This is a series where we will be breaking down every Big East Football team in the order Syracuse sees them on the schedule. Included in these team previews are excerpts from a Syracuse Football E-Zine that is set to be released later this summer.Previous Entries: Pittsburgh Rutgers Connecticut South Florida Cincinnati Louisville
The Temple Owls
This game could be absolutely prove to be a huge game for the Orange, who may need this game to qualify for a bowl given the difficult schedule they face all season. Temple had a successful season by any standards last year, which ended in a bowl victory over Wyoming in the Gilden New Mexico Bowl. Syracuse is two coaches removed from the last time the two teams matched up, with Temple winning the ballgame by ten in a game that many point to as the “final straw” for then Head Coach Paul Pasqueloni, who was fired at the conclusion of that season.
The Owls need to fill the void left offensively by running back Bernard Pierce, who is turning pro after running for over 1,400 yards last season along with scoring 27 touchdowns. He is the main reason why the Owls ranked 7th in the FBS in rushing yards per game with just over 256 on average. This will be a daunting task for returning running back Matt Brown, who will face much stiffer competition in the Big East.
Temple also had a phenominal defnese last season, allowing just under 14 points per game, good enough to rank 3rd in the country. The Owls graduated a large portion of their defense, and are going to look for big plays from senior defensive back Justin Gildea. The Big East is one of the weaker BCS conferences, but the competition is still much tougher than the MAC Conference, so the Owl defense will face more speed and talent in conference match ups which will absolutely impact their defense and cause them to allow more points than they did last season.
All in all I believe that the lack of a difficult schedule really played in to the aforementioned statistics, and although the Owls will be solid, Syracuse should be better.