2012 Program Preview - Temple

Temple HC Steve Addazio has a much tougher test this year with the Owls moving to the Big East. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

This could get tough to watch. After sliding around the bottom of the Big East for a decade and a half, Al Golden helped resurrect the program in the friendly confines of the MAC only to leave to coach the Miami Hurricanes after the 2010 season. While things aren't going, let's say, swimmingly for Golden and the U, Steve Addazio assembled an impressive staff in year one leading the Owls to an impressive 9-4 campaign that included three narrow losses all by less than a touchdown.

Things change in 2012.

Many of the holdovers from the Golden era have matriculated, including three 2012 NFL Draft picks. Only nine starters return to the team including just one on the offensive line. Making things more difficult, Temple is joining the Big East this year, elevating the level of competition the Owls will face starting in October.

While the early returns on the recruiting front are helping to validate the move, the preseason outlook is not so rosy as in prior years. Nevertheless, given what Addazio has been able to do at Florida and in year one with Temple, I wouldn't count them out of a another winning season.

After the jump, the prospects worth noting as well as some games and matchups to pencil into your calendar.

References

Big East Coast Bias (SB Nation conference community), SB Nation Philly, SB Nation team page, official team site, Bill Connelly's preview for SBN, CBS Sports preview

Notable offensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Montel Harris
RB
RS Sr.
4 (transferred from Boston College; will play in 2012)
Sean Boyle C
RS Sr.
UD
Deon Miller
WR
Jr.
UD


Notable defensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
John Youboty
DE
RS Sr.
UD (riser)


Summary

The Harris transfer certainly adds a layer of positivity on the draft front, to say nothing of how much it can help them on the field. The real takeaway should be that Temple just needs to keep winning games after the conference move. If they can show a level of competitiveness in the Big East, they'll pick up some more talented players (keep an eye on the O-line given Addazio's history) and provide a longer watchlist in years to come.

Key games

Maryland (home) - Week 2 (Sat., Sep. 8 - 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Penn St. (away) - Week 4 (Sat., Sep. 22 - TBD)

I had this game in the Maryland preview; it should be a competitive contest that resonates on the recruiting front. I've lumped in the Penn St. game largely for the latter of those two aspects. Add to that the fact Temple lost to Penn St. by just four points last season and it becomes an even more dramatic spectacle (don't go there) ahead of Temple's Big East schedule.

Rutgers (home) - Week 8 (Sat., Oct. 20 - TBD)

Given how much of Temple's roster is built from the Garden State, this should be a great Big East matchup every year. As of right now, the talent needle swings heavily in the Knights' favor. But if you want to bet on new head coach Kyle Flood over Addazio, have at it.

Key matchups

RB Montel Harris v. Penn St. LBs Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges & Glenn Carson, Week 4 - Sat., Sep. 22

NFL players in a college world, yo. Mauti's coming off a horrendous ACL tear from 2011, but all signs point to his being ready to go by week one. Hodges reminds me of Navorro Bowman, himself a Penn St. alum. If Harris can have just a decent day, Temple could stay in this game. If Penn St. cleans him out, they likely make short work of the Owls.

DE John Youboty v. Cincinnati OT Sean Hooey, Week 11 - Sat., Nov. 10

Youboty's a bit of a dark horse candidate this year. He's got bloodlines; his brother Ashton enters his seventh NFL season this year. He's got pedigree, having been a solid recruit that chose Marshall over some stronger programs before transferring to Temple last year. And he's got work ethic, having worked his way out of a nearly career-ending spinal injury showing a willingness to play on the inside instead of his natural DE spot. Hooey is equally a player that could rise up boards throughout the season. It'll be interesting to track these two throughout the year to see if this matchup takes on more and more prominence leading up to mid-November.

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