Miami and Temple have college football programs. That’s about as far as the comparisons of the two programs go, as Saturday’s game was just another reminder of the direction of the Owls’ program.
It was billed as just another set ’em up, knock ’em down game for Miami. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Miami was giving up 41 points in the spread, so they had nothing to lose and everything to gain… in Vegas.
This year, the winless Owls off-field problems are plentiful. Academic ineligibilities and eviction from their former conference wiped away most positive expectations the Owls could have had entering the season. And how could the semi-resignation of their coach last week be forgotten? Unlike the Hurricanes, the Owls often seem to be defeated even before they step on the field.
Yet after the 34-3 loss, the fight that the Owls put up against one of the most storied college football programs in the nation, simply put, got them some well-earned respect around the neighborhood, especially after getting rolled over by Bowling Green and Wisconsin with 63-point and 65-point losses, respectively.
Oddly enough, though, there was a time in history when Miami and Temple’s roles were reversed. During the 1970s the Owls posted eight seasons with records above .500. They appeared in three bowl games in the decade, while the ‘Canes posted only two seasons with more wins than losses.
Since then, the teams have gone on paths so different you have to wonder what gas station the Owls stopped at to get their directions.
The Hurricanes have only one losing season since 1980. That’s it. Over the same span, the Owls have managed just two winning seasons.
Saturday’s game included, the teams have played each other 14 times, with Miami having a commanding 13-1 advantage. The only Temple win came in the very first meeting between the two – in 1930.
When asked what separated Miami from all other teams in college football, senior defensive end Christian Dunbar said, “It’s their speed. They have exceptional speed everywhere, not just at their skill positions.”
“It’s unusual to win a half against Miami, or at least to tie like we did,” Wallace said after the game. “This season is not over and there is no quit in this team. … We were able to get some things going on the ground and I was very pleased with the play of the defense in the second half.”
Not all hope is lost for the future of Temple’s football program. Ian Killen, a 28-year old Vero Beach, Fla., native who hails from Philadelphia originally, believes that the Owls could very well get back on the same level as the Hurricanes. “They could get there, they just have to get better at recruiting. Recruiting is No. 1. But you have to have the right coach because he is the one that convinces them to come.”
With Wallace announcing that he won’t be back next year, the Owls have a head start on finding that someone who could lead the team back to prominence, a stage where Miami has been in the limelight for the last 20 years.
David L. Jackson, Sr., has a logical connection to both programs, having moved to West Philly from Florida; but records aside, the Owls own his heart.
“I’m gonna always root for Temple, and I’m from Miami,” Jackson said. “But I’m a Philly fan. I like the attitude of the city.”
Jeremy Drummond can be reached at email@example.com. Ben Watanabe contributed to this column.