Long-Term Expectations

The only sad coincidence on Saturday was that the day after one season ended at Temple, a new one begins. Last day of basketball came the day before Temple football players strapped on the pads and, if the next 10 years are as productive for the university in football as the last 10 were in basketball, this will be one happy football camper. I don’t buy the argument that there should be different standards for Temple football than basketball. Both should be competing for and winning league titles.


Temple fans will be putting  on jetpacks if the football team can win a regular-season AAC title this year like the hoopsters did.

Largely, basketball has done that. By the standards set by head coach Fran Dunphy, this is what should happen in football for the next 10 years:

Eight bowl games

Arguably, it’s harder to get into the NCAA Tournament because there are 346 eligible teams for the tournament and only 68 make it. However, I will take being one of the 80 being selected to a bowl despite the fact that there are only 126 bowl-eligible teams. That would be both a realistic and positive result, given the fact that the Owls only made three bowls in the last 37 years.

Two bowl wins

Dunphy gets a lot of criticism for this but, since this regime is already 0-1 in a bowl, two bowl wins in the next seven would be OK with me.

Three league titles earned in the postseason

This would be getting to the AAC title game and winning, something Dunphy did three years in a row in the A10. Three in 10 years is not an unreasonable expectation.

Two league regular-season titles

Something like the Owls did this year in basketball (and one year in the A10), post the best league regular-season record in years that they did not win in the playoffs, would also be acceptable and realistic.

Those 10 years would put Temple on the football map and, if the Owls accomplish all of the above goals, I will start a GoFundMe.com to fund both a Jetpack and a statue for Matt Rhule. Or maybe a statue of Matt Rhule wearing a Jetpack. Hold off those contributions until 2026, though, or about the opening day of the new stadium.

Tuesday: More Immediate Expectations

37 thoughts on “Long-Term Expectations

  1. Mike, thanks for giving Fran Dunphy some slack. I’m really sick and tired of some posters ragging on him constantly. Yeah, his NCAA record is pretty bad but other than that, he’s been very successful in a variety of ways. And if I’m getting the gist of your article here, you’re being reasonable, not expecting a national championship but are wishing for some decent sustained success – actually even I would like to see a bit more than you suggested. In the past I’ve said bowl games not even every year but regularly would be nice. Only with the number of bowls and so many teams in bowls now-a-days every year should be attainable. But a statue of Rhule? I don’t know about that. He still has a long way to go to even think about that.

    • to me, the gist of the criticism of Dunphy is patently unfair … that he cannot win NCAA games. There is so much luck in that one-game process that the fairer way to judge Dunphy is a fuller body of work and you can see that every year over the course of a five-month season and, under those FAIRER standards, he has been an unqualified success. To throw his Penn record in there (as do all Dunphy-haters) is a complete joke. The Ivy League De-emphasized sports in the 1950s. It was Dunphy’s “luck” that Temple was under-seeded and Cornell over-seeded; it was Dunphy’s “luck” to face James Harden and Arizona State; it was Dunphy’s “luck” for Scootie Randall to shoot 0-for-12 against No. 1 seed Indiana. To me, getting rid of Dunphy for unproven Aaron McKie would be like Temple getting rid of Bruce Arians for unproven Jerry Berndt. Be careful what you wish for …

      • I’m a huge Fran Dunphy fan but I think the game against Iowa was poorly coached. It seems like every year the Owls play in the post season regardless if it’s the AAC tourney, NIT or the big dance he only goes 7 players deep. Look at the box score from last game and only 7 players played in a game that went into overtime. Eventually your players will be gassed especially if they go deep in a tourney playing everyday or every other day. Iowa killed Temple with offensive rebounds and I think a huge reason for that is Devontae Watson and Earnest Aflakpui who are both 6’10 didn’t touch the floor.

      • Temple Basketball plays in one of the best venues on the East Coast…, several teams in our recruiting area do more with less, enough said about Mr. Dunphy…..,

        TUFB should accomplish one or more of the Big 3 in consecutive seasons – Conference Championship, Bowl Win, and Top 25 finish…,

        the number and names of schools with 3 or more consecutive bowl appearances and wins should calibrate our expectations..,

      • Come on Mike with the luck stuff. Facts are stubborn things and Dunphy’s record in the post season is terrible. Remember what John Chaney did at Temple? He had worse facilities, played mostly in a small gym and he accomplished a lot in the tourney. If you want safe and respectable, stick with Dunphy, however if you want to be great it’s time to move on.

      • Chaney finished his career with five-straight NITs. Dunphy took over and we went to 6 of the next 7 NCAAs. Enough with the Chaney romanticism. When Dunphy goes to the NIT five-straight times, we can talk about moving him out. Fortunately, Temple doesn’t fire coaches. It allows contracts to be finished up. Somehow, I don’t think Fran will wake up tomorrow and say, “Geez, I won two-straight AAC coach of the year awards but I still can’t win a first-round game. I must really suck. I’m getting out.” I know the uni is as proud to have him as they are of having the guy who lost an NIT-like bowl game to a MAC squad. Both are here until 2021.

      • I have been a season ticket holder and have seen Chaney and Dunphy coach. In evaluatingChaney, You left out his multiple Elite 8’s, reminders of those great days are hanging in the building he built. Dunphy on the other hand has 2 wins in how many tries? He is an average coach Mike, sneaking into the tournament year after year and losing in the first round is not good enough. Ten years is enough for me. A change is needed.

  2. The main complaint against Dunphy is his recruiting record. I wonder if that stems from his refusal to play crooked ball with the AAU teams, which seem to have supplanted high school as the primary recruiting venue.

  3. The game is about winning and winning in March, Dunphy has proven time and again that he can’t. It’s time for Temple to move on. The status quoue isn’t good enough.

    • People who call for Dunphy to be fired are wasting both their breath and their time. It’s not happening for a number of reasons 1) This isn’t Penn with a $6.9 billion endowment … they don’t have the money to eat a $1.2 million contract: 2) Do you listen to every national broadcast? All (and I do mean all) of the national announcers say what a great coach Dunphy is. The uni isn’t taking that kind of PR hit. 3) Do you know how stupid the uni would look firing a conference two-time coach of the year? Pretty stupid.
      Enough is enough, but the enough in this case is the 12 Temple season ticket holders demanding he be fired. Theo ain’t listening nor should he.

  4. Dunph did a nice job this year. He’s one Macon/Matakevich-type recruit away from the Sweet Sixteen, but he doesn’t use black cash bag recruiting techniques. He’s coached up several mediocre players and avoided at least one prima donna who would have torched the program. Thanks Fran!

  5. fran is pretty similar in recruiting ethics to Gary Williams. Gary wouldn’t engage in the AAU money grab and instead recruited kids he wanted to mold into men as well as players. The UMd alums complained for a change , got it, and now? They were close to running Turgeon out this season and still probably will if they lose today. I’d rather be a fan of an honorable program whose players represent the school and the city like Temple does versus a bunch of mercenaries.

  6. As a Temple alum, I am a lot more comfortable with decent men like Matt Rhule and Fran Dunphy as the face of the only two sports programs the vast majority of fellow alums care about. Great post, Dave. I can do without sleazeballs like Bob Huggins, Calipari and Kelvin Sampson, among others and incompetents like Bruiser Flint or total unknowns like Aaron McKie. Coach Chaney always said take the knowns over the unknowns and Dunphy is a pretty good known in comparison.

  7. Did you see that juggernaut Iowa today? At one point down 36. Temple struggled and lost to that team. Iowa lost 7 of their last 10 including the tourney. Villanova would have embarrassed us again if we had to play them. Speaking of honorable, check out how many fountains Jay Wright has, final four, elite 8’s and sweet sixteens.

    • Still waiting for Dr. Kraft’s office to be stormed by torch bearers and pitch-fork handlers demanding for Dunphy’s head. I don’t think that’s happening, so I will “settle” for a few more regular-season titles before the Dunphy-haters get what they deserve–the same 20-year Dark Age the Bruce Arians’ haters got.

    • So because Temple lost to Iowa, they now are an awful team and must fire their coach? So Shaka Smart is out at Texas too? I guess Bob Huggins can’t coach anymore. Tom Izzo is a total bum.

    • Jay has 1 E8 and 1FF with much high starting positions and expectations, so let’s not act like he doesn’t have March demons as well. He’s been a much bigger postseason failure than Fran Dunphy.

      • Really, and here I thought Jay made a final four multiple elite 8s, multiple sweet sixteens while dunphy has 2 wins and never got to the sweet sixteen. I don’t know about you but I’ll take Jay Wright’s over one and dunphy all day. Dunphy produces an average product year in and year out. As for Huggins and Smart they have won many tourney games, dunphy not so much. Did not Mr. Smart get to a final four? Did Huggins get to final four? Yea they both did, dunphy not even close. Dunphy isn’t even close to being in their class.

      • Don’t look now but Jay just made another final four.

      • Dr. G has a S16 appearance; is he a better coach than Fran?

  8. Sweet 16. Still has work to do to get to Final Four.

  9. Tough conversation. It is like comparing Temple and Penn State in football. Villanova has had a several decades head start playing in the Big East. Now that the Big East is not the Big East anymore, it will take several years for that to level back out.

    Villanova has had tremendous recruiting advantages over the years because of that affiliation. That being said, I still don’t think Dunphy is a great recruiter. I don’t think he will take a Temple team to the final 4 any time soon. But he is a really good coach. His teams play hard.

    My only gripe with the Iowa game is why was Dingle in at the end of the game? He only had one hand and it was his non-shooting hand!

    • Fair point. Dingle should not have been in.

      • Yea. Don’t know if Mark Williams was in or not at that stage of the game. If he wasn’t he would have been the better choice even though he can’t jump. Losing Trey Lowe hurt this team because he’s their most athletic player.

    • Except that Georgetown and St. John’s were/are in the same position as Villanova but yet their programs have fallen on hard times. Coaching is the difference, Dunphy can’t recruit and he has not developed any of his big men (don’t give me Bond he was a transfer). By the way, Jay Wright just notched another elite 8. I find it hard to believe he has better resources than Dunphy, I’ve seen their facilities and they don’t compare to what temple has.

  10. Dunphy has gotten a lot better in recruiting. i think he heard the criticism and stepped up his game with these last 2 recruiting classes.

  11. yes, compare the 6-11 kid from Mississippi to the 6-11 kid we got from western pa. 4 years ago. Watson was a project. This kid coming in is no project. He will help if Big Ern can’t get healthy. My only concern is the high school competition. Hopefully, it’s at a decent level in Mississippi.

  12. Chaney had a big kid from MS who played in the NBA. Well, if you don’t win the Super Bowl you’re just no damn good, remember? That’s Philly fans way and it comes out against Dunphy too. Mike, i totally agree (and have said it numerous times), get rid of Dunphy with Temple’s situation and there’s NO guarantees you’ll get a better replacement with improvement. Dunphy has far mor upside vs just his tourney record. And damnit, Temple got screwed this year against Iowa – the no-call shove from behind.

    • Those calling for his Fran’s head remind me very much of those calling for Bruce’s head in 1988 (and Peter J. listened to them). I read a former TU player who runs the Facebook site said there is no downside to going to Aaron McKie now. Huh? What if they go to Aaron and he goes 2-29 like Mark Macon did? Anything less than an AAC championship is a downside. A few years ago, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz bemoaned universities who are quick to fire and threw out Arians’ name as an example. “Look at Temple football,” he said. “Firing Bruce Arians set them back 20 years.” I could see the same thing happening to Temple basketball unless you are talking about Calipari or Pitino as a replacement.

  13. Dunphy’s Penn record in the NCAAs, along with Princeton’s at the time, was also slanted because the Ivy winner almost always got 15 and 16 seeds. If some of those teams had been seeded better I think you would have seen some wins by the Ivies. Like when a very good Cornell team beat Temple a few years ago. That was no fluke. Just a thought….

  14. to paraphrase JayZ, if Temple athletics has 99 problems, the two-time only-ever AAC coach of the year is not one.

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