— Story by Chris Franklin @
The Temple Owls and the American Athletic Conference released the 2017 football schedule Thursday. The Owls will have four nationally televised games this season. Because of the shift in the scheduled teams, Memphis, Tulane and SMU will not be on the schedule for the next two years. However, Houston, Tulsa and Navy will be opponents. Here are some interesting things about the upcoming schedule.
Most Intriguing Matchup: Sept. 21 against South Florida. Since the American Athletic Conference has moved to the divisional format, Temple and South Florida have been the two best teams in the East Division. Temple has won the East the past two years, but South Florida has finished one game behind. The winner of this game will have the inside track on winning this year’s division title. Add the fact that both teams have new head coaches (Geoff Collins for Temple and Charlie Strong for South Florida) and this matchup could be one of the best conference games this season.
Return of a Mayor’s Cup? Temple also is set to play Villanova. The series is split evenly with both teams with 15 wins and two ties. The two teams last played in 2012. There was a trophy that was awarded to the winner of the game. Will it make a return on Sept. 9?
Revenge Game: Army is on the schedule, and the Black Knights can once again be a big threat to Temple. The Owls will visit West Point on Oct. 21, a week before the bye week. A lot of the same players that were on the team that defeated Temple last year will be back. Temple gave up 329 rushing yards in the loss. The team has had its troubles in the past defending against the triple-option, and it could give a young defense trouble again.
Can Temple win in South Bend: In a bit of déjà vu, a new Temple head coach will have his first game against Notre Dame. This game could wind up being a lot closer than people may think. While Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly remained at the school, he did hire a new offensive coordinator (Mike Denbrock from Cincinnati) and a new defensive coordinator (Mike Elko from Wake Forest). With new coordinators, especially on offense, it may take a while for a team to be comfortable in a new system. Both teams will find themselves in the same position. It would not be surprising to see a tight game.