Temple’s No. 1 Foe: Brutus


A Temple watch party within driving distance of the game last year.

Over the last few days, there has been speculation about Temple being, err, cherry-picked by the Big 12 as part of that conference’s proposed expansion.

My reaction to that is pretty much the same as my feeling about an on-campus stadium. Two words: Not happening.

If the Owls averaged
45-50,000 fans
in Lincoln Financial
Field over the past
few years, they would
be in the Big 12 right
now and this would
not even be a discussion.

One, is because of outside influences that are dead set against Temple having a stadium. There are just not enough votes in City Council and there never will be to get the necessary street approvals the university needs for a stadium. Two, the university’s own proposed price tag—building a stadium for the dirt cheap price of $128  million—suggests that it does not have any money for the necessary accoutrements needed (health care center, community center, playground) to bribe the community into giving the stadium its approval.

The fault for not being seriously in play for the Big 12 lies elsewhere: Softcore Temple fans. You know the type. This is the guy who lives within an hour of Lincoln Financial Field, makes only one  (or less) home games a year, but spends the afternoon or evening on his couch with the potato chips on the coffee table, the remote in one hand and the other feverishly typing comments on the computer about the game on Owls Daily or Owl Scoop.

To me, it’s OK to do that for a road game but I see that happen much too often for home games. It’s not the fault of those people you see tailgate every week, but the fault of those people you see once a year.

Temple, to me, has a hardcore fan base of 20-25,000 and a much larger group of fans who will follow the Owls on TV but not to the stadium. The reason West Virginia is in the Big 12 now and Temple is not is because Mountaineer fans make it to the stadium. If the Owls averaged 45-50,000 fans in Lincoln Financial Field over the past few years, they would be in the Big 12 right now and this would not even be a discussion. The Temple administration can point to the TV market and success on the field, but those thousands of empty seats is a handicap hard to overcome.

As it is, we are on the outside looking in and will probably be pressing our noses against the window while others are chosen. As Shakespeare wrote in the play Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars  but in ourselves.”

Friday: Media Day Thoughts

Monday: The Updated Roster

Wednesday: We’re Talking Practice

32 thoughts on “Temple’s No. 1 Foe: Brutus

  1. Et tu Brute….I thought you’d insert some optimism into this situation. While I think the big-12 is both an odd fit and a long shot I do believe a larger shake up at be coming in the power conferences. Between now and then Temple needs to focus on what they can control on the field and the fans need to show up in the stands.

    • 5 years of being eligible for bowls in the last seven suggest that the uni has taken care of on-the-field stuff; except for last year, the fans are lagging far behind. Too far and it might be too late.

  2. Murphy, the Temple hater is at it again. Please go to Philly.com and attack the hell of that biased piece of you know what.

    • Any time Marc Narducci writes a positive piece about the Owls, he lays in the weeds like a sniper and follows Marc’s piece with a hit piece on Temple. Like I said many times, the next positive word he writes about Temple will be his first. I hope the Daily News goes under and his life raft sinks.

  3. We all know why the fan base has been apathetic, it is because of the lack of a commitment from the university in the past which resulted in the abysmal play of the team over decades. It really will take time to build the brand back up to a reasonable level. It’s happening albeit slowly. The university is on the right track now but forget about the big 12, Temple offers them very little and I believe this is the weakest conference of the power 5 with Texas and Oklahoma looking to leave within the next 3-5 years.

    • Big 12 is pretty much a moot point. I think the best the uni can hope for is that Houston and BYU gets picked and the bleeding stops there. If it’s BYU, Houston, UConn and Cincy, it’s all over. Don’t want to be in a conference with UMass, Charlotte and ODU.

      • Mike, if the second scenario occurs is it even worth pushing forward on the on campus stadium at that point? I know most people feel when all is said and done with P5 realignment, the ACC would be the best fit. Unfortunately, I see the chances of that being slim and none, unless the ACC gets poached the most logical move I see them making is go to 16 teams which leaves 1 or 2 slots depending on what ND does. I look at this very long shot B12 move the last life boat to the P5

      • I was told by a very reliable (never wrong in the past) source not this year but at last year’s C and W game was that the whole reason we were building the stadium is because the ACC let us know that a stadium would clear the way for an invitation (no guarantees, but clear the way). So, if they can get it done, I would still try to do it. There are more layers of defense in front of us than the Germans had at Normandy in WWII.

      • Let’s hope that source is correct, because the BOT are all for the on campus stadium. I feel it will get done, albeit very slowly (2+ years out).

      • The UNI wants to get it done, but the city has final word and does not. I don’t see that latter circumstance changing any time soon and quite possibly ever. That’s why any talk of a stadium before the necessary approvals is a waste of breath.

  4. Interesting points. It’s not that anyone will mistaken Rutgers attendance for Ohio State anytime soon but I do think our fans have have responded well since 2001 in terms of improving attendance, going from 15-20k per game in Schiano’s first few years to 30k+ by years 4-5, and averaging over 40k per season from 2006-on. One of my favorite tidbits was our 2012 home opener, where we had 50k+ in the stands for 1-AA Howard, while cuse-USC drew 39k at the Meadowlands on the same day/ basically at the same time.

    …something that surprised me from that same 2012 season: 6-0/2-0 Rutgers vs. 4-2/2-0 Temple at the Linc, 1st place in the BE on the line, beautiful weather, renewal of a local rivalry game, Temple coming off a 9-4 bowl championship season (1st since ’79)…and the game had 35k in the stands with probably 15k-16k being Rutgers fans. Even your Maryland game earlier that year had I think 25k or less. You’ve drawn great crowds vs PSU and ND, but those are more ‘special event’ games as opposed to your ‘grind games’ that represent the typical game against either a conference foe or a local OOC opponent that make up the majority of a schedule.

    I thought TU fans did a great job vs Tulane last year and that can be something you build off of. Even that game though was the only time I think you broke 35k at the Linc for a team not named PSU, ND or Rutgers (and yes, I know the first 2 games had 60k+ vs the 35k and change for the ’12 RU-TU game). Still, 37k vs. a rather ‘blah’ team is what you want your ‘floor’ to be. You need to replicate that, especially under less than perfect circumstances (can say a 4-1 or 3-2 TU team draw 35k+ vs say Cincy in mid-October?)

    Joe P.

    • – with my last comment, certainly wasn’t trying to imply Cincy was ‘blah’; I have a lot of respect for their program. The overall point stands though; you need to be able to draw even when you’re having a ‘grind it out’ season. I said it years ago and I’ll say it again- one of the BE’s main problems wasn’t necessarily on the field; it was at the box office/turnstiles.

      Joe P.

      Joe P.

    • Joe – I attended both the 2012 Rutgers game and the 2015 Tulane game, and I generally think you are correct above, though you are being generous with the attendance breakdown at that RU/TU game; I think Rutgers definitely had more fans at that game than Temple did. Furthermore, though I didn’t attend the 2012 Maryland game in Philadelphia, I did attend the Temple/Maryland game in College Park in 2011 (I live in the DC area) and unfortunately the Temple fan turnout for a relatively short distance road game wasn’t particularly strong either (though to be fair I did not sit in the designated visitor’s section at Byrd Stadium, but I saw hardly any other Owls fans in the upper deck), certainly not like the cherry and red turnout at RFK Stadium for the EagleBank Bowl in 2009 (where the 23K person crowd was probably about 90% Temple fans).

      The big difference as I see it between the two games you mentioned can be summed up in four words – Temple beat Penn State. Furthermore, they did so on a relatively high profile network (ESPN2) at a high viewing time (3:30 PM ET) in dominating fashion. That game has the potential to be similar to Rutgers’ 2006 win over a top 5 ranked Louisville team; it really has served a springboard for Rutgers football and was a big deal even in the New York media. (Coincidentally, I took a personal day trip to New York the day after that Thursday night game, and I remember it was the big sports story in the Daily News and Post, in addition to the Star-Ledger.) The key for Temple, much like it was for Rutgers nearly a decade earlier, is to sustain that success and become a regular bowl team that periodically beats good teams to show they’ve remained legitimate.

  5. Although true, it is too late to mend our mistakes in hopes of achieving a Big12 bid.

    – The next conference re-alignment I see isn’t in another 5-10 years, so the best we can do is prepare for that!

  6. the cost for the new stadium will continue to raise eyebrows.., the city council will not approve without an adjacent parking garage, much like what they have at Houston and Tulane.., the City Council knows this will drive up costs and raise more scrutiny..,

    a strategy for Temple would be to agree to construct a parking garage within five years of completion date.., not certain anyone on the BOT is that farsighted

  7. On PTI on ESPN, there was a story that the Big 12 may fold because Texas and Oklahoma are unhappy as are their TV partners. I can see that happening along with the creation of four 16 team super conferences. Texas and Oklahoma go the the SEC or Big 10 and the rest scrambling for a conference. It all sucks for TU and the college football fan.

    • I cannot believe the 6th largest school in terms of educating professionals in the country and the 28th largest overall school based in a World Class City cannot field one of the top 25 teams in the country on a consistent basis. We were for a time last year and will be in for a time this year (hopefully) but we needed to do it from 2010-25 to force ourselves into the discussion. If you are consistently in the top 25, your chances of getting into that Super 64 group are a lot higher. I think the window either has closed or is closing.

      • consistently in the Top 25 is the ticket.., how many perennial Top 25 teams are not in the P5? 2, maybe 3? and it looks like it will be 1 or zero in the very near future..,

      • True, because the sheer numbers do not add up. $22 mil per P5 team versus $1-2 mil per G5. That’s an arms’ race the poorer people are bound to lose.

  8. A tradition has to be built. It’s started. What I mean is while the student is on campus, going to the game each week becomes part of the process of being a Temple student. Combine that with exciting games and a habit is formed after that student graduates. Too many generations of commuters and Saturdays spent doing other things followed by Sunday football presently limit the drawing power to the 20-25,000 you suggest.

    The other component of boosting attendance is to fill seats with the “public,” i.e., those who live in the area but really have little or no college football background…the alums from all the local schools with no real football offering. They have only heard Sunday football all their lives. They don’t know what they are missing. Get 15,000 of them to show up for games and you’ve built something that a P5 league needing a school will notice.

    As for the ACC and the stadium, are they similarly pressuring Pitt and Miami to get their own places as well?

    • No, because Miami and Pitt have tenant-leaning leases with supportive landlords. Temple and the Eagles are much more antagonistic to the other.

    • I’ve said for a long time that Temple’s greatest growth opportunity fanbase-wise lies not with Temple’s student body and alumni (though there are definitely opportunities with those groups), it lies with the general Philadelphia area sports fan. If Temple fields a consistent winner and plays and beats some good teams that casual fans recognize as good teams, more of those non-affiliated Philadelphia sports fans will get on the Owls’ bandwagon. The 2015 season has to be looked at as a beginning, not a pinnacle.

      • Proof is the number of non-Temple alums on the Temple facebook fan page, including the administrator of that site. Our greatest fan, 34-year season ticket-holder Ted DeLapp, is not a Temple grad. I wonder if building an on-campus stadium alienates that growing group?

      • My personal opinion, which I’ve also expressed on the Owls Daily site message board, is that an on-campus stadium would be less attractive for the majority of Temple fans or potential Temple fans. (I say that as someone who would personally experience a largely neutral impact from an on-campus stadium, though I would be discouraged from making the 2+ hour trip to Philadelphia if I was only attending the game and not turning my trip into a full day visit that included other activities besides the game.) I think many people like to tailgate prior to football games and the university’s relatively inaccessible location by car and lack of non-parking garage parking spaces would discourage rather than encourage Owls fans to attend games at Temple’s campus. Temple’s basketball attendance in the 20 years since the university opened the Liacouras Center, a very nice facility and IMO by far the nicest college basketball arena for any Philly City Six school, supports the idea that for whatever reason, many people who follow Owls basketball do not want to attend games on Temple’s campus. Temple basketball has had some good to very good teams in that 20 year period, yet rarely sells out or comes close to selling out many games, despite the university’s large alumni base.

        There are definitely positives to building an on-campus stadium, especially for Temple students who live on campus and to a lesser degree for most Owls fans who travel to Temple home football games via public transit. The atmosphere at Owls games if they played in an on-campus stadium would likely improve, though the stadium would probably be not nearly as nice or as comfortable as Lincoln Financial Field. However, IMO the negatives of an on-campus stadium outweigh the positives, especially if Temple’s lease agreement with the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field can be modified to be less onerous for Temple.

  9. I think if the city will reject a Temple on-campus stadium making all of this “done deal” speculation and endless threads on message boards the more wasted time than Pokeman Go.

  10. Maybe the new president, whoever it may be, can make a deal right off the bat: We’ll forget the on-campus stadium for political interference that will get us a reasonable agreement for playing at the Linc. After all, Lurie is still an outsider in the eyes of the politicos. And with the current scandals popping last week, maybe some positive news out of city hall would be welcome.

    • The position of the current Mayor is that he’s against the Temple stadium and in favor of Lurie giving the Owls a sweetheart deal. There’s a rendering of the new stadium on the Temple fan facebook page and it is not what I want. The seats are far away from the field. I want the seats right on top of the field, like the stadium at Boston College. If you are not going to have a homefield advantage, I’d just as well stay at the Linc. If you are going to have something like BC has now, let’s do it. I fear they are going to do something on the cheap and no one will like it. This is how close the fans should be to the action.

      Alumni Stadium

      • I think some of you fellas raise interesting points with the stadium situation. I’ve long been in the camp that ‘any stadium is better than no stadium’, though when some of your fans threw around the $125 mil price tag on the Rutgers board, I looked at ’em sideways and said, “I’m no expert on Philly politics or the cost of construction, but for $125 mil in 2017+ Philly, you are probably literately going to get a field and bleachers.” I think UConn build Rentslcher for about $95 mil 14 or so years ago but that was in the middle of an abandoned airport out in the suburbs that was sitting there doing nothing, not in the middle of a huge city.

  11. Joe, you are absolutely right. If Temple came up with a figure of $250 million and seatbacks (not bleachers), 45K seats vs. 35K, a two-tiered press box, I might think the Board of Trustees is serious. 126 mil for this stadium in this union labor market is an absolute joke. This leads me to believe a) this whole thing is a ploy to bring down Eagles’ rent; b) the uni knows this will be rejected by the city. Option C better not be Chester or Franklin Field.

    • If you’re going to go with the stadium, I think your $250 mil or so pricetag is more realistic for a stadium that would be built the long haul. IMO it would be a huge mistake to rush in, settle for a subpar project just because it’s what you can get a the time, and then you’re saddled with a stadium that’s behind your peers right from the start with very limited ability to upgrade it if/as needed…I think ultimately the Eagles will likely ‘play ball’, especially when it comes time to update the Linc and they (likely) go to the city/ state asking for financing help.

      Joe P.

  12. When it comes to a project this size and you’re not a billionaire flush with cash/ you need to go to your local government for help, you’re only going to get 1 chance to get it right…and you also need to be aware that (IMO) in the government’s eyes, you’re cashing in a HUGE ‘favor’, no matter how ‘on the cheap’ you think the price tag is. You don’t want to get a tinker-toy stadium that barely has running water and will be outdated in 2 years as your ‘favor’, because you’re not getting anything else from the city any time soon.

    I remember going on vacation down the shore when I was 11 years old and wanting a boogie board really bad. We were at a local store and I saw these run-of-the-mill boogie boards; I just *had* to have one. My parents kept telling me, “we’re going to the surf shop tomorrow; they’re going to have better ones there.” I insisted I had to have one now. My parents said again, “you’re only getting one. Just wait until we go to the surf shop so you can get a good one.” I insisted yet again I had to have one now. My parents said, “ok…”, I got my boogie board, I was happy for 2-3 days…until I saw my brothers and sister come home with these awesome boogie boards that were 10X better than mine…and yes, my parents held firm and I didn’t get another one…

    The Linc is already 13 years old. Heck, in the new millennium when it comes to the life cycle of stadiums, that’s like being in your 40’s. I think it’ll need to be upgraded sooner or later, and that’s when the city can say, “ok, work with Temple and we’ll work with you.”

    Joe P.

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