It wasn't that long ago that the Temple Owls were dropped from the Big East like a wet fish for stinking up the league. The Owls were cast adrift in search of a new identity. Fast-forward to 2015, playing in the conference risen from the Big East's ashes, the Owls have remolded themselves as a nasty, physical team worthy of national attention.
Sitting at a perfect 7-0 for the first time in program history, Temple will have the eyes of the college football world -- and ESPN's College GameDay -- fixed squarely on it when it welcomes Notre Dame to town. And for good reason. This team is ready for the limelight.
Temple has worked its way up from AAC bottom feeder over the past three seasons under head coach Matt Rhule. The longtime Temple assistant and Pennsylvania native has cultivated one of the nastiest defenses in all of college football. The Owls rank damn near the top in almost every defensive statistic.
With one of the most dangerous front sevens in the game -- Temple gets in the backfield to the tune of more than 10 stops a game -- the Owls should give the Irish plenty of trouble on Saturday.
The Underdogs Poll is a weekly venture in which SB Nation's blogs on non-power schools vote to rank the top 15 non-power teams at the moment.
|9||Appalachian State (1)||74||13|
|Dropped Out: Utah State | Others Receiving Votes: WMU (1)|
Yes, this team needed a pair of late blocked punts to beat ECU on the road last week, but that's why you should take Temple seriously against Notre Dame this weekend. These Owls can't lose, even when they're trying their damndest.
Temple is not as flashy as Memphis and not as exciting offensively as Houston, but the Owls may just be the most complete team of the three remaining undefeated squads in the AAC. Saturday, the Owls have the chance to make their case and to prove that their hot start is no fluke.
The Owls may not win -- and that's OK -- but they'll do their best to put their dirty stamp all over Saturday's matchup. In the process, Temple will get a chance to show the league what Owls football is all about.
Temple's special teams: The Owls' special teams unit came up with a pair of blocked punts in the final six minutes of action this past Saturday to turn a 14-10 deficit into a 24-14 win. You may call it luck, but it goes back to the level of tenacity the team has shown all season. These Owls are vicious.
Paxton Lynch: The Memphis signal caller led the Tigers to victory in Saturday's 108-point shootout with Tulsa. With 447 yards and four touchdowns, it was actually Lynch's leadership abilities in the wake of a sloppy effort by the defense that earns him this honor this week.
Matt Johnson: The Bowling Green quarterback tossed his sixth 400+-yard game of the season and notched five more touchdowns in a 48-0 throttling of Kent State. You know that phrase about video game stats? Johnson's year epitomizes it. He now has almost 300 more yards than the next closest quarterback on the season (and is tied for the lead in touchdown passes).
Roger Lewis: Johnson's No. 1 target joins him again on this list, even if only for this bonkers one-handed touchdown grab (and his more than 25 yards per catch average in the win).
Quinton Flowers: Sure, he had an abysmal game through the air on Saturday, but the USF quarterback tallied more than 200 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in the win over SMU. Don't look now, but the Bulls are on a three-game winning streak and could cause some trouble down the stretch in the AAC.
Three To Watch (All times ET):
Louisiana Tech at Rice, Fri., Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. on FOX Sports 1
Vanderbilt at Houston, Sat., Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2
Notre Dame at Temple, Sat., Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. on ABC