If the Owls get to six wins, they would likely be slotted into a sweet bowl.
|Hawaii could not resolve a myriad of issues.|
Hawaii pulled out of talks to give Temple a 12th game today because it could not resolve ticket issues.
It would have been tough enough to get to a bowl game with Hawaii on the schedule and now it appears to be near impossible.
Now the Owls will have to get to a bowl the old-fashioned way: By earning it.
Four games left, two against teams that have been in the top 20 most of the season, one against a Syracuse team with a premier quarterback, Ryan Nassib, and another against an Army team that beat Boston College.
Not easy. The Owls will have to hold serve against Army, pull a mild upset against Syracuse and an even more shocking one against either Louisville or Cincinnati.
The road ahead:
|Anthony Robey: Lock-down corner|
ARMY _ Hopefully, Matty Brown will be 100 percent for this game at West Point because he has been Army's worst nightmare the past three years. Two years ago, in a 42-35 win, Brown singlehandedly led the Owls back from a 28-7 deficit with 226 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Also in that game, the Owls did something they have not done the Steve Addazio Era: Score on a trick play, a 48-yard pass off a double-reverse thrown by Joey Jones, by far the best pass thrown by a Temple player in 2010. Last year, Brown had 159 yards rushing against Army in a 42-14 win prompting the Army fan sitting next to me to ask, "Doesn't he graduate this year?" No, I told him it was Bernard Pierce who probably is leaving. "I wish it was Brown instead," the man replied.
|Chris Coyer: More effective throwing on 1st down than 3d.|
CINCINNATI _ The Bearcats have shown some chinks in their armor but mostly have been outstanding. They were able to beat Delaware State, 23-7, a week after Delaware beat Delaware State, 48-14. They also allowed Fordham to stick around for most of the first half. On the other hand, they beat Pitt, 34-10, and Virginia Tech, 27-24. They also have a sophisticated passing attack, something the Owls might have if they let Chris Coyer throw on first down instead of third down all the time. The pathway to winning is to ratchet up the passing game and head away from pound and ground. The Owls should follow the blueprint they had against USF: 16 for 20 in the passing game and, not coincidentally, 37 points. The plan to win should be 37-28, not 17-14. Planning to win 17-14 is a good way to lose, 47-17.
SYRACUSE _ If the Owls go into this game with only four wins, a crowd of about 11,000 should be rattling around Lincoln Financial Field putting a sad punctuation mark on the dreariness of the season. If, on the other hand, they go into the game with five wins and a chance to reach a bowl game with six, there should be a big crowd cheering them on and a win will depend on whether the Owls' new 3-4 defensive alignment with an abundance of athletic linebackers will be able to put enough blitzing pressure on Nassib to rattle him into a loss. (That new alignment might be wishful thinking on my part but when you can't cover anybody on the back line and you have six linebackers who can run a 4.6 40, that's the way to go IMHO.)
That's the road ahead. It won't be easy to navigate, but earning greatness or even a BCS bowl never is.
Tomorrow: Throwback Thursday