Temple Is Actually Almost Ranked in the Top 25 Poll

The Owls are at the top of the "Also Receiving Votes" column in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Win this week and they could move in.

Two weeks ago, Temple pulled off one of its biggest wins in decades when it beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Joe Paterno was fourteen.

The Owls followed that up with its first win over Cincinnati since 1985. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Jerry Sandusky still had another 14 years left as Penn State’s defensive coordinator.

Temple’s wins over Penn State (at the Linc) and Cincinnati (on the road) were led by two players: running back Jahad Thomas on offense (328 yards rushing in two games) and linebacker Tyler Matakevich on defense (20 total tackles in two games, two picks in Saturday’s win). Temple’s defense sacked Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg 10 times in their season-opening win, then forced five turnovers in the win over Cincinnati. Thomas also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to open the second half against the Bearcats.

All of this has the Owls in a spot they haven’t been in a very, very long time: Very nearly ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Owls are in the top spot in the “Also Receiving Votes” column. They’re No. 26! Temple hasn’t been ranked since it finished 17th in the top-25 after going 10-2 in the 1979 season. (That year, Temple won the Garden State Bowl.)

Here’s the amazing thing: Per Inquirer sportswriter Mike Jensen, Temple will be favored in its next three games. The Owls are double-digit favorites against UMass this week. If you’re 26th in the polls and you keep winning, it’s only a matter of time before you actually move into the rankings. That’s right: The Temple football team will probably be ranked.

After that three-game stretch against weaker opponents, the Owls will face Central Florida and East Carolina. Those will be tougher games, but let’s be clear: There’s an outside chance the Owls could be undefeated going into its Halloween game against Notre Dame at the Linc. That would be the biggest game for the program since the 1935 Sugar Bowl.This is already the best Temple season in a while. The next question is: How much better can it get?