College Football Spotlight: Bernard Pierce, Temple the Next Mid-Major Surprise?

Dan ScofieldAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2011

Is Temple the real deal or another one year wonder?
Is Temple the real deal or another one year wonder?Rob Carr/Getty Images

As a college sports fan, your more than familiar with underdogs making a name for themselves. 

A mid-major program on the rise with little to no history, no hype, and little national attention. That is, until they start winning important football games while given a chance under the national spotlight.

The Temple Owls have done just that to begin their 2011 season. Forget that 14-10 heart-breaking loss to big brother Penn State--the Owls have proven they are no longer small-time.

After a 37-8 dismantling of ACC product Maryland this past weekend, there isn't much else that stands in the way of Temple and Steve Addazio's program running the table. Playing in a Mid-American conference that offers good football—but not great competition—there isn't much left for Temple to

Unless, that is, they are able to run the table and really make a name for themselves. How do you think Boise State reached the highest peak a mid-major program can climb? The same could be said
about the prospering program down at Texas Christian Gary Patterson.

That's not to say that Addazio has his program on the track of either Chris Peterson's or Patterson's. He has a long, long way to go. Even if the winning continues, Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw will need to begin scheduling some more grueling out-of-conference contests.


But what he has done is righted his team on a path to success and dominance at the mid-major level. You have to start somewhere, right?

The Owls boast one of the most exciting backfields in all of college football. Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown are a threat to take it for six every time they touch the football.

Pierce rushed for five touchdowns (a school record) and 149 yards against a talented Terrapins team. His last weekend performance leaves him just shy of 500 yards to go along with 12 touchdowns on the ground through just three games.

Brown, on the other hand, is the perfect compliment to the skill-set of the Owl superstar. The mini-sized speedster is the lightning to Pierce's thunder.

To go along with their monster rushing attack, the Owl defense has given up just four touchdowns through three games. If the defensive line continues to be a strength, every opponent must fear Temple.

Now at Miami, former head coach Al Golden brought in an influx of talent during his time in Philadelphia, leaving behind plenty of fortunes for Addazio. This football program has all of the things needed to reach the next level: great facilities, a huge student population, an appealing campus, financial support, and to top it all off—plenty of talent.

Addazio, who won two national championships with Florida under Urban Meyer, has as much
momentum as ever for this program.

Now is the time to start using it.

With conference realignments looking more likely each hour of the day, this is the perfect time for Temple to make their move.

Although it isn't quite yet relevant to discuss the future of this program, Temple had an outside chance at being a top-15 team by season's end if the outcome vs. Penn State had gone in their favor. Instead, the Owls are playing for a chance to play in a high-tier bowl game to show the
nation their legitimacy. 

Win out, and college football may have their new Cinderella in the making.