Are You, as a Temple Fan, Obligated to Root for the Buffalo Bulls?

Are You, as a Temple Fan, Obligated to Root for the Buffalo Bulls?

We'll find out this evening.

Though the outcome of tonight's MAC showdown between the Ohio Bobcats and Bowling Green Falcons has zero effect in determining whether Temple will or will not win the MAC East, it will have an impact on the ways in which the team can or cannot reach the MAC Championship game.

Regardless of what's in store for the Bobcats and Falcons, Temple will need Miami (OH) to beat Ohio U next weekend, in order to have any shot at winning the East. What tonight will determine is just how many other games and teams need to go and work in Temple's favor.

Oh, and we should add that a Miami (OH) loss tonight combined with an Ohio win negates any chance the Owls have of winning the East. So, uh, other than that, here's what we're looking at...

Starting with the more "direct" of the two scenarios, an Ohio loss tonight would move the Bobcats to 4-3 in conference. Another loss to the Miami (OH) Redhawks next week, would drop them to 4-4. In the event Temple wins its only remaining MAC game—a Black Friday meeting with Kent State—the Owls would finish 5-3 and either tie Miami (OH) for the division lead or win the East outright. In the event both teams would finish 5-3, Temple would be on its way to the championship game in Detroit as a result of its head-to-head victory over Miami.

The other scenario would see Temple relying on the not-so-reliable Buffalo Bulls. Should Ohio beat Bowling Green this evening, and lose to Miami next week, there would be a three-way tie atop the division between the Owls, Bobcats and Redhawks (Note: this assumes Miami takes of their own business against Western Michigan tonight). In the event all three finish 5-3, the Owls will need Buffalo to finish ahead of Bowling Green in the MAC East Standings.

Why? Because, believe it or not, the Ohio Bobcats lost to Buffalo 38-37 on October 8.

As the MAC tiebreak rules first consider head-to-head records between the tied teams, all three would remain deadlocked at 1-1. The next tiebreak examines the head-to-head records of the tied teams against the rest of their division opponents in rank order.

Since all three teams have beaten or will have beaten Kent State, the tiebreak would move on to the next team on the list. All three teams have also beaten the Akron Zips, so they bear no difference here. The two teams that would decide tiebreak number two are the Buffalo Bulls and the Bowling Green Falcons. Given Temple's loss and Ohio and Miami (OH)'s victories over Bowling Green, the Owls would be eliminated from the tiebreak as soon as they had to compare head-to-head records with the Bobcats and Redhawks against the Falcons. If, on the other hand, Buffalo finishes ahead of Bowling Green, Ohio would be bounced from the tiebreak and Temple would win out via its head-to-head victory over Miami.

As it stands, Buffalo is currently 1-5 in conference while Bowling Green sits at 2-4. They have yet to meet head-to-head and will do so next week. If Bowling Green beats Ohio tonight, than the Owls no longer and have any use for the Bulls. On the other hand, if Ohio beats Bowling Green, Temple will need to rely on both Miami and Buffalo next week. In either case, they will need Miami to beat Ohio. Without that game going Temple's way, this all for naught.

So, it isn't over just yet, Temple fans. But the Owls may have to root for a Buffalo team who—other than their win over the Bobcats—have beaten only the Stony Brook Seawolves (*wow*) in 2011.

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — How much of a horse is Flyers defensive prospect Ivan Provorov?

Well, consider this:

The 19-year-old logged a game-high 28:48 of ice time Monday night during the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad loss to the Devils in which he also quarterbacked the first-unit power play (8:03) and had the most penalty kill time (3:58) (see story).

“I thought I played well,” Provorov said. “It took me a few shifts to get into the game. I competed as hard as I could.”

He said he was used to playing more than 25 minutes in Brandon (WHL), anyway.

“Of course, this is a better league, high pace and it will take a few games to adjust,” Provorov said.

Because the Flyers have yet to work on power play, the results aren’t there. They were 0 for 7 in the game.

“We haven’t done anything on the ice, but have done some video on the PK on the board but nothing on the power play,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s other priorities now with so many players (64) in camp.”

Provorov worked both points on the power play and had just one official shot in the game.

“We didn’t get to do much power play [in camp],” he said. “It will get better as the preseason goes on.”

Rookie forward Travis Konecny worked the low slot on the top power play. He logged 18:34 of ice time, including 6:01 PP time. Konecny had two shots in the game.

He was on Andy Miele’s line with Scott Laughton. Konency had the only shots on his line.

Hakstol said Konecny and Provorov each “settled in” as the game went on. Hakstol isn’t sure if one or both will play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders.

Konecny’s body language in camp exudes confidence unlike a year ago when he was skittish in his first-ever Flyers training camp. Now he sits back, takes it all in and has that look on his face of been there, done that.

In fact, he was trying to calm down some of his buddies, Anthony Salinitri and Connor Bunnaman, who were seeing the lights before the game.

“Me and [Ivan] Provorov were just talking,” he said. “We feel a lot more comfortable this year.

“I’ve been in this position here. I have my guys Salinitri and Bunnaman, we all hang out together and it’s their first year.

“They’re excited for their first preseason game just like I was last year, but I’m not thinking, ‘Wow, it’s an NHL arena.’ I’m thinking about the game and getting ready to play.”

Konecny was impressive last fall as an 18-year-old and Hakstol said he takes everything into account with more emphasis on the now than the past.

“Your body of work includes your season last year,” Hakstol  said. “Includes everything. The most important information is what you do right now. No question in my mind. I take everything into account.”

Take this into account: Alex Lyon is going to be a contender with Anthony Stolarz for the starting job in goal with the Phantoms this season. He was outstanding with 28 saves on 29 shots.

“They spent some time in our zone and had their big guns out there,” Lyon said of being under siege for two-thirds of the game. “They had a few shots but we did a good job keeping them to the outside. No super grade A opportunities.”

Lyon stopped two breakaways by Beau Bennett, one within three minutes of play.

“I felt like a newborn deer and could barely stand up,” quipped the former Yale goalie. “I was so nervous. It felt good to stop the first one.”