|Program covers have come a long way since this Sept. 25, 1976 Temple vs. Pitt game.|
Temple plays Pitt a week after a loss to Rutgers its head coach called "an embarrassment."
The difference then was that Pitt at the time was three weeks removed from a No. 4 preseason ranking in the country.
Temple beat Pitt, 13-12, on a field goal by a kicker named Jim Cooper.
Temple will have a kicker named Jim Cooper next year, but more on that later.
The win in 1984 gave Temple a 2-1 record on the way to a winning season under 32-year-old head coach Bruce Arians.
|Story in the Allentown Morning Call the week after Temple beat Pitt.|
"We were embarrassed at Rutgers, didn't play to our ability at all," Arians said. "We oughta be 3-0 and we know it."
The Owls played the No. 10-toughest schedule in the country then and its wins over East Carolina (17-0) and Pitt were sandwiched around a one-point loss to Rutgers.
|Bruce Arians made a habit out of beating nationally-ranked Pitt teams.|
Pitt was coming off an 8-3-1 year and maybe that influenced its inflated preseason ranking in Sports Illustrated. The Temple loss was one of four straight for Pitt (BYU, Oklahoma, Temple, West Virginia) and the Panthers never met their expectations.
At the time, it was the first win for Temple over Pitt in 39 years but Arians made sure it would not be the last.
The next week, Temple was to play Florida State and Arians fully expected to win that game, too.
"Florida State is a great opponent and it is a game we can win," Arians said. "There's no doubt about it. We can take the field anytime, anywhere and we have a chance to win."
|Temple's last win over Pitt came 14 years ago.|
This week, Temple renews its long-standing "rivalry" with Pitt. It's just a one-year deal since Pitt moves to the ACC next year, but when the teams meet on Saturday it will bring back fond memories of Cooper and Arians for a lot of Temple fans. Arians beat Pitt three out of his five years as Temple's head coach.
Later, he became well-known (and sometimes vilified) in that town as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, Arians is mostly fondly remembered in Philadelphia by Temple people as an energetic young coach who did the best he could with the tools he was given.
Beating Pitt in a year it was ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP poll certainly helped foster a positive impression of Arians, who is still helping Temple football today.
Arians figuratively begat then kicker Cooper who literally begat another Cooper by the same name, Jim Cooper, Jr.
Next year, Cooper Jr. will take over the kicking duties for Steve Addazio.
If he beats Pitt, 13-12, like his dad did, it will have to be in a bowl game.
I'm sure dad and son would sign for that now but first both, being long-time Owl fans like the rest of us, just want to win the next one.
Tomorrow: Fast Forward Friday