Bix's Picks: Temple

Greetings Bearcat Faithful!!! It is time once again for yet another edition of Bix’s Picks, a segment that gives you, the ardent followers of all things UC, infinitely more pertinent Bearcat Football information on a weekly basis than a subscription to the Cincinnati Enquirer provides in a year! I fully realize that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot, but if you don’t expect too much, we just may not let you down…

In addition to the aforementioned Bearcat nib, the “crack” staff (some would say the “on-crack” staff that consists of a guy named “Nick the Arm” in Vegas who stays on top of line moves and a guy down in Arkansas named Brewster who applies an “Ozark Mathematics” approach to number crunching) that produces every Bix’s Picks article will digest all the stats, trends and other minutia that are absolutely necessary to accurately predict the against the spread outcome of the Cats’ upcoming opponent.

Your beloved Bearcats of Cincinnati will jump on a bird and matriculate eastward to the City of Brotherly Love for a game at Lincoln Financial Field against BIG EAST newbie, the Temple Owls. I am sure that many of you would agree with me when I say that I just can’t comprehend the word “love” with anything related to the city of Philadelphia, whether that “love” be brotherly, sisterly or cheese steak-erly (Actually scratch the last part of that sentence because now that I think about it, even vegans and vegetarians LOVE cheese steaks!). “Love” and Philly? Those are two words that should never be associated with one another! Hell, Rocky Balboa didn’t really even LIKE much less ‘love” Adrian until she started wearing makeup and I believe that wasn’t until Rocky III or IV!!! There is no “love” in the town of Philly….They threw snowballs at Santa Claus for God’s sake! I can only imagine what they would throw at Santa Ono!! Regardless, the only thing I “love” about this game is that there is zero chance of snow which should nip ice ball manufacturing in the bud and that ol’ crazy bastard John Chaney is in no way associated with the Temple Owls football program!!!

THE TEMPLE OWLS

The Temple Owls have 2 mottos (cause one just isn’t enough!)for the 2012 season:

1.) “New Conference. Same TUff Team. Same TUff town”
2.) “Self Made. Philly Made. Temple Made”

Pretty impressive huh? Inspirational even! See what they did there with the T and the U in the first one? And the 2nd one just inspires me to grab my sticks (Taylor Made) and hit the links!

2nd year HC Steve Addazio and his Temple Owls (3-5, 2-3) will welcome the Bearcats into what they are hoping will be a half filled Lincoln Financial Field (Temple is averaging 29k a game and the Linc’s capacity is 68.5k) for Saturday’s noon kickoff. Addazio’s Owls were fortunate enough to win their 1st 2 BIG EAST games against USF (37-28) and UCONN (17-14 in ot)) but the road has proven to be a little bumpier sincethen as they have dropped their last 3 contests in not so impressive fashion to Rutgers 35-10, PITT 47-17and just last week at Louisville 45-17.

What did the Owls do in the first 2 games that they haven’t done in their last 3? They didn’t turn it over!

Temple had 2 (both against UCONN) turnovers in their 2 wins and have 9 turnovers in their 3 losses including 4 last week at Louisville where their QB mistook the pigskin for a greased pig. You can’t turn it over and expect to win….against anybody.

The Temple offense is in a bit of a quandary this week. The Owls operate a rush first (339 attempts to only 162 passing attempts) offensive scheme, however, of Temple’s 14 turnovers only 3 have come by interception. Putting it on the ground 11 times via the rush is a problem situation for Addazio and his Owls and let’s just hope they don’t learn how to “chin it” until we are out of town. Although Jr. QB Chris Coyer is the Owls 2nd leading rusher he is hands down Numero Uno on the team in turnovers. Addazio was forced to send Coyer to the showers prematurely after his 3rd fumble in just the 3rd quarter against Louisville put the game out of reach. Temple turned to Jr. QB’s Clinton “Juice” Granger and Kevin Newsome, but the damage had already been done and they were not able to dent the scoreboard. I fully expect to see Coyer back at the helm of Temple’s run first offense Saturday, but who knows, maybe Coach Addazio may have opened up his own QB competition this week in Philly. Then again, we may see the “Quarterback by Committee” approach by Addazio as it seems to be quite the rage!

Sr. RB Montel Harris is the leading rusher for the Owls. The 5’10” 207 lb tailback is averaging 4.8 yds on 121 attempts and has scored 5 TD’s on the year, all via the ground. Sr. RB Matt Brown, all 5’5” and 165 lbs of him, is Temple’s 2nd leading rushing RB (5’5” and 165 lbs?!?!? Hell, Brown would be feeding Ralph David the ball in the post if they were cagers!). Little “Matty Dice” has accounted for 3 TD’s on the year for the Owls, 2 on the ground and 1 via the air.

I tell ya man, if you are a Temple receiver you’ve got to be feeling like Gilligan out on the Island! Either that or you better get off on or be damn good at down field blocking! Temple’s “leading” receiver is So. WR Jalen Fitzpatrick. Jay-Jay Fitz has eked out 291 yards on 22 grabs and has a couple of TD’s for his efforts. Jr. TE Cody Booth is the 2nd leading receiver with 13 catches for 114 yards and 3 TD’s. 3rd string RB Kenny Harper is 3rd on the team in catches with 10….

Bottom line is this….The Temple Offense has compiled a mere 19 TD’s on the year (compared to UC’s 33 in the same amount of games), so their Defense better be pretty stout.

Temple employs a 4-3 defensive scheme and is giving up 29.875 points per game. Their leading tackler is FRESHMAN Tyler Matakevich, a 6’1” 220 lb Will LB who has recorded 66 on the year. RS Fr. Mike LB Nate Smith is 2nd on the squad with 60 stops and 3.5 sacks. Temple DC Chuck Heater claims that the secondary is the strength of the defensive unit and it is led by Sr. safeties Justin Gidea and Vaughn Carraway and the 2 just happen to be 3rd and 4th on the squad with tackles so they better be able to carry some water. Temple’s “D” has recorded 20 sacks, 4 interceptions and has recovered 9 fumbles during the 2012 campaign….I don’t think that I would use the word “stout” to describe this unit.

THE LINE

Our friends in Vegas had made the visiting Bearcats 11 point favorites over the home Owls at the beginning of the week with the Over/Under set at 53.5. However, for the 2nd week in a row there has been some reverse line movement on the side. The Cats are now favored by a mere 9.5 points and the O/U has held at 53.5. Soo, for this week’s edition of Bix’s Picks let’s use Cincy -9.5 and 53.5 as the official numbers of record.

THE PREDICTION and THE PLAY

Butch Jones and his Bearcats will embrace Steve Addazio and his Temple Owls at midfield prior to game time and welcome them to the BIG EAST…..and that will conclude the pleasantries until the clock hits 0:00. Brother Butch and the boys have had their share of adversity thrown their way this season and I believe a beacon of light began to shine brightly for him and his young Cats through the clouds, sleet and steady rain last Saturday afternoon against the Cuse.

The Bearcats were able to win in spite of mounting injuries and at times in spite of themselves to post a victory against a Syracuse team that has proven that it can be very dangerous. The Cats went to half last week down 17-14 but came out in the 2nd half with a renewed vigor and an attitude. The result? UC’s depleted “D” held The Orange to 7 points and George Winn and company went to work for the Cats to put up 21. As we all know by now, Butch Jones teams don’t quit and why they may not have the best athletes on the field they have an uncanny ability to persevere and get the “W”.

Now, you are telling me (with all that going for us!) that Temple has a chance in hell of staying within 9.5 points of this Bearcat squad that must have testicles the size of the Liberty Bell? The Cats are 3-1 thiseason when pitted against opponents of the avian persuasion. The Cats will make it 4-1 Saturday afternoon.

If I am Steve Addazio I have NO idea how to prepare a game plan in attempt to derail this Cincinnati team when it has the ball. Hell, there were 4 Cats that completed passes against the Orange last week!

George Winn is a one man wrecking crew and Travis Kelce is emerging into a force. Addazio also has to be wondering just how in the hell are the Owls going to score? A 3rd grade CYO team is far more proficient passing the ball! All UC has to do is stop the run and that has been something that they have had success doing this year. It will be just a tad easier when you know damn good and well that your opponent is likely not going to stretch the field on you.

9.5 points?!?! Sweet Mother of Mary!!! The Cats win this game by 3 TD’s and will score points Saturday afternoon at the Linc any way they choose to….The Cats have too much to play for and Temple is just happy to be there and is running out the string in their first season in the league.
Our Cats will once again come out nasty at noon and give the Owls a glimpse at what a Big East Championship caliber team is supposed to look like! Thank your man and gladly lay the 9.5 because the Cats are going to roll in Philly! Always remember my friends “Gamblin money’s got no home!” and GO BEARCATS!!!!!!

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