2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 81 Temple Owls
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Temple Owls
No. 81: Temple Owls
Temple Owls Prespring Status
Just how good can Temple be after losing head coach Matt Rhule to Baylor, and with a whole slew of top players from last year’s American Athletic Conference champion? Is there a chance the Owls go from being a ten-win dominant force over the second half of the season, to an also-ran again? After all, this might seem like a very, very low ranking for a team that finished third in the nation in total defense and came up with a stunningly effective, balanced attack.
But here’s the big problem. Temple loses a whole slew of the offensive stars from last year, almost all of the key defensive players, and, of course, Rhule. This was a special team last season that came up with a special season, and now new head coach Geoff Collins has to try making the same magic.
Temple Owls Biggest Issue
The defense was able to reload and be even better despite the loss of LB Tyler Matakevich, but last year’s D only lost two of the top eight tacklers. This year’s defense has to replace leading tackler Avery Williams from the linebacking corps, dominant force Haason Reddick off the line, and four of the top five tacklers and seven of the top 11. The starting linebacking corps is starting over, while 30.5 of the team’s 40 sacks – with the top four sackers done – need to be replaced.
Temple Owls Biggest Positive
The offensive losses might not be quite as painful as it might appear. Yeah, it hurts to lose leading rusher Jahad Thomas – he could catch, too – but Ryquell Armstead ran for 919 yards and 14 scores. The ground game will be fine, and the receiving corps should be, too, with the top four wideouts back including Ventell Bryant and Keith Kirkwood, who combined for 97 of the team’s 232 catches. Throw in the three returning starters up front, and the O could be okay, but …
Really, Why Are The Temple Owls Ranked Here?
So who’s going to run the attack? Phillip Walker has been a solid four-year starter who cranked up close to 3,300 yards last year with 22 scores. He made the offense more explosive, made the offense more efficient, and led the way to a championship season. Can backup Logan Marchi take over, or will Anthony Russo and Frank Nutile get the gig?
Overall, there are more than enough good pieces in place to expect a bowl season, but can Collins crank up the D in a hurry despite all the losses? That might be a bit too steep a hill to climb.