Survey Says: Boca Raton


About a month ago, season ticket-holders, myself included, received an email from Temple athletics.

The main question asked the fans where they would like to go for the Owls upcoming bowl game. Listed were D.C., NYC, Florida and other locations.

Nowhere in there was a question regarding possible opponents.

That was my first question. As early as the day after the Notre Dame game, the main goal was to be in the NY6 game. Failing that, I thought the best reward for the Owls was to find a Power 5 opponent in a bowl game and go beat them.


One  post on a Toledo board speculated 20,000 Temple fans will attend. We can only hope. My guess is anywhere between 3,000-10,000.

That’s not going to happen and the reason is the survey, which hopefully will be better-worded next year. The overwhelming number of people picked Florida (duh?) for its nice weather and beaches.  There was no checkmark asking if Florida would be the pick if the Owls had to play a MAC team.

As the editor of Pravda likes to say, it is what it is.

The mindset changes from going out with a signature win to “better not lose” and that’s a tough mindset to take against a quality opponent.  Even though the hardcore college football fan knows Toledo is good and beat Arkansas and Iowa State, the facts are the Temple brand is better advanced by beating a 6-6 Auburn than a 9-2 Toledo. One of the reasons the Owls did not go to the Birmingham Bowl, with a payout of $1.2 million, is the money is evenly distributed among all AAC bowl teams. It didn’t matter that the Boca Raton Bowl payout was only $400,000. AAC has very interesting rules regarding bowl payouts. All bowl money is evenly distributed among all 8 league bowl participants, meaning Temple gets EXACTLY the same share of Houston’s $6.9 million Peach Bowl payout as Houston does. Independence Bowl gets a $1.2 million payout, and the AAC rep will be the 6-6 Tulsa.  Bernie Sanders would be proud of the way the AAC redistributes wealth.

So the Temple administration didn’t need to follow the money, just where it thought the most Owl fans will go. The Owls had a choice of Shreveport, Birmingham and Boca and went with Boca.

To those unable to attend, it’s all in the perception and the masses who watch these bowl games are not hardcore college football fans. They watch usually because it is the only thing on ESPN in the bar or at home on a Tuesday night. If they see Temple lose to Toledo, the Temple brand, built on wins over PSU and Memphis and a close to Notre Dame, takes a huge hit. On the other  hand, if the Owls were to lose to 6-6 Auburn, the casual fan would say, “Hey, wow, Temple is playing Auburn on TV. That’s great.”

The Owls have to take care of business because a win is really the only way these terrific seniors deserve to go out and because 11 wins will be a school record, but that’s a good team on the other side of the ball that will also have at least half a say in the outcome.

To them, beating a team that—at least in their minds—said it was too good for the MAC is a powerful incentive. Just like beating Auburn would have been for Temple. So it will be interesting to see how the Owls react. Hopefully, they will play like they did against Penn State and Memphis and the mindset will be academic.

At least that’s the theory.


15 thoughts on “Survey Says: Boca Raton

  1. Spot on Mike with the Auburn argument. Completely agree there. I also agree with your turnout prediction. 10k even seems a bit optimistic.

    If it’s any indication my tickets are 2nd level. No idea if I didn’t donate enough (listed as a determining factor in seating) or if tickets sold that well. We’ll see soon enough.

  2. I don’t think it was only where Owls fans would go and/or the lack of financial incentive (well at least not this year alone). The problem with sending the Owls to Birmingham is that even if Temple had their best bowl turnout ever they would still likely have less fans than Memphis will send. This is simply because Memphis is 3.5 hour drive to Birmingham where Owls fans would have to likely have to make travel and lodging arrangements during one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year to travel. For the Bowl sponsors, mainly the hospitality industry, they are interested in getting people to come to Birmingham. Well, why should the AAC or Temple care about keeping the Birmingham hospitality industry happy? If the AAC doesn’t play ball by sending teams from within the geographic footprint then the Bowl will simply not renew the deal with the AAC. For the city of Birmingham and by extension the sponsors, they could just as easily come to an agreement with Conference USA or the Sun Belt who have many more teams with crossover appeal. They only care about football in regards to how it can bring money to their city.

    The far more annoying part of the AAC’s bowl arrangement is the Military Bowl. First, that Navy gets automatic preference for this bowl if they are eligible. Second, it is the only bowl in the region for AAC teams. Third, that Navy automatically gets a bowl against a more prestigious team.

    In the end, the Owls have no one to blame but themselves. Had the Owls taken care of business against USF they would have had the AAC championship in Philly. I honestly think this team plays much better at home with the crowd behind them and they would have beat Houston. If that had happen the Owls would be playing in Atlanta not fighting over the scraps of the bowl system. Mike you invoked Bernie Sanders economic beliefs when discussing the AAC distribution system. I would argue that the bowl system perfectly reflects our current economic system of crony capitalism. The free market doesn’t really get to decide what the best option is. Instead those with economic power are able to buy political clout (the P5s), other sometimes luck out because of circumstance (Memphis), and others are held up to make us believe that the system works (Houston). In reality, the system simply reinforces those already in power. Had Temple decided against all odds to invest in the program back before they were kicked out of the Big East the way they are today then the Owls would probably be in ACC today and would be the 6-6 team that Memphis was hoping to knockoff. Would you be saying we didn’t deserve to be there because a 9-3 G5 school had to play in Boca. The whole thing is ridiculous and to act like there is any sense to it is an act of futility.

    • simply saying that I have been told by very good sources that the AAC gave Temple 3 choices–birmingham, shreveport and boca–after the Houston game and Temple, not the aac, picked boca based on data that included (but was not limited) to the survey.

  3. You build a sports brand based on success over time.This season the team accomplished quite a few firsts. Great exposure against ND, game day in PHILLY, beat Penn State, out in the open and realistic stadium talk, etc. What the program needs is ongoing success , year in and year out which leads to alumni engagement /support and increased attendance which leads to financial rewards. It’s no secret that Temple has received over 30k applications for 4,900 slots for 2016 enrollment. The success and publicity surrounding the team did that. As for Boca, I’d rather go there as a player rather than Birmingham or Shreveport. They deserve some fun after the year they had and they didn’t leave any money on the table doing it. I think Temple will win and end the year ranked at 11-3.

    • interesting comments from another lens.., we alums have a tendency to opine from a sorted first-hand history. Temple would raise more money and increase alumni loyalty by being transparent and upfront about the strategic direction of the Athletic Dept.

      What is the plan?

      We need all the stakeholders to include alumni, athletic dept employees, BOT, fans, school administrators, student athletes, student body, etc., singing from the same hymn book

  4. Unfortunately, TU doesn’t have a billion dollar benefactor and it’s two best known money guys (Katz and Cosby) are gone. What TU does have is TV ratings. That’s why I cannot fathom why TU hasn’t set up camp in the Comcast building. Comcast needs content and exposure. A TU-Comcast stadium would benefit both entities. As far as the bowl game goes, I’ve been saying what Mike writes here for weeks. This game does Temple very little good even if they win and a lot of damage if they lose. The casual fan doesn’t care if TU beats Toledo but would care to some degree simply if TU PLAYS a top tier school. While Houston is a logical choice for the Big 12, I’ve heard that they would like a school closer to West Virginia, which puts Cincy and Memphis in the mix. An article like the one above about Houston is a warning shot fired over TU’s bow and it should be advocating 24-7 for a spot in a major conference before its too late.

    • agree John, i heard Temple approached Comcast about naming rights if the stadium ever gets built.., a lot of risk with this game.., Temple’s season would be seen as half-full with a loss.., good news is a Top 25 finish comes with a win…, Toledo is a very, very good team and I think was a victim of having a coach looking out for his future instead of pouring everything into the last few games…, our defense will play well, our offense has to score enough to win…, big question for TU, “Is being in the AAC a destination, or part of the journey?”

      what is the plan? does anyone know? do tell

      • That’s been the problem for TU for decades. No one was looking ahead. That and ambivalence. For years the administration loved the idea of a D-1 program while ignoring the financial reality of what it took to have one. The last seven or eight years have shown that the program can succeed with financial support and had the administration realized this when TU got into the Big East TU would not be in danger of being marginalized by the next conference reshuffling.

      • Plenty of rumors at the last Cherry and White game that the ACC is interested and want to see us show a commitment by building a stadium. Kicking the stadium can down the road for the past 2 years in my mind has killed the idea and killed ACC interest. They’ve been thinking about this for 2 years.

      • KJ, unfortunately I am getting the feeling that more and more the AAC is a destination. I just don’t see the on campus stadium happening anytime soon and has been stated before there isn’t that one or a few really big time donors. My Owl Club ranking tells me that, I donate several hundred $ per year, the next level above the basic contribution and I think I’m ranked in the upper half of club members. Still playing catch up for 1989 through 2005. The only way I see Temple moving up to the P5 is if during the next and what may be the final round of conference realignment the ACC gets hit hard. The P5 really doesn’t want to share their money anymore than necessary.

    • It’s never a good thing to intentionally schedule a game where you have more to lose by losing than to gain by winning. Just what does Temple gain from winning this game? Keep a top 25 spot? It already had that. Lose, and all of our former MAC foes will be making hay out of this for years. Lose to Auburn, no big deal. At best, Temple stays sideways with a win against Toledo. The image of the school goes up significantly with a win over Auburn. (And, to clarify, I think Toledo is a better football team than Auburn because I’m a die-hard CFB fan; 90 percent of the audience is not and go by reputation.) Water under the bridge now. We BETTER win.

      • spoke to a few members of the BOT and think their strategy is flawed..,

        they are underestimating the power of politics and have not created a forum for periodic meetings with The City Council and North Philly to hear and address the concerns..,

        the incoming mayor has a political agenda and needs City Council support, he is not going to fight on behalf of Temple at the expense of alienating the City Council

        first step would be to market the stadium to North Philly and explain how the community would benefit.., yes, admit the downside to include game day traffic, etc but sell the upside with the message that the benefits far exceed the perceived costs

        a lot of donors are sitting on the fence waiting for a sign Temple will be able to navigate the political waters…, stadium TV promos on Comcast, why not? Temple could get discount TV time with package for naming rights…, out of the box thinking and visionary leadership is required…, we are running out of time, the next re-alignment will happen soon and we can’t afford to watch Cincy, Memphis, Houston,and UCONN leave us in the AAC with the Group of 5 minus

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