Temple Games: 1-0
Alright, time to hit the road for the MAC championship. First up is a game with Central Michigan who is the defending champion. Quite simply, we are the better team in this one. Sure the Owls showed some cracks in their game against Villanova but the Vilecats may be better then the Chippewas.
On the offensive side of the ball, two things bode very well for Temple this year. They have a quarterback finally who I have the confidence to move the team this season. Chester Stewart is 100x better then Vaughn Charlton ever could hope to be. Stewart throws a pretty deep ball and has shown the ability to escape the rush when needed. Pierce and Matt Brown looked like Pierce and Matt Brown against Villanova running behind a hugely improved offensive line. The team has also found a bunch of wide out options including Campbell, Shorter and Evan Rodriguez. Most will look at the score of the Nova game and say Temple didnt play well and should be 0-1. I look at it and say, they played good and can be even better.
Central Michigan defensively returns five starters from a group that was essentially a sieve. The Chips secondary can be thrown upon while the Owls also have a size advantage up front and should be able to open holes. We cant' really take much from the Hampton game.
Temple's defense picked up its intensity towards the end of the contest. Adrian Robinson and Muhammed Wilkerson didnt wake up until later. They won't have much of an issue getting to the quarterback as Hampton sacked CMU three times. Temple's linebackers should be able to contain Paris Cotton. The main issue with Temple this whole season will be the secondary where they've moved wideouts to help out. Jaiquwan Jarrett is a stud. They will have to mark Kito Poblah and follow him around the field because that's their number one threat. Ryan Ratcliff isn't as much of a threat to run as Mr. LeFevour.
Intangibles for this game.....Central is 3-17-1 in their road openers since 1989. Temple had their 2nd largest crowd last week in the history of the program. Optimism is high around Owls fans and I think there will be a nice crowd again.
PICK: I just can't see Temple losing this game. Now those of you who follow me for the Temple selections know that I have picked against them in their life and am more then willing to. Spread opened at 8 and is now down to 7 in some places. Based on talent/rosters alone, Temple is the better of the two teams. I'm very hesitant to lay the 7 points. Any sort of teaser you may do this weekend has to involve the Owls because they will win. In the end though, I think Temple pulls this out. The total is also coming down....I like the under. The Owls offense isn't explosive enough to score that much while the defense is good enough to hold the Chips down.
SCORE: Temple 24-14
Oh man, I love this time of year...I'm so ready for football season to begin. I spent my weekend at the beach handicapping and getting ready. For those of you new to my threads, I'm the biggest Temple fan there is. Last year I nailed all but two of their games and will provide writeups for almost all of my picks. I really wish Vegas would put out an over/under for them this season because I'd pound the over. This year is a MAC title or bust especially with Vaughn Charlton gone from the QB position.
Auburn Over 8.5 (-120) -- Love the Tigers. Think Newton is going to be big for that offense. Plus, they are kinda under the radar right now in the SEC.
Florida State Over 8 (+110) -- I think the Seminoles are going to be better. They have the quarterback and defense to make a run on that half of the ACC. They have all the tough games at home.
Oklahoma State Over 6 (-110) -- They need to get these early because their conference schedule is brutal with all the tough games on the road at Texas and Texas Tech.
Oregon Under 9 (+120) -- Couple of toughies on the road in conference gives me hope this should hit. If Tennessee or Arizona State hold home serve then i'll like this even more.
Kellen Moore 10/1 -- If they beat VT, they gonna have to do it in the air. If Boise goes undefeated, it could be their year to get notice. They'll need to beat up everyone to move up the rankings. Of course, if they lose to the Hokies, this will be up in smoke quick but I'll take the price.
Week 1 picks on the radar:
Under 47 South Carolina/Southern Miss
Under 48.5 Colorado/Colorado State
Kansas State +3
Oregon State +14
None of the Week 1 picks are locked in yet.
Happy times are here again!
I absolutely love Bracket Busters....Between the fact that Vegas doesnt spend as much time on the smaller conferences and they certainly don't know when small vs. small play each other...Watch out tomorrow because it could be my largest card of winners this season.
Yale +12 -- Fits into my theory of taking the underdog in a low over/under total. 113 is borderline ridiculous so i'll take the 12.
William and Mary +4 -- The Tribe have proven themselves on the road time and time again. If they win this game, they punch their ticket to the tourney potentially.
Over 122 Tribe/Iona -- This will take some antacids to hit but I feel like people are just going off the fact that the tribe are slower. If WM is hitting their 3's, this over won't be enough. It'll be close and it'll be painful with scoring droughts but it'll go over.
Before we get into all of the other bowls, let's talk about Temple - UCLA. Personally, I'm stoked about this matchup for multiple reasons...First off, the Bruins are a nice name/test for the Owls to use to go into the 2010 season which could be even bigger for Temple if things bounce right for them. The talking heads on ESPN said that UCLA has the better talent and should easily walk all over the Owls. I just can't see that happening unless Golden is gone. No this Cincinnati opening scares the crap out of me but I can't see him leaving...I just can't.
For those not familiar with the Owls, Temple gets it done on the ground with freshman stud Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown along with Lamar McPherson and a little James Nixon around the edge. Pierce is practicing and should be ready for this. Chester Stewart has been an improvement over Vaughn Charlton as he's slightly more accurate and gives them a threat to run. This offense uses the reverse and the play action pass so well in getting it out to Nixon, Maneri and Campbell.
Defensively, I must say that this defense is perplexing. Their front four/five are outstanding. Adrian Robinson can get to the QB along with Neblett and the rest of the boys up front. Lately they havent been as good getting to the QB though and it's forcing this piss poor secondary to get burned. I've never seen a team run zone coverage worse then Temple does. They cover no one at all. I'm stunned at how poor they are. The linebackers are pretty good as this team hasnt been gouged too badly on the ground.
With regards to UCLA, from what I know about them, they were an under team. Great defense but a piss poor offense. This is a great matchup for Temple as I dont think the Bruins can beat the Owls as badly thru the air. Their QB play is so inconsistent that I can't see it going haywire on us. Defensively of course it's a concern for me as they could bottle up the run and force Temple to pass. Of course other teams have done that too but the Owls managed to still move the ball on them as well.
Intangibles in this one are these....Will Coach Golden be Coaching the Owls? I'd love to think he will but there's a chance he won't. If he's not, who knows what the mindset will be. Attendance will be another intangible. I have a feeling that UCLA fans won't be that thrilled to be in DC on the 29th and who knows if that carries over to the team. Flying east for a relatively early bowl game isn't exactly the best thing for a west coast squad. Finally, the intangible that is Temple in the bigtime...The Eagle Bank Bowl isnt great to most teams but this means a whole lot to these players, this school, this fanbase and everyone involved. Will nerves be a factor? Will the experience of UCLA win out?
Prediction: Your gonna think this is a homer pick...your going to question my thinking....I'm going to take Vegas gift and say thank you as I just think this magical season ends with a win. Could Temple be outclassed and get run out of the building? Sure....I see the game going like this....defensive struggle early on with field position flipping back and forth...Maybe a 7-3 halftime score...Temple's going to win this thing.
Other Bowl Game Picks:
St. Petersburg Bowl: Under 44.5 with two good defenses going at it here. The UCF offense is pretty bad. Rutgers is inconsistent but may struggle with UCF.
New Orleans Bowl: Under 58....Two underrated defenses in this one. I really like Dwight Dasher in this one almost enough to take MTSU but I'd rather go total here instead.
Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon State ML...The Beavers are the better team. How much motivation does BYU have to play in this bowl again? Not exactly what the Beavs want either but I'll take this PAC 10 talent over the Mountain West.
Poinsettia Bowl: Utah +3...Utes have won eight straight bowl games. Something about Cal just doesn't sit right with me.
Hawaii Bowl: Over 73.5...Two fun offenses in this one. Kyle Padron has moved in nicely for Bo Levi Mitchell. The balance of Nevada prevents me from taking SMU in this one but I'd lean to the underdog if forced to take a side.
Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl: Ohio ML...Bobcats win behind another solid effort by Theo Scott. Who is going to coach Marshall? Will Darius Marshall be healthy? Neither are questions I want to ask before a bowl game.
Meineke Care Bowl: Under 44.5 -- Two solid defenses. I like UNC to slow down Dion Lewis and force Stull to beat them. The Heels offense has been disappearing way too much this season.
Emerald Bowl: BC +9 -- Gotta question the Trojans motivation for this one. My worry about taking BC is that they dont have the talent to compete with a focused Trojan team. I'm banking that they arent and BC wants it more.
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami ML...Canes win this one with better athletes then Wisky has. Home field will play a factor a bit in this one too.
Humanitarian Bowl: Over 68...Fun game here with two teams that have smoking hot offenses. Idaho's defense tends not to show up in shootouts. This one will be played in the 40's.
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston -4.5...Air Force can't keep up in this one. Sure points will be scored but Case Keenum has a field day.
Sun Bowl: Stanford +8...Another chance for the Cardinal to make a statement to the country. Toby Gerhart will run wild on OU.
Texas Bowl: Over 53...This one will be like the SMU or Hawaii games. Navy can't stop the balance of Missou while the Tigers struggle with the Naval attack.
Chick Fil-A Bowl: VT ML...If the Hokies don't blow out Tennessee, i'll be disappointed. VT is head and shoulders above the Vols it's not even funny.
Gator Bowl: West Virginia -3....I dont care that it's Bowden's last game. Give me the more talented squad and the shorter number. FSU's defense is one of the worst units i've seen this season.
Rose Bowl: Oregon ML....I lulz at Ohio State. The Ducks will run roughshod all over the Buckeyes.
Sugar Bowl: Over 57...Cincinnati will be angry and will really test the Gators without Charlie Strong. The Bearcat D sucks too and Tebow won't want his last game to be a dud.
International Bowl: NIU +6.5 -- South Florida's collapse continues as the Huskies beat em outright.
Papa Johns Bowl: UConn +4.5 -- This team should have more wins and has played inspired ball since their CB's death. The Huskies close out the season on a high note.
Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss -3 -- Better team. SEC > Big 12
Liberty Bowl: ECU +7.5 -- The Pirates defense is underrated. They did some work on Tulsa who isnt as good as Arkansas but I feel they will do enough to hang around.
That's my bowl picks....have at it.
Temple game record: 8-1
As I've said the past few weeks, im stunned at where the Owls are this season. I predicted eight wins for the team but never figured they'd win eight games in a row which is what they can do on Friday night against Akron. For the 2nd straight week the Owls will take on a freshman QB and a team feeling good about themselves.
Temple's offense keeps rolling along behind Bernard Pierce who is single handedly putting the team on his back. Pierce rightfully so should have been on the Doak Walker Semifinalist list but was left off. The change to Chester Stewart is a welcome one BUT he's not exactly Tim Tebow. Stewart provides more of a running threat then statue-like Vaughn Charlton and his accuracy may be better too but he needs a lot of work too. Temple's got wideouts on this team with talent in Harper, Campbell and Vaughn Carraway. They'll face a defense that was gashed thru the air by Kent State who accounted for 377 yards in their loss. I figure Akron to stack 8 or 9 in the box leaving man to man on the outside.
Temple's defense is rock solid up front and in the front seven. They won't let Akron beat them on the ground at all. Not many teams have beaten the Owls thru the ground. It's the air where the problems begin as Temple's secondary preaches cushions. Even though Akron lost Bowser for the season, im sure LaFrance will get his from Nicely. The key is that Temple has to put pressure on the kid early and often because I dont have faith in this secondary at all. Should be noted that Adrian Robinson is up there in sacks in the nation. The Zips allow 2.5 sacks per game.
With regards to this game, I really dont have a good feeling. Temple has been living on borrowed time and by all accounts they should have lost to a poor Ball State team. Akron has a bit of momentum entering this game and hasnt played poorly since the Central Michigan game. I've got a bad feeling for this one as I think there's a good chance Temple loses. The Owls have more talent in this one but the past few times that they have been the better team, they havent covered.