Flexibility: The New Scheduling Reality

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Pat Kraft pulled a major coup in getting home-and-homes with Maryland and BC.

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?

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Owls should look for more marquee series, like this one against Oklahoma

“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.

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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

 

13 thoughts on “Flexibility: The New Scheduling Reality

  1. 2 for 1 with Penn St or ND is a no-brainer. I’d even consider 3 and 1 with those teams. First, it has to help recruiting exceptional kids that aspire to play for those schools. But don’t get recruited by them. They still get to play against them. Second, the program’s visibility went threw the roof with the team that was undefeated going into the ND game. Realistically games with PSU and ND would be very early on the schedule. So going 6-0 into such a game probably doesn’t happen they way it did in 2015. But when we get that next great team, I’d love to play one of those teams wherever it takes place. Beyond those schools, I’d consider 3 for 2 with Pitt if I couldn’t get 1 for 1.

  2. Kraft’s philosophy while gallant is all wrong for Temple. G-5 schools do not get to dictate scheduling especially one for a team that in a normal season averages 27,000, does not have its own home stadium, and might beat you. . Every game against PSU was an event that got people interested in TU football. Moreover, beating a P-5 school on the road is worth its weight in gold for the Owls. That’s why the Owls should have played Auburn instead of Toledo in 2015 in the bowl game. In addition, the Owls make money from the P-5 road games. Playing Bucknell and Idaho in 2019 does nothing for the program and sounds like a bad joke

  3. Sure like the idea of trying to play Syracuse and Pitt (Pitt should be a regular in-state no-brainer). With Temple, UConn and Navy in conference and Army, Rutgers, PSU (occasionally), BC and throw in Pitt, Cuse games (maybe Maryland since they switched conferences anyway), these regional games should draw more Temple fan interest and especially since Temple is competitive now. Rutgers is such a true rivalry. Too bad a real Eastern conference never materialized. Of course all these ACC and Big-10 teams from the northeast are sure getting nice paydays, which, ultimately, is what it always comes down to.

  4. Temple Owls are everywhere. TU has a lot of well-healed alumni in CA, so Kraft should consider a two-for-one with UCLA or USC! Better yet a one-for’s with a school like San Jose State, Sacramento State, Fresno State, San Diego State, or Cal.

  5. I don’t think Sac State has football but I would eschew the G5 schools (we are playing enough of them in the league) for Cal, USC or UCLA. At least we have bowl histories with UCLA and Cal.

    • True Sac State is a FCS team. I think San Jose and Fresno State would be interesting opponents. Fresno beat Houston in the Hawaii Bowl.

  6. Some states have mandated tax-payer supported schools play one another with some frequency. Maybe while not doing anything, those drones in Harrisburg could pass legislation to have Penn St, Pitt and Temple play each other once every three or four seasons, alternating sites.

    While you’re talking to Mr. Kraft, see if you can have him lose the black unis for football and basketball. The teams are fighting for the cherry and the white. Penn State, Alabama, the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Cowboys, etc. don’t have those alternatives. Same with the white helmets. Just a personal preference. There may be others who find them attractive.

  7. In an upcoming post, would you please give us your analysis of all the turnover in coaching? Do you conclude it is a net plus or minus?

  8. Good riddance to the cornerback coach. One of the more distressing things this season was the play of the d-backs. Too many times, guys were running free with no defense within 5 yards. None of the coaches who left were any good. Wish Patenaude had left.

  9. 2 good p5 schools are a must every year with no exceptions.
    The third game either a p5 or a strong G5 like a Boise.
    The 4th game I am ok with one easy team like a Buffalo but not FCS.
    Unless we average 50k plus which is not happening anytime soon, we have no right to demand 1 for 1 with anybody. Let us play the best teams anywhere any place just like Chaney used to. Some will want to come to Philadelphia because it helps their recruiting. Let us do what it takes for the best non conference schedule possible.

    • I agree. We should be working hard to get both Idaho and Bucknell off the 2019 schedule. If it means two less home games, so be it.

      • Since Idaho dropped to FCS from the time the contract was signed, am I correct to assume their should be no penalty getting out of it

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