When the Temple Owls announced they would join the Big East I didn’t think much of it. The Big East was just adding schools to retain automatic BCS Bowl status. The Owls are coming from the Mid-American Conference, which may not sound like much, but I think we all recall what happened when the Bearcats played Toledo, also a MAC school, earlier this year.
Temple went 9-4 last season in the MAC and beat Wyoming 37-15 in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. However, this season they are clearly adjusting to life in the Big East. The Owls are 3-5 (2-3 in conference), but they have knocked South Florida, Connecticut and kept up with Penn State on the road earlier this season.
This may sound like an easy game for the Bearcats on paper, but it is about more than just winning the football game. Cincinnati needs to figure out who will start at quarterback and Saturday should give Butch Jones a better handle on who he should use down the stretch.
This team can still achieve all of its’ goals, but beating Temple becomes a must and going on the road, facing a team with something to prove can be tough. The Owls still haven’t had a signature win this season. If they can win their remaining three games they will have a chance to make it back-to-back bowl appearances with a 6-5 record.
A win over Cincinnati is not farfetched and if Temple can take an early lead who knows how the Cats will react. The Bearcats have struggled when they’ve faced an early deficit this season and it will be interesting to see how they start the game. Both teams have a lot to prove, but the pressure is obviously on the Bearcats.
Could you imagine if they went to Lincoln Financial Field and lost? The sky would fall on Cincinnati. Hopefully the Cats can respond to the pressure and get their 7th victory. It all starts on Saturday at Noon.