Chris Franklin takes a look at the upcoming Temple Owls football season from multiple unique perspectives, including his own predictions for the season
It can be fun to look at things from different views. With almost three weeks to go before the season, there are different scenarios listed below that people may consider about this current incarnation of the Temple Owls. There may be some people who wholeheartedly believe in the Owls this season. There may also be some people who think that the team will not live up to expectations. Some people may fall somewhere in between both sides of the spectrum. Listed below are a few scenarios that could be floating around those who follow the team.
The Optimist’s point of view
Temple has enough talent to compete with anyone on their schedule. The team will be hungry, especially after ending last season without a bowl game. There will be many players returning to key positions this year. The defense looks like it can improve, even after last year’s stellar performance. With Temple putting a heavier emphasis on the running game, it could lead to an edge in time of possession and keep the defense rested. The running game can also force defenses to add more people to the box, setting up the play-action pass game and possibly single coverage on the outside. The team will use its experiences from being in close games and use that to their advantage in tight games.
The skeptic’s point of view
There is a lot of hype surrounding the team this year, and there will be a target on their back. The schedule does not offer any favors for Temple. The season begins with a rival that they have not defeated since 1941. The following week, the team has to play Cincinnati, the team that is favored to win the American Athletic Conference. Quarterback P.J. Walker and the running game had a down year in 2014. The defense had a good year last year but how can it create as many turnovers as last season. Also, placekicking is a concern, with Austin Jones making 13 out of 22 field goals in 2014.
The Analytics point of view
Football Outsiders.com, a website that heavily uses analytics to evaluate football performances, came up with a formula called the Pythagorean Win Formula. The formula that they created correctly picked the eventual Super Bowl champion 11 out of 16 times. It is also is a good indicator of whether a team has either overachieved or underachieved. The formula is listed below:
The formula has to be adjusted, changing the number of games played from 16 to 12. When using this formula, Temple should have won seven games last year. However, because of the scoring output, the formula states the team underachieved by at least a game. If the offense can improve by at least one more touchdown per game and allow the same amount of points this season, the Owls would be projected to win nine wins.
There is also another analytics formula called the Marcel Model which can be found on Footballstudyhall.com. The model takes into account Strength of Schedule, recruiting and players who have left a program. Using this model, the Owls have an 80.39 percent chance to win at least six wins and a 57.9 percent chance of at least seven wins.
Author’s Point of View
After looking at the key positions and how everything sets up, it is hard not to see how everything is setting up for this season. The stretch of games in October (ECU, UCF & Notre Dame) will not be easy. The games against Notre Dame and Penn State will be tough, especially with the Fighting Irish coming off a bye week and the Owls playing them a week after a division game. However, the Owls will come away with a 1-1 split in the two games against the Autonomous Five opponents. The games against Cincinnati and Memphis will be close, considering last season the outcome was decided by one possession last year. Memphis also lost a considerable amount of talent on defense. Temple will tie Cincinnati with nine wins for the best record in the AAC East with the Week 2 winner representing the conference in the AAC Championship Game Dec 5. There will be numerous trips being planned for Florida. However, that is an article that will be written at a later date.