Considering Temple lost its head coach to Baylor plus five players, not too many predicted the Owls to repeat as American Athletic Conference champions.
Still, the hope on North Broad Street is that the program has reached the point at which becoming bowl-eligible should be an annual expectation.
When Temple (4-5) plays at Cincinnati (3-6) at 7 tonight on ESPN2, the Owls will be looking to stay in contention for one of bowl bids tied into the AAC. First-year coach Geoff Collins said his team is better than its record indicates. Getting to six wins and becoming bowl-eligible would be a fine way to prove that.
Five AAC teams already are bowl-eligible. Navy (5-3) will become eligible with one win in its last four games and would then be locked in as the AAC representative in the Military Bowl.
Making things more confusing is that undefeated and 18th-ranked Central Florida, which will come to Philadelphia next Saturday, must win the AAC championship game to earn the automatic bid for the Group of Five bid into an New Year’s 6 bowl.
If the AAC champion misses out on an NY6 berth, it will get a tie-in bid.
Of course, none of that matters if Temple does not become bowl-eligible.
Scandalous college basketball season tips off
The FBI investigation into the shady and, apparently in some cases, criminal activities in college basketball is the ominous dark cloud that will hang over the entire season.
No one can be sure when the next shoe will drop and another coach is forced out or player suspended because of connections to the scandal. That’s the situation as the regular season opened with games having started as early as 10:30 this morning.
For our purposes, the highlight matchup will be at 6 on ESPN when 11th-ranked West Virginia plays No. 25 Texas A&M in the Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. As a potential harbinger of things to come this season, Texas A&M will be without four projected starters who are serving team suspensions. West Virginia is without its second-leading returning scorer, who is ineligible for the first semester.
On Saturday, 21st-ranked UCLA will be without three players for its game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China. They are under house arrest in a hotel after being arrested for shoplifting.
What I’m reading
Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky might be a bit ahead of things, but she’s starting a petition to persuade the NFL to change policy and allow Philadelphia to have an Eagles Super Bowl viewing party at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Sixers had been on a nice run. Staff writer Keith Pompey gives his observations about the ugly loss in Sacramento that reminds us that this team still has a lot of growing to do.
The Flyers has a solid victory against Chicago, and staff writer Sam Carchidi tells you what he took from the game.
At 8-1, the Eagles are the surprise team in the NFL. The Eagles crew breaks down what’s been good, what’s been bad, and what must improve to keep things moving in a positive manner coming out of the bye.
There are going to be a lot of suitors if the Nippon Ham Fighters hold true to their intent to make 23-year-old sensation Shohei Otani available to Major League Baseball teams through the posting system. The Ham Fighters will set a $20 million release fee that should not deter the Phillies from getting in on the bidding.
The positive thing is that women are finally feeling empowered to speak out about being victims of sexual abuse by men in power. The negative thing is how many of them have stories to tell. Now, it is Olympic gymnastics champion Aly Raisman.
It does not matter that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he “wasn’t concussed or anything like that” after taking a hard hit to the head in Thursday night’s game against Arizona.
Referee Walt Anderson had ordered him off the field under the league’s concussion policy, and that sets in motion protocols that are supposed to be followed before Wilson can reenter the game.
Even with Wilson showing no ill effects, the NFL office needs to investigate and must fine the Seahawks if procedures were not followed in the way they are mandated.
The whole purpose of the NFL concussion protocol is to take the decision out of the hands of the team and players. The potential repercussions from playing while concussed are too dangerous to let anything slide by and give teams the idea that they can take shortcuts.
Senators vs. Avalanche, 2 p.m. (NHL Network)
Penguins at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Bucks at Spurs, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Temple at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. (ESPN2; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Dartmouth at Brown, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
BYU at UNLV, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Washington at Stanford, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
Men’s College Basketball
Central Arkansas at Baylor, 1 p.m. (FSN)
Campbell at Penn State, 4 p.m. (WNTP-AM 990)
West Virginia vs. Texas A&M, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Memphis vs. Alabama, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Delaware at Richmond, 7 p.m. (NBCSP+)
Northern Iowa at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Columbia at Villanova, 8:30 p.m. (FS2)
Pitt at Navy, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
Tennessee State at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia Tech vs. UCLA, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf on Golf Channel
Champions Tour: Schwab Cup, 4 p.m.
LPGA: Blue Bay, 11 p.m.
European PGA: Nedbank Challenge, 3 a.m. Saturday
Charles Conwell vs. Roque Zapata, junior middleweights, 10 p.m. (Showtime)
High School Football
North Penn at Garnet Valley, 7 p.m. (WNPV-AM 1440)
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Can-Am 500 qualifying, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NASCAR Trucks: Lucas Oil 150 qualifying, 5:30 p.m., race, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
Women’s College Basketball
Siena at Penn State, 7 p.m. (WNTP-AM 990)
Four-man bobsled from Lake Placid, N.Y., 11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Men’s College Basketball
Drexel vs. Bowling Green, 7 p.m., Daskalakis Center
Villanova vs. Columbia, 8:30 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
Women’s College Basketball
Temple vs. Delaware State, 7 p.m., McGonigle Hall