and Gerardi), they will have to find some way to plug the defensive losses to the NFL.  Muhammad Wilkerson was a first-rounder to the Jets and Jaiquawn Jarrett, a free safety, went in the second round to the Eagles.

In case you are wondering, Addazio hired former Florida defensive co-coordinator Chuck Heater to be his defensive coordinator.  But unlike the offense that may have some talent to work with, Heater will not have the level of athletes he was accustomed to with the Gators.  Can you say rebuilding year(s)?

Overall, the Owls return 15 players–8 on offense, 6 on defense and the kicker.  But their kicker was only 13-20 on field goals last year and 5-9 from 40+ yards.  They will have a new punter.

As for scheduling, this game follows the Alabama game.  IF–and that’s a big IF–the Lions can find a way to win that game, this could certainly become a trap/let-down game.  The talent at Temple won’t fall dramatically because Golden left.  But, the next game is Eastern Michigan, so the Lions won’t be looking ahead at anything.  If Penn State loses badly to Bama, this could be bad for Temple, who may get beat up out of frustration.  A close emotional loss to the Tide, though, might bode well for the Owls, who could capitalize on the emotional down.

So many ifs, so few ands or buts.

My prediction:  Temple will not be as good this year under a new head coach and a new system.  They don’t have the talent level that Florida has.  Addazio has yet to prove he can be a head coach.  I think Penn State wins this game, but if we are sloppy and come out sluggish, the final score could be close like last year.  Personally, I think it won’t be that close, though.

As an interesting side note, did anyone notice who the offensive coordinator is for the Owls?

Scot Loeffler.  Yes, that Scot Loeffler.  The same one that convinced Chad Henne to go to THEM.  Since leaving THEM, he has been on the staff at Florida, and came with Addazio to Temple.

THEM to Florida to . . . Temple?  What direction is his career going?

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Filed under analysis, football, Penn State, Pre-season, prediction, Temple

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