Temple has a football title on the line during Saturday's 7 p.m. American Athletic Conference game with Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field, but nobody should underestimate how much this game means to the visitors.
A win for Temple (9-2, 6-1 AAC) would clinch the East Division title and a berth in next week's inaugural AAC championship game at Houston. A loss would give the division to South Florida.
UConn (6-5, 4-3) became bowl eligible last week, but the thought that this doesn't mean as much to UConn couldn't be further from the truth. Just ask sophomore defensive end Luke Carrezola, a visitor making a homecoming.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Carrezola (91/2 sacks, six sacks) was a standout at Neshaminy High, and says more than 50 family and friends are expected to attend.
"It's awesome," said Carrezola said in a phone interview. "A lot of kids from my high school went to Temple, and there will be a ton of family and friends there and I am excited to play."
The Huskies have won three in a row after last week's 20-17 home win over previously unbeaten Houston.
Connecticut coach Bob Diaco said the chance to prevent Temple from clinching the division title, will have no motivation
"To have that be part of that energy is a kind of a roll of the dice," Diaco said. "We don't do that anyway."
Diaco says his team has enough to worry about without getting into side issues.
"Temple is one of the best, if not the best team we will have faced up this point from what it looks like on tape, outside of Navy," said Diaco.
Earlier this year UConn lost 28-18 to visiting Navy. So Diaco says he will have enough of a challenge competing with Temple without needing any so-called extra motivation.
"If you try to smoke and mirror the energy you will miss the point of this thing," Diaco said.
What is interesting is that all week both teams described each other as a mirror image of themselves. Tough, physical, and relentless is the way both are portrayed.
"They are like us," Temple coach Matt Rhule said of UConn. "They like to play defense, like to play special teams, they like to run the football."
Diaco even went further when describing the teams, sounding a bit like a boxing promoter.
"It is two heavyweights going to the center of the ring exchanging haymakers," Diaco said. "This is not featherweights or lightweights. These are teams that fancy and enjoy rugged football and step in the ring and swing at each other."