With empty fanstands, no pre-game tailgating and the possibility of a game cancelation at any moment, this football season will be anything from normal.
Despite these changes, the Owls will still go into the season with the possibility of a celebratory victory or a let-down loss each matchup. Here’s The Temple News’ sports editors predictions of the outcome for each game during the Owls’ season.
Oct. 10 @ Navy
Dante Collinelli (L): I couldn’t imagine a worse week one matchup for the Owls. Navy’s unique triple-option offense is difficult to prepare for in a typical preseason, and the Owls’ limited practice time will come back to bite them in this game. I’ve got Navy winning this one.
Adam Aaronson (L): Temple defeated Navy 24-17 last time they faced off in 2018, but by any other measure, Navy was the better team. They finished last season ranked among the top 20 in the nation after going 11-2 and winning the Liberty Bowl. I’m taking Navy to win this game, with Temple beginning the year 0-1.
Isabella DiAmore (L): At the Navy vs. Temple game in 2018, Temple pulled out a win with a final score of 24-17. This year, Navy has a different quarterback, and Navy’s fullback, Nelson Smith, who’s known to be extremely fast, led the team in touchdowns against Tulane on Sept. 19. This game will be a nail-biter, but I’m going with Navy to win this one. The Owls start 0-1.
Oct. 17 vs. South Florida
DC (W): The Bulls lost to Notre Dame University 52-0 on Sept. 19 and finished 4-8 in 2019. Temple beat the Bulls 17-7 on the road last season, and I don’t see any reason why they would lose this game at home. The Owls get their first win of the season.
AA (W): South Florida went 4-8 last season, posting a measly -97 point differential. Even if improvement is on the way, the Bulls are still a rebuilding team. Temple gets their first win here.
ID (W): Last season, Navy beat South Florida 35-3 and Temple beat them 17-7. This season, Temple’s stronger wide receiver group will be a key factor in the game. I think Temple is going to come out with a win, marking their first of the season and advancing their record to 1-1.
Oct. 24 vs. Memphis
DC (W): Memphis lost a ton of talent between Antonio Gibson getting drafted by the Washington Football Team and Kenneth Gainwell opting out of the season. On top of that, two of Memphis’ games were canceled due to COVID-19, giving them little play time this season. After playing two games, Temple’s rust should be gone. Considering they beat Memphis last season, I’ll take the Owls in this one.
AA (L): I have Memphis in this game after their 12-1 regular season last year — even if their sole loss came at the hands of the Owls. The Tigers lost standout wide receiver Antonio Gibson to the NFL, which is an advantage for the Owls. But given their track record, I’m rolling with the Tigers.
ID (W): Temple and Memphis both went into the game last season with a 5-1 record. Being conference opponents, this was a crucial game for Temple. Luckily, the Owls won with a final score of 30-28. The Tigers ranked 116th nationally in allowing passing plays of 30 or more yards and the team ranked 128th out of 130 teams for passing plays of 40 or more yards. I’m going to give this win to Temple, improving their record to 2-1.
Oct. 31 @ Tulane
DC (W): The Owls won this game 29-21 last season behind three sacks and six tackles for loss from former defensive end Quincy Roche. Well, Roche transferred to the University of Miami, and Tulane will be out for revenge. With that said, Tulane had a 24 point lead against Navy on Sept. 19 and lost 27-24. The Owls will build off their win against Memphis with another win this game.
AA (L): The Green Wave went a respectable 7-6 last season, but have since lost two key contributors to the NFL in defensive back Thakarius Keyes and wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Tulane struggled to move the ball down the field at Lincoln Financial Field against Temple. However, this year’s matchup will take place on Tulane’s home turf, where they went 5-1 last season, compared to 1-5 on the road. With that being said, I’ll take Tulane to get revenge for last year’s defeat.
ID (L): This matchup could be a close game, as it was last season, with a final score of 29-21. Temple won the game, but Tulane finished with one of the best rushing defenses in the American, allowing just 148 yards per game on the ground last season. The Owls’ inconsistency will allow Tulane to win, moving Temple’s record to 2-2.
Nov. 5 vs. Southern Methodist
DC (L): When these teams played last season, Southern Methodist senior quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 457 yards and six touchdown passes while senior receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. recorded 250 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Both of those players returned this season. The Mustangs won the game 45-21, and they could’ve won by a wider margin. Temple struggled with defending fast-paced offenses the past couple seasons, making the Mustangs a bad matchup for them. The Owls’ winning streak is over, I’m taking the Mustangs.
AA (L): Considering how easily SMU defeated the Owls last season, beating them 45-21, and that their main contributors are returning this season, I’m comfortable saying the Owls will drop this one.
ID (L): SMU’s program took a huge turn last season and the majority of their stars are returning this season. This game is going to come down to Temple’s defense rather than the offense, and with wide receivers Jadan Blue, Branden Mack and Randle Jones returning, the Owls can put up the points. The question is, will they be able to hold back the Mustangs from outscoring them like last season? That being said, I’m going to give this win to the Mustangs, and the Owls drop to 2-3.
Nov. 14 @ Central Florida
DC (L): Similar to SMU, the Golden Knights run one of the fastest offenses in the entire country, making this another bad matchup for the Owls. UCF beat Temple 63-21 last season behind 385 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Temple puts up more of a fight this season, but ultimately, the Golden Knights are just too fast of an offense to handle.
AA (L): Once again, I’m predicting a Temple loss based on the offensive resume of their opponent. The Golden Knights finished last season ranked as the 24th-best team in the nation, frankly putting them in a higher offensive tier than the present-day Owls.
ID (L): The Golden Knights have an explosive offense, from the running back to the wide receiver to the tight end. The Owls will be able to compete with the Golden Knights, but UCF is going to get this win. Temple stands at 2-4.
Nov. 21 vs East Carolina
DC (W): The Pirates finished 4-8 last season, including a 27-17 loss to Temple. Owls’ sophomore running back Re’Mahn Davis ran for 157 yards and one touchdown in the game. East Carolina’s defense gave up 466.1 yards of offense last season. I expect Temple’s offense to score plenty of points in this game. The Owls get back on track with a win against the Pirates.
AA (W): The Owls may not be a powerhouse, but they are certainly a few levels above East Carolina after the Pirates’ poor showing last season. After two tough games, Temple gets a win here and breathes a sigh of relief.
ID (W): After a two-game losing streak, the Owls are ready for a win. This game won’t be a shut-out for the Owls, but East Carolina’s first game of the season against the Golden Knights on Sept. 26 was a loss of 51-28. If the Owls can compete with UCF, they should be able to win against East Carolina, advancing the Owls to 3-4.
Nov. 28 vs Cincinnati
DC (L): Last season, these teams played a low-scoring, sloppy game, which the Bearcats won 15-13. The Bearcats’ combination of junior quarterback Desmond Ridder and senior running back Gerrid Doaks make for a potent offense. The Owls keep this one close with a strong performance from graduate student quarterback Anthony Russo, but the Bearcats prove too strong in the end. I’m taking Cincinnati.
AA (W): Riding a wave of optimism after their rebound win against East Carolina, the Owls will lead into an impressive win against the Bearcats, who beat them by just one score last year. This game could be a toss up, so I’ll roll with Temple and its home-field advantage.
ID (W): Temple is going to come into this game with high energy, as Cincinnati beat Temple by two points last season. This game could go either way, especially being the last conference game, and Temple could be a different team by this point in the season. However, with Re’Mahn Davis as the Owls’ starting running back, they’ll be able to outscore Cincinnati. Temple finishes the season 4-4.