When I think of the recent Temple football scheduling philosophy, there is one proverb in the Bible that applies: Pride Goeth Before the Fall.
Actually, in the King James version, 16:18, it reads: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
Yep, that pretty much sums up a tenant of Dr. Pat Kraft’s philosophy, demanding a home-and-home from all OOC opponents. There are few more affable and available athletic directors out there than our own Dr. Kraft. The guy is intelligent and approachable and tries to answer every question with brutal honestly.
Since he came from Indiana, I once asked him why Temple doesn’t try to schedule Indiana in football?
“I tried to,” he said. “They don’t want to play us.”
Last year, I commended him for firing the men’s soccer coach because it had been my experience that Temple is unique among major universities in that they never fire any coaches.
“We won’t accept mediocrity,” Kraft said.
That was nice to hear.
That doesn’t mean I agree with the good doctor on everything. The morning of the Stony Brook game I casually mentioned to him that maybe Temple should not be playing the Stony Brooks or the Fordhams (or the Bucknells) of the world going forward; that, in my view, those games served no purpose for the advancement of the program.
As far as an Indiana-type foe goes, I find it hard to believe that the Northwestern and Illinois programs which scheduled Western Michigan in 2016 and are afraid to schedule Temple. Maybe not with a home-and-home, but certainly as a one-shot deal.
Ideally, Temple football should schedule like Temple basketball does. Load up on good OOC foes and try to win the AAC. If Geoff Collins is such a good recruiter and coach, he should be up to the task.
In hindsight, had the 2016 team played and beaten a team like Georgia Tech and not Stony Brook, that probably would have been enough to vault that team past Western Michigan and into the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin (a team the Owls beat in 1990).
Instead, the 38-0 win over Stony Brook did nothing for Temple.
He said those “types” of games were sometimes necessary because a lot of Power 5 schools—the ones Temple prefers to play—won’t give Group of Five teams a home-and-home and want to schedule two-for-ones and three-for-twos.
“We won’t do those any more,” Kraft said.
“Not even for Penn State?”
“Not even for Penn State.”
That’s one of the reasons why PSU is off the schedule; a larger reason is Temple beat PSU, 27-10, and almost beat the 2016 Big 10 champs at their place, falling, 34-27.
Yet, if Temple can do it for Oklahoma, which it will starting in 2024, flexibility should be the guide in future scheduling templates.
Bill Bradshaw, the ex-AD, deserves kudos for getting Rutgers back on the schedule because he told me after the Owls played Rutgers, they requested a two-for-one and he turned them down. Bradshaw then said RU came to him in his final year and relented for a one-for-one that begins in two years.
Kraft then followed up by getting regional foes Boston College, Georgia Tech and Maryland to agree to one-for-ones. That’s progress. It’s a tougher schedule but a Temple that demands more than mediocrity should be up to those kind of challenges.
It would be nice to get Pitt back on the schedule, maybe Syracuse. These schools are major Eastern institutions, like Temple is. To me, the ideal Temple OOC schedule is to play as many P5 teams as possible and beat them. Maybe one low-level Big 10 team, like Indiana, and three former rivals from the traditional East.
Because the G5’s position is weakening compared to the P5, if that requires two-for-ones and three-for-twos, Temple should consider those options.
Pride goeth before the fall and, if pride means playing Bucknell and Idaho at home instead of at Pitt and at Syracuse, the fall could be the difference between relevance and irrelevance over the next five or so years.
Wednesday: The Philly Special