What started as a 12-game football schedule for Temple that was supposed to begin Sept. 5 has been whittled down to eight games. The Owls will only play American Athletic Conference games after the pandemic caused the cancellation of the four nonconference games.
The top two teams in the 11-team AAC will play in the conference championship game.
Temple will become the final AAC team to open play when the Owls visit Navy on Saturday, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
Here is a look at Temple’s schedule game by game, with some kickoff times to be determined at a later date.
At Navy, Saturday, 6 p.m.
The Midshipmen (1-2) have the advantage of playing three games even though they didn’t play well in them. Defending the Navy triple option is always difficult, but this season the Midshipmen rushing offense has struggled. This is certainly a winnable game and whether Temple contends in the AAC will be determined if the Owls can win this one on road.
South Florida, Saturday, Oct. 17, noon
USF has lost to Notre Dame and Cincinnati by a combined 80-27. Temple couldn’t have asked for a better home opener.
At Memphis, Saturday, Oct. 24
Coming off Saturday’s 30-27 loss at SMU, Memphis still has the ability to play in the AAC title game. Last year Memphis was the AAC champion and the only conference team to beat the Tigers was Temple. Beating the Tigers again will be difficult but not impossible.
At Tulane, Saturday, Oct. 31
This was a team that was supposed to be vastly improved, but the Green Wave blew a 24-0 halftime lead in a 27-24 loss to Navy. After losing to Tulane 20-14 in the first ever Sugar Bowl in 1935, Temple has won the last four meetings, including 29-21 at home last season.
SMU, Thursday, Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m.
The Mustangs are already looking to be in midseason form, simply because with the nation’s only 4-0 record, they are near the midway part of their schedule. In last year’s 45-20 win over Temple, SMU’s Shane Buechele threw for 457 yards and six touchdowns. Bad news for Temple: he appears to be improved.
At Central Florida, Saturday, Nov. 14
UCF stubbed its toe in last week’s 34-26 home loss to Tulsa, but this remains one of the AAC’s top teams. Temple has lost three in a row to the Knights by a combined 160-80 so mark this down as a difficult assignment.
East Carolina University, Saturday, Nov. 21
The Pirates were supposed to be improved but they are 0-2 after losing to Georgia State last week. Temple and ECU have played in each of the last six year and the Owls are 6-0 and there is no reason to think that streak will end this season.
Cincinnati, Saturday, Nov. 28
Last year Temple lost a 15-13 game at Cincinnati that was marred by special teams blunders. Cincinnati is considered among the best Group of Five teams so this one will be difficult. The Owls can only hope that it will be a meaningful game.
Temple looks to open the season strong
Temple has had several months to prepare for the opener against Navy and sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get ready for the Midshipmen’s triple-option offense. This year isn’t one of those times. Navy (1-2) has used three quarterbacks. Temple will face senior Dalen Morris, who started the first game, a 55-3 loss to BYU, then came off the bench in the second game and helped Navy overcome a 24-0 deficit in a 27-24 win over Tulane. Morris didn’t play in last week’s 40-7 loss at Air Force due to an undisclosed medical condition, but one that wasn’t related to COVID-19.
Navy is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, which won’t get it done for a team that has attempted just 38 passes in three games. Navy’s opponents have only attempted 56 passes. It’s possible that Temple could throw the ball 35-40 times and Navy doesn’t seem equipped to cover all the Owls' weapons. By no means should Temple be overconfident, but this is one of the weaker-looking Navy teams. One thing to watch is that coach Ken Niumatalolo is one of the best and most underrated coaches in the country. The key will be how soon Temple is able to shake off the rust and also get accustomed to the triple-option. The Owls may start slow but should finish with a big effort.
Prediction: Temple 27, Navy 17