Temple-Buffalo: Kanye Edition

Temple-Buffalo: Kanye Edition

Doesn't it feel good to be discussing Temple football and actually focusing on football?

Saturday afternoon is homecoming for the university, with the Owls (4-2, 2-1) set to play host to the Buffalo Bulls (2-4, 1-1). The game will be broadcast live on the All-MACcess web stream as well as on OwlSports.com. As always, it can be heard on the radio on 1210 AM.

Fortunately, there won't be any tirades in today's gamer about attendance or conference realignment or anything else (though we will take this opportunity to remind you that you can purchase tickets to any two remaining Temple home games for just $24!), we'll just talk some football and go over some gambling lines and...

Alright, alright, I've got a Big East update at the bottom (and it isn't great news for Temple).

Oh, and I'll also show you one of the strangest grammatically correct sentences in the English language. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with Buffalo.

Story
Temple is coming off what should have been a confidence-boosting 42-0 shutout of the Ball State Cardinals last week. The team just needs to to make sure that the boost in confidence isn't accompanied by a spike in hubris. Though they've been excellent front-runners in 2011, the Owls have yet to show they can win a tight football game.

"We've seen what can happen, not being on our A-game," said Addazio earlier this week. "We've seen that. We still haven't proved that we can come from behind yet."

As such, the Owls will benefit from a certain sense of humility against all their MAC opponents. After all, a 42-0 win doesn't mean much if you can't follow it up with another impressive showing. It's a lesson the team learned after the Maryland game, and hopefully one it will remember against Buffalo. They might be getting better, but they aren't good enough to start overlooking anyone yet.

Lines
After some odds talk in the comments a week or two back, I mentioned that I'd have to do a better job in the future remembering to post the lines each week. Well, here we are.

The Owls are favored favored by 3 touchdowns and 3 more extra points against the Bulls at -21. O/U is set at 47. Do both of these seem heavily influenced by the Ball State result last week? Proceed as you will.

The Buffalo Sentence
Alright, now I kid you not, the following, despite its lack of punctuation, is actually a grammatically correct sentence in the English language:

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

The sentence makes use of all three forms of the word "buffalo"—the city, the animal and the verb.

It's about buffalo from Buffalo, who are buffaloed by some other Buffalo buffaloes, buffaloing some other buffalo. Read more on the buffaloing Buffalo buffaloes here.

Other Football-Related Notes
--After his fourth three-touchdown performance of the year last week, Bernard Pierce has officially passed Paul Palmer to become the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns scored by a Temple Owl. He currently leads the nation in TDs with 15.

--Third-string running Myron Myles is no longer a member of the football team, following a "verbal altercation" with a member of the coaching staff. From head coach Steve Addazio:

"He decided to pursue options elsewhere and we wish him all the best."

--Center John Palumbo, who missed last week's game against Ball State, is expected to return against to action this week against the Bulls.

--We'll update if we hear anything pursuant to the on-going Temple/Villanova/Big East situation, though we can tell you that things have apparently taken a turn for the worse from the Temple perspective over the last 24 hours. Multiple outlets are reporting that the Big East is moving ahead without the Owls in any capacity, thanks in large part to Villanova's opposition. The Inquirer's Mike Jensen, who's just been killing it with updates all week, has another great read on the increasingly strained relationship between the two universities, which you can find by clicking here. Though the news is far from good, we'll note that considering Boise State and Navy's hesitation in joining the conference, it isn't totally over for Temple just yet—one way or the other. Let's just conclude that things are looking markedly worse than, say, Thursday.

See you post-game.

Ben Simmons spending his summer getting bigger and better

Ben Simmons spending his summer getting bigger and better

Ben Simmons repeatedly emphasized at summer league he wanted to work on “everything” leading up to training camp.

As a point-forward who plays multiple positions, he has more than just one role to address this offseason. But what does “everything” entail? With a wide range of responsibilities on the court, Simmons is honing in on specific areas.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

Shooting
Simmons has been criticized for his reluctance to shoot. During his one season of college ball at LSU, he averaged 19.2 points off 11.7 field goal attempts per game (56 percent made). Over six summer league games (including both Utah and Las Vegas), Simmons took 22 field-goal attempts and shot 32.2 percent. He had less than 10 attempts in four of the games, and attempted 15 in the Sixers’ finale. Simmons attempted one three in summer league action.

While in Utah and Las Vegas, the Sixers encouraged Simmons to be more aggressive. At 6-foot-10, Simmons is able to get to the rim. Once there, many times he passes it off rather than finishing himself. The Sixers don’t expect Simmons to become a 30-point-per-game scorer, but he will be a key part of their offense.

“You always want him to be as good of a shooter as he can be,” Las Vegas summer league head coach Lloyd Pierce said this earlier month. “It’s not going to be his strength. His strength is going to be passing, facilitating, playmaking. That’s going to be an added bonus, whatever the percentage or the number is.”

Dribbling
Simmons averaged 5.5 assists per game during summer league (second on the team by 0.3 dimes to T.J McConnell). Conversely, he committed 3.83 turnovers.

The Sixers signed two point guards this summer, Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez, and McConnell is returning from last season. Head coach Brett Brown said after the draft he does not plan to utilize Simmons as the primary one-guard right away as the 20-year-old learns the league. But early on, Simmons will have the rock in his hands plenty of times given his natural ball-handling abilities, especially when grabbing the rebound and running the fast break.

"I think it's the hardest position to play in the NBA,” Brown previously said. “I think to just give him the ball in that capacity is borderline cruel. He needs to feel NBA basketball. And maybe he evolves there." (See story)

Weight room
After college, Simmons put on 20 pounds from his training and entered the draft at 242 pounds. He stood out among the competition in summer league play with his NBA-ready stature. Simmons said he would like to get up to 246 or 247 pounds this offseason.

“Not too heavy,” he said.

With the size of a forward and the skills of a guard, the Sixers will be able to utilize Simmons to create mismatches both in the backcourt and at the hoop.

Tonight's Lineup: Struggling Rupp back behind the plate for Phillies

Tonight's Lineup: Struggling Rupp back behind the plate for Phillies

After scoring five first-inning runs on their way to a 7-5 win against the Braves on Thursday, Pete Mackanin decided not to tinker with the Phillies' lineup too much.

In fact, the only change will be at catcher. The struggling Cameron Rupp will get the start on Friday and bat sixth after Carlos Ruiz was behind the plate on Thursday. Rupp, who was one of the few bright spots for the offense in the first half, is just 5 for 31 since the All-Star break. On the season, Rupp is still batting .271 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs.

Aaron Altherr came off the DL with a bang, tallying three hits, including a two-run homer on Thursday. Mackanin has said Altherr will get a long look in right field and Thursday night was a glimpse of why. 

With Altherr's regular presence in the lineup, Cody Asche has been put on notice. After going on a tear from early June to early July, Asche is batting .094 (5 for 53) in his last 17 games. With Altherr and Odubel Herrera entrenched in right and center, Asche will have to get hot to stave off prospect Nick Williams, who seems to be finding his groove at Lehigh Valley.

Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P

Temple football announces future series with Boston College and Duke

ap-mattrhule-temple-sideline.jpg
Associated Press

Temple football announces future series with Boston College and Duke

Temple football starts its training camp next week, but the Owls have made another splash in the future scheduling department. This time, the opponents come from the ACC.

The program announced Friday it has agreed to future series with Boston College (2018 at BC and 2021 in Philadelphia) and Duke (2022 in Cameron, North Carolina and 2023 in Philadelphia). Temple also announced a game with Bucknell in Philadelphia in 2019 announced dates for previously confirmed future matchups with Maryland and Rutgers and 2017's season opener at Notre Dame.

The Boston College series is intriguing because it will be the renewal of an annual series from when the programs used to meet every year in Big East conference play. The Eagles hold a 28-7-2 all-time advantage over the Owls. Temple's last win against Boston College came in 1999 when the Owls earned a 24-14 victory. Of course, the matchup will be even juicier if former Temple head coach Steve Addazio is still leading Boston College in two years. But with the way the program floundered to a 3-9 record, earned just one win against an FCS program and went winless in ACC play last season and doesn't have a bright outlook this season, don't hold your breath that Addazio will be there.

The Owls have never met the Dukies on the gridiron.

Temple's non-conference slate this season includes home dates against Army (Sept. 2), Stony Brook (Sept. 10) and Charlotte (Sept. 24) and a visit to in-state rival Penn State (Sept. 17).

Friday's announcements come on the heels of an announcement earlier this month that confirmed Temple will play a three-game set with national powerhouse Oklahoma. That series is set to start in 2024.

Below is a list of dates for Temple's future games against non-conference opponents:
2017 – at Notre Dame - Sept. 2, vs. Villanova - Sept. 9, vs. UMass  - Sept. 16, at Army - Oct. 21
2018 – vs. Villanova -  Sept. 1, vs. Buffalo - Sept. 8, at Maryland - Sept. 15, at Boston College - Sept. 29
2019 – vs. Bucknell - Aug. 31, vs. Maryland - Sept. 14, at Buffalo - Sept. 21), vs. Army - Oct. 26
2020 – vs. Idaho - Sept. 12, vs. Rutgers - Sept. 19
2021 – at Rutgers - Sept. 4, vs. Boston College - Sept. 18
2022 – at Duke - Sept. 3, vs. Rutgers - Sept. 17
2023 – at Rutgers - Sept. 9, vs. Duke - Sept. 16
2024 - at Oklahoma - Aug. 31
2025 - vs. Oklahoma - Sept. 13
2028 - at Oklahoma - Sept. 2