• Paul Compton

Tax Dollars for Recruitment Bowl

Tax Dollars for Recruitment Bowl: Temple vs Wake Forest Intrigue #1: It's appropriate that the Military Bowl features a team victimized by espionage this season. I guess Wake Forest's offense stands a chance to play better than their 112th best offensive ranking if the other team doesn't know what they're going to do. Intrigue #2: Temple head coach Matt Rhule left to take the same position at Baylor. To go from a "Temple" to the tarnished Baylor seems like nothing less than selling your soul for one more rung on the coaching ladder. As to whether that rung is actually an ascending one remains to be seen. Intrigue #3: State secrets being revealed notwithstanding, Wake Forest's offense figures to have a really hard go of it in this game. They are the Chechens, Allepans, Afghans et al. of offense versus the Russian forces of Temple's defense that will constantly have them on their heels. Temple had a few games early/mid season where they struggled against the pass, but they finished up with 5 straight games with a positive pass defense score, averaging an excellent +65 in those games. Temple's run defense finished up the season with 7 straight games with a positive run defense score. Temple gave up an average of 6.6 point in their last 5 games to teams with better offenses than Wake Forest has (with the probable exception of Connecticut after their head-scratching quarterback switch that left them with almost no passing offense). Intrigue #4: The emergence of "Don't call me P.J." Walker. Temple's offense in recent years relied almost exclusively on their running game. QB Walker has improved immensely this year (28th best), to the point where they've surpassed their running offense (62nd best). Temple is still a run-dominant team (60-40 run-pass split), but their best matchup in this game will be with the pass, as Wake is better against the run (45th) than they are at the pass (60th). Wake's defense is good, but not an elite squad by any means. One thing in Wake's favor is that their pass defense did have their 4 best pass defense scores in their final 4 games -- that's a pretty strong trend. Two of those games were against Louisville and Clemson, too. Unfortunately for Wake, though, their run defense was terrible against those same two teams. Wake's defense has some fair correlation between their defensive scores and the opponent's offensive ranks, which means Temple rates to find some offensive success in this game. The final security briefing that our soon to be President wouldn't read: Temple's 4 units all played very well in the second half of the season. For Wake Forest that can only be said of their pass defense. As such, it won't necessarily take a lot of scores for Temple to cover as the double digit favorite here. I'm of a mind that the outcomes of double digit point spreads are largely determined by the matchup of the favorite's defense versus the underdog's offense. Temple rates to get the cover here, by my numbers. Wake Forest hasn't bowled in 5 years, or won a bowl in 8 years. Motivation for them shouldn't be a problem. Temple did bowl last year (a predicted loss to Toledo), but this is still only their 6th bowl they've ever played in. I hope for a solid effort from them as well. Final Score Projection: Wake Forest 13 -- Temple 28