Stats & Info: Temple Owls

Sorting out the ever-changing Big East

August, 24, 2012
The Big East Conference enters 2012 season with more questions than answers as conference realignment saw the West Virginia Mountaineers move to the Big 12 and the return of the Temple Owls. (In 2013, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will leave for the ACC. Boise State, Houston, Central Florida, SMU, San Diego State and Memphis will join the conference.)

Only the Louisville Cardinals cracked the preseason AP Top 25 (ranked 25th) as the conference tries to prove its worth to doubters around the nation.

One thing is for certain: the Big East is wide open heading into this season, with no team finishing worse than 5-7 in 2011.

Here are 10 statistics that may help sort out the top of the conference:

1. Temple returns to the Big East after leaving the conference in 2004. In 14 seasons in the Big East from 1991-2004, Temple managed just 30 wins in 156 games.

2. Despite finishing 5-7 last season, the South Florida Bulls outgained their opponents by an average of 81.4 yards per game, tops among all current Big East teams.

3. The team with the worst yards per game margin was the Connecticut Huskies (-53.5). After ranking at the top of the Big East in rushing yards per game from 2008-2010 (187.3), the Huskies managed just 118.5 per game in 2011. That ranked seventh in the eight-team conference.

4. After starting the season 4-0, USF lost seven of its last eight games. Four of South Florida’s losses (Cincinnati, Rutgers, Miami and West Virginia) occurred in the final seconds or overtime. According to the number of points that South Florida scored and allowed throughout the season, the Bulls should have won 2.6 more games using the logic based upon Bill James' "Pythagorean Win Percentage" for baseball.

5. Louisville also struggled in close games. All six of the Cardinals’ losses last season came by nine points or fewer, tied for the most losses by single digits last season with Central Florida, Miami (FL) and Ohio State.

6. Since 2007, the Cincinnati Bearcats have had four seasons of at least 10 wins. The rest of the teams in the Big East have combined for three.

7. Over the last three seasons, Cincinnati ranked first in the Big East in points per game, total yards per game, yards per play and touchdowns.

8. Despite Cincinnati’s offensive dominance, the Pittsburgh Panthers are the only current Big East team with a winning conference record in each of the last four seasons.

9. Over the last seven years, the Syracuse Orange are 5-22 in regular-season games played in November and December (0-4 last season). That is the worst win percentage among current Big East teams, and the seventh-worst in FBS.

10. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are the beneficiary of one of the best schedule stretches of any team in college football this season. Following a Sept. 22 game at Arkansas, Rutgers will play on the road just once over the next 55 days. That's nearly two months! And that one road game is at Temple, which is approximately 65 miles from the Rutgers campus.

Why Oregon will beat UCLA on Thursday

October, 20, 2010
The No. 1 team in the AP Poll has lost each of the last two weeks, as Alabama lost at South Carolina and Ohio State fell at Wisconsin. This week the Oregon Ducks will play their first-ever game as AP No. 1, but don’t expect the Ducks’ stay at No. 1 to be short-lived. Since No. 1 USC lost at unranked Oregon State in September 2008, AP No. 1 is 16-0 against unranked opponents with an average victory margin of 29.9 points per game. Twelve of those 16 games have been decided by at least 20 points and only two have been decided by single digits.

However, for those hopeful of an upset or close game, each of the games decided by single digits were home conference games, just like the Ducks' game Thursday with UCLA (ESPN, 9 ET). One was Alabama’s 12-10 survival against Tennessee on this very weekend last year. The other was Florida’s 23-20 win over Arkansas one week earlier.

And in each instance, the winning team lost their No. 1 ranking because of the small margin of victory. But those two games are the exception, not the rule.

In the last ten games against unranked conference opponents, AP No. 1 is 10-0 with an average victory margin of 19.0 PPG and six wins by at least 20 points.

Looking a little further down the rankings, we find several teams that can become bowl-eligible this week, but are not exactly perennial visitors to the bowl-eligibility list. The chart on the right looks at four teams who don’t have prolific bowl histories, but can become eligible with a win this weekend.

Baylor hasn't been to a bowl game since 1994, tied for the longest current drought among BCS AQ schools with Duke. The Temple Owls played in a bowl game last season, but has never been to consecutive bowl games. Mississippi State is looking for just its second bowl appearance in the last 10 seasons. And UTEP, whose last bowl appearance was in 2005, has not won a bowl game since 1967.
Here's some quick notes on the mid-afternoon action of a busy college football Saturday:

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 10 Arkansas 20
• The Alabama Crimson Tide took advantage of two Ryan Mallett interceptions in the fourth quarter to rally and beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, remaining unbeaten.

• Arkansas led 20-7 in the third quarter, but gained just 48 yards the rest of the way with a pair of turnovers, allowing Alabama to rally for its 18th consecutive win (the longest active streak in the country).

• Mallett threw for 250 yards and a score and rushed for another in the first half as Arkansas led 17-7. He finished with 357 passing yards and three interceptions, a career high.

Mark Ingram had a 54-yd TD run in the first quarter. It's his third run of over 45 yards this season after having two all of last year. He finished with 157 yards and two TD.

Greg McElroy completed six-of-nine pass attempts in the fourth quarter and is now 17-of-23 in the fourth quarter when trailing in his career.

• Alabama is now 4-0 vs. Arkansas under Nick Saban and has won 17 consecutive SEC regular-season games.

• Arkansas falls to 0-12-1 in its last 13 games involving top-10 teams.

No. 2 Ohio State 73, Eastern Michigan 20
• The Ohio State Buckeyes scored on their first six drives and finished with their most points in a game since 1950, when they scored 83 vs the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Dane Sanzenbacher caught four TD, tying a school record he now shares with Terry Glenn (1995) and Bob Grimes (1952).

Terrelle Pryor threw four TD passes, ran for a TD and also caught a TD pass. He's the only FBS player in the last seven seasons to reach each of those totals in a single game. In fact, only three other players have thrown three TD passes while also catching a TD and running for a TD over that span. Most recently, Mike Kafka did it last year for Northwestern.

• Eastern Michigan has lost 16 straight, spanning the entirety of Ron English's tenure as head coach.

UCLA 34, No. 7 Texas 12
• The Texas Longhorns committed five turnovers and were outrushed by 206 yards. Texas suffered its worst home loss of the Mack Brown era (since 1998).

Johnathan Franklin rushed for 118 yards and a TD for the UCLA Bruins, who defeated a top-10 team on the road for the first time since a win over the 10th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in 1998. It is their first win over a non-conference top-10 team since 2000 (Michigan Wolverines) and only the fourth non-conference home loss for Texas under Mack Brown.

• In their last 2 visits to Austin, the Bruins have outscored Texas 100-15. 264 of UCLA's 290 yards came on the ground.

No. 16 Stanford 37, Notre Dame 14
Stepfan Taylor ran for 108 yards, while Andrew Luck threw for 238 yards and a TD (but throws his first two interceptions of the season) as the Stanford Cardinal win in South Bend for the first time since 1992. That day, the opposing coaches were Bill Walsh for Stanford and Lou Holtz for Notre Dame.

• The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have now lost 11 straight games vs. opponents ranked in the AP Top 25 (five straight at home). The last time Notre Dame beat a ranked team was Sept. 9, 2006 when it beat No. 19 Penn State, 41-17, in South Bend.

Dayne Crist threw for 307 yards, a TD and an interception (which was returned for a TD by Owen Marecic) and Michael Floyd caught eight passes for 112 yards for the Irish, who lose their 3rd straight game overall.

• At 1-3, Notre Dame is off to its worst start since 2007, when it began 0-5.

• Stanford has now defeated Notre Dame two games in a row for the first time in the history of the series.

No. 20 USC 50, Washington State 16
• Lane Kiffin improves to 4-0 as the USC Trojans' head coach, and becomes the fifth coach in USC history to start his tenure with four straight wins.

• The Trojans piled up season highs of 50 points and 613 yards.

• It's the first 4-0 start for USC since 2007 and its eighth straight win over the Washington State Cougars.

• Washington State has now lost 12 straight to FBS opponents.

No. 23 Penn State 22, Temple 13
• The Penn State Nittany Lions trailed 13-9 at the half, but shut out the Temple Owls in the second half on the way their 28th straight win over Temple.

• Penn State's 28-game win streak vs. Temple is now two shy of the FBS record for most consecutive wins over an opponent in a non-consecutive series (held by the Clemson Tigers over the Virginia Cavaliers). Penn State's streak of 16 consecutive double-digit wins over the Owls is, however, snapped.

Evan Royster ran for a career-high 187 yards on 26 carries (matching a career high) for Penn State. He had just 110 yards on 31 carries in his first three games this season. His performance moved him into sixth on the Penn State all-time rushing list. He's just 105 yards behind Tony Hunt for second on the list, and 183 behind Curt Warner for the school record.

• Senior kicker Collin Wagner had a career-high five field goals for Penn State.

• Temple drops to 1-14-1 all-time against Big Ten teams, with the only win coming vs. Wisconsin in 1990.