After Temple's 35-17 loss to Ohio in what was the MAC East Championship game Friday, I've reached one inescapable conclusion: Al Golden is going nowhere.
Or make that Owl Golden.
Let's get this out of the way first: Owl Golden did a fantastic job as head coach at Temple in 2009, the best job since Bruce Arians went 6-5 against the No. 10-ranked schedule in the country back in 1986.
Let's have a little perspective, though. Arians did it against the 10th-best schedule. Golden did it against the 112th best schedule (out of 119). Nothing Owl Golden has said has convinced me he won't be around for the 2010 season.
It's what he's done.
Or not done, in this case.
All season long, I've gotten multiple reports from reliable sources both inside and outside the program that true freshman Chris Coyer was—by far—the best quarterback on the team. Not Joe Schmoes—good, reliable football people both inside and out of the program.
He was making the most plays in practice every day. He was turning the most heads. Yet he wasn't on the field.
Think about it. I've said for 12 months between the end of last season and now, the only thing that separated Temple from a contender and a champion was the lack of a playmaking quarterback. I urged the Owls to go get one. That the Owls have won nine games without a playmaking quarterback is a tribute to Owl Golden and Matt Rhule.
They got this far on two "game managers" in Vaughn Charlton and Chester Stewart. Neither one of them can be described as a playmaker, someone who can win the game on his own, a la Adam DiMichele vs. Eastern Michigan last season. Ohio beat Temple because Theo Scott was a playmaking quarterback and, at best, Stewart is a game manager.
If Owl Golden cared about himself more than he cared about the program, he would have burned the Coyer redshirt at about the time Stewart succeeded Charlton as the Owls' starting quarterback.
What would he have cared if Temple only had three Coyer years left? He sent a very loud message that he cared very much by protecting the redshirt.
We've all seen the chasm between Stewart and Charlton since. It is large, and it is stark. That's about the difference between Coyer and Stewart.
You don't need me to tell you about it. Coyer will win the starting quarterback's job in a three-way battle in spring ball. Remember, if it happens, you read it here first.
In between now and then, Temple will make it to a bowl game. It's a lock not because of what I write here, but because of the NCAA rule that states you cannot take an eight-win team ahead of a nine-win team for an at-large bowl berth. There won't be enough teams left with nine wins, and that's why the Owls will go bowling.
That's why the Owls will report to practice on Monday knowing they have another game left to play, practicing not only for it but for next year as well.
They will complement perhaps the best running back in the nation next year, Bernard Pierce, with a playmaking quarterback in Chris Coyer.
With a solid defense in place back, that's an impossible formula to beat.
That's why Owl Golden will report to work the offseason on North Broad Street, knowing that the Owls will be better equipped to shock the world next year, not this one.
Then he can have his choice of moves, should he chose to go anywhere.