The Temple Owls have seen a massive increase in just about every aspect of their football team over the last decade.
Prior to the 2006 season, the Owls were in a decline that dated back to 1989. In a 16 year-span, they finished with a combined record of 38-151. In fact, things were so bad for Temple that following the 2004 season, they were voted out of the Big East (although their poor play on the field and lack of interest among fans were only a part of the reason they were voted out). Following their expulsion from the Big East, the Owls went 0-11 in Bobby Wallace’s final season as head coach.
A rebuild that started the following season with the hiring of head coach Al Golden in December of 2005 has reached a whole new level a decade later under third-year head coach Matt Rhule.
Now, in 2015, the Owls are currently 7-0 and ranked #22 in the Coaches’ Poll and #21 in the AP Poll, their first national ranking since 1979. While some would argue that Temple has not played many good teams, those arguments can now be put to rest. The Owls passed their first real test of the season last Thursday night when they came back to beat the East Carolina Pirates 24-14 to move to 7-0.
Now the Owls are set to face their toughest opponent of the season when the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to Lincoln Financial Field on Halloween. As if the excitement of Temple’s first game against a ranked opponent while ranked themselves was not enough, ESPN’s College Gameday will be broadcasting live from Independence Mall in Philadelphia in anticipation of Saturday Night’s showdown.
The buzz going around in Philadelphia is something that has taken the city by storm. A win over Notre Dame and everyone in the country will be aware of who the Temple Owls are. The Owls can solidify their place as a legitimate team with a win over the Irish.
Throughout all of the hype and attention that the team has gotten all season long, Matt Rhule has managed to do a great job of keeping his players calm and keeping things positive week to week. Heading into their matchup with Notre Dame, the game plan of taking things one game at a time and focusing on this week and this week only remains the same.
Although Notre Dame is favored, the only thing that is certain is that all eyes will be on South Philadelphia this Saturday night. The Eagles may have a bye this week, but the birds will still be looking to defend their nest.
Temple has been a surprise all season long, so what’s to say that they don’t have one more surpise in store for Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field?