Tonight, we'll find out just how mature and just how committed to succeed West Virginia University's football team really is.
If the Mountaineers want to attain the success they've worked so hard for since last winter, they must beat Temple in a strange set of circumstances.
Yes, the Mountaineers are likely beat up and bruised following last Saturday's loss to Miami. Yes, they're playing a much-improved Temple team that could easily be 4-0. Yes, they're playing on a Thursday night at a field (ancient Franklin Field) most of the veteran players have never seen before.
But it's up to these veteran players to keep WVU's eyes fixed on the goal at hand. That goal should be to have the same focus and intensity tonight they had for Boston College and Maryland.
Listening to the rhetoric being bandied about the Puskar Building earlier this week, the right things were being said.
"Temple is much improved" and "We're taking it one game at a time" could be heard from several players. That's good. But saying the right things before a game doesn't always mean playing the right way will occur during it.
Still, I've liked the attitude of this group ever since spring drills started. It would be shocking if the Mountaineers don't put forth a solid effort tonight.
West Virginia is 13-1 against Temple during the Don Nehlen era, with the only loss coming in 1984 at Veterans Stadium, 19-17. The Mountaineers have not played at Franklin Field since Oct. 9, 1976, when they beat Temple 42-0. West Virginia leads the all-time series with the Owls, 20-11, but Temple shows an 8-7 edge in all games in Philadelphia.
While it's still early in the season, it appears the Big East is on its way to having one of its better seasons since it was formed in the early 1990s.
The league shows a .789 winning percentage (15-4) against all non-conference opponents and a .764 winning percentage (13-4) against all Division-I non-league foes.
The former is the nation's best percentage while the latter is the country's second best. Only the PAC-10 shows a better percentage (.778).
The league is 7-0 against the Mid-American Conference.
Who's at the bottom of the list?
Surprise, the Big Ten, which is just 21-13 in non-conference play. That includes three losses to Mid-American Conference schools.
Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com.