For the average college football fan, there's no reason to think the Penn State Nittany Lions will have their hands full on Saturday when they host the Temple Owls in the 40th meeting between the two schools.
After all, Penn State owns a 35-3-1 all-time record against Temple, and the Owls haven't even come close to defeating the Nittany Lions since 1979. The last time Temple defeated Penn State was in 1941—almost 70 years ago.
The oddsmakers see it the same way, and on the betting tickets, the Nittany Lions are favored by a whopping 16.5 points.
However, dating back to last season, the Owls have won 12 of their last 14 games, and under the guidance of head coach Al Golden, a Penn State alumnus, the Owls continue to build and improve.
Penn State may have the advantage of playing at home in front of a packed house of 104,000+ fans, but Temple is no stranger to Beaver Stadium. Last year, the Nittany Lions defeated Temple 31-6 in Happy Valley, but the game was somewhat closer then the final score indicated.
And for what it's worth, Temple steamrolled Kent State 47-13 late last year, which sealed the Owls first bid to a major bowl game in over 30 years. In a tight contest, Penn State defeated Kent State 24-0 last weekend at home.
Without a doubt, Penn State has the better athletes and an overall superior program, but Saturday's matchup may be very tightly contested. With a 3-0 record, the Owls finally have an opportunity to catch the eye of the sportswriters in terms of national ranking possibilities.
Chances for a Temple victory are slim, but there's always the possibility of an upset. The following frames highlight five reasons why the final score will be much closer than the point spread suggests, and reveal evidence as to why the Owls will continue to impress on a national stage.