USF was picked to finish second, Temple eighth. Owls' coach Steve Addazio indicated he might even be playing a lot more freshmen than are listed on the depth chart.
"When that happens, sometimes in practice you're seeing some really great things going on and you're like, 'Wow,' " he said. "Other times, you dip a little bit. That's where we're at. We're working overtime right now to mature our team up at a faster rate.
"You hope those positive things show up at game time. But we've got to go do that. I think these young guys are going to play a lot of good football here. It's like an annuity. What you put into it, there'll be a return. But will there be a return on Saturday? There's no guarantee. You might see some good things. But the flip side is, there's also going to be mistakes."
The Owls have only scored three points in each of their last two first halves.
Penn: Last nonleague game
The Quakers (1-2, 1-0) won their Ivy opener last week at Dartmouth. In 2 weeks they'll be back in the league, at home against Columbia. But first they host William & Mary (1-4, 1-2), their second CAA opponent in 3 weeks. One would probably be more than sufficient, given the fact they also opened against another scholarship program in Lafayette. But they can only play what they've been handed.
"It was good to get back into the Ivy League," said coach Al Bagnoli. "Now we jump right back into the CAA, against a very athletic, physical team. We'll definitely have our hands full. We'll see if we can hold up.
"Usually you have one really tough game, one toss up and one not-so-hard game, where you can make the transition into league play. We don't have that luxury. We're missing that no-so-hard game. It puts a lot of pressure on you, to develop young kids. And injuries are always a concern. But these are things you have to deal with. It just doesn't give you a chance to catch your breath."
Contact Mike Kern at firstname.lastname@example.org