Photo above courtesy of NBC Sports.
“All hail the underdogs. All hail the new kids.” – X Ambassadors, “Renegades”
With the Eagles on the brink of disaster weeks before Thanksgiving and a much needed bye week, the city of Philadelphia turns it’s attention to the undefeated Temple Owls and a prime time matchup against Notre Dame at Lincoln Financial Field. This a wonderful thing for a University desperately trying to bring their football program in to relevance. Some solid coaches have helped spark that process but quickly turned tail and split for larger programs. Most recently, Steve Addazio, who came to Temple by way of the Florida Gators, split for Boston College. Before Steve, Al Golden left Virginia for Philadelphia where he made huge strides to grow the program’s significance. Al hit the bricks for Miami where he sported an orange tie every single Saturday until the most recent, after which he was fired. Shoulda stayed on North Broad Street, Al.
Perhaps the most famous coach in Temple history is Bruce Arians, who coached the cherry and the white from 1983 to 1988, taking over for Wayne Hardin. Arians, a two time NFL coach of the year, was only 30 years old when he took over the program and even led the team to the 21st ranked defense, nationally, in 1984.
At 37 years old, Matt Rhule, a former assistant under Al Golden, was named Temple’s head coach in 2012 and has led the Owls to their first 7-0 start in the University’s 121 year old history! He is also the first Owls head coach to beat Penn State since 1941 and the first Temple head coach to beat Central Florida, ever. Hard to believe, Harry.
Rhule has spunk. He’s a good, young leader and someone who has, miraculously, gotten this group of young players to forget that they play at an inner city basketball college. Their reward is a main stage, nationally televised game against the Fighting Irish and ESPN’s famed Gameday show supplanted on Independence Mall, across from Sportsradio 94WIP in center city, Philadelphia.
This weekend is for my buddies John Clark, Rhea Hughes, Rob Maadi, Kevin Neghandi, Mark Farzetta and Steve Kennedy. They, believe it or not, love this football program and are University alumni. It’s for all the proud Temple alumni. This weekend is for my dear friend, Big Daddy Graham, who went to Temple for one week and never fails to remind people he did so. This weekend, mostly, is for my great friends Steve Dolores, Rocco Ritorto and Joe Irizary who live and breathe the Temple program.
As tonight’s Halloween garage parties start grooving through the neighborhood, I hope you’ll join me in rooting on the Temple Owls. Let’s hope they dress up as a legitimate Top 20 team tonight and give Notre Dame four quarters. Let’s hope they, fight, fight, fight for the cherry and the white!
Now on to the league where they play for pay and what should be on your radar in YOUR Week 8 NFL What 2 Watch 4…
Detroit at Kansas City. If the Chiefs are going to make a legitmate run at the post-season, it has to start now.
Minnesota at Chicago. If the season ended today, the Vikings would be the second NFC wildcard team. I’m a big fan of head coach Mike Zimmer so here’s hoping Minny’s momentum keeps a movin’.
New York Giants at New Orleans. The GMen can go a long way towards winning the NFC East by beating the Saints but it’s never easy in The Big Easy. Geaux Saints!
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh. The 6-0 Bengals look to go 4 up in the loss column against their division rivals but the big story along the Monongahela is whether or not Big Ben will return from his knee injury or will Jarvis Landry get his second start of the year.
New York Jets at Oakland. Well, if you have read anything I’ve written, you know I fawn over the Raiders’ rookie wideout, Amari Cooper. Holder of the highest grade I have ever given a college receiver, Cooper has Jerry Rice-like smoothness and you SHOULD be keyed in to this game as I expect all world cornerback Darrelle Revis to follow him all over the field. THIS is the individual matchup of the week!
Seattle at Dallas. For the first time since his injury, Dallas receiver Dez Bryant has been upgraded to questionable. Will he see the field at home against the Seahawks? Will Seattle right their ship against a battered Cowboys team?
Green Bay at Denver. I almost never stay up for these late games anymore. I usually record and watch them the next day but this heavyweight matchup could be a Superbowl preview as Green Bay visits Denver with both teams coming in undefeated. The matchup here is, arguably, the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers against, arguably, the best defense from Denver.
Indianapolis at Carolina. On Monday night, the Panthers will look to extend their already longest undefeated streak in franchise history.
And finally, have fun out there on Halloween! It’s the perfect year for this holiday as most of us have off on Sunday, the Eagles are on a bye and we all get an extra hour of sleep. Might lead to a few extra cocktails this evening for me!
Check back here at voodoobrown.com on Tuesday for Week 8’s NFL Notes & Musings!
Check me out next week with Big Daddy Graham as we start your Football Friday off early on Sportsradio 94WIP in Philadelphia.
Follow me on Twitter: @darrendegaetano