As Big East teams begin practicing again, I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. We continue with ...
Start date: Saturday.
Predicted finish at media days: Eighth.
Biggest storyline: How do the Owls handle the transition to the Big East? Take a look at the preseason media poll, and you see there is not much confidence in Temple among the voters. It is important to note that the Owls are in a vastly different place today than they were back in 2004, their final year in the league. There is an absolute commitment to football, and they come into the league off three straight winning seasons and a bowl victory. A new $10 million football facility was just completed, so Temple has made some pretty fantastic strides. But you also have to remember Temple comes into the Big East after recruiting and playing in the MAC. So the big concern is not so much talent, but depth, particularly up front. Will the Owls have enough to compete in the trenches for the full grind of a season. Where there were a handful of gimmes in the MAC, there are none in the Big East. The nonconference schedule is tough, too, with games against Penn State, Maryland and Army.
Biggest question marks: The one that everybody has talked about since Temple joined the Big East last March is the offensive line, where the Owls have to replace four of five starters. Right tackle Martin Wallace returns to anchor the group, but folks should note that center Sean Boyle has extensive playing time -- he has just been a bit injury prone. Coach Steve Addazio has said he is confident in his starting group. But beyond that, he is not sure what he has in the way of depth. That must be developed during fall camp. Temple also has two new starting linebackers, and two new starting defensive linemen, so making sure they are ready to go also will be key.
Who needs to step up: Montel Harris. The spotlight is squarely on the Boston College transfer, simply because the running back is the most high-profile player the Owls have entering the season. His track record is undeniable, but there have been recent questions about the health of his knee, which forced him to redshirt last season. Addazio says Harris is totally healthy. His addition brings an added dynamic for Temple. If he is as good as he has been in his past, every Big East team will have to be on alert.