On the floor level of the Wells Fargo Center, there were smiles all around Sunday afternoon for what Sixers’ general manager Elton Brand was able to pull off.
He immediately upgraded the Sixers with a megastar like Tobias Harris and some valuable pieces that upgraded the bench. Still, like any good trade, to get something Brand had to give something and those were mostly draft picks that are going to make the Clippers a more valuable franchise down the road.
The Sixers are playing for now. The Clippers are playing for the future. It was a trade that benefited both ballclubs considering their current circumstances.
That’s why current Temple athletic director Dr. Pat Kraft should be considering a trade for the football Owls. Getting Bucknell off the schedule would benefit the Bison from decimating their current roster due to injuries and would benefit Temple by getting it a possible Power 5 win the Owls might desperately need if they were fortunate enough to win the AAC.
“We just got a better today; a lot better,” Kraft said on the day he hired Rod Carey.
This whole dilemma reminds me of a conversation I had with Bill Bradshaw when he was named athletic director. He said he looked at the schedule and when he saw that Temple had a game the next season that did not make sense, he would immediately make calls to switch with other schools. Bradshaw saw it as a challenge and the conversations with other ADs eventually led him to schedule a series with Notre Dame.
Kraft needs to be as flexible now as Bradshaw was then.
The Owls need to win now and capitalize on it. Playing Bucknell does Temple zero good. It gives the Owls an extra (seventh instead of six) home games, but have Temple fans done anything over the last 40 years or so to deserve a seventh home game? I think not. If they were filling the Linc on a regular basis, they deserve an extra home game now and then. At best, Bucknell attracts 22K fans for an August 31 date.
Here are five possible trades Kraft could make now that would benefit both ballclubs:
Friday, Aug. 30
- UMass at Rutgers _ This would be the ideal trade. Temple would bring 20K fans to Piscataway alone and Bucknell can go play at UMass, a much more competitive game for them. Some say Rutgers would be “afraid” to play big bad Temple. I say give them a call and find out for sure.
Saturday, Aug. 31
- Montana State at Texas Tech _ Kraft has said in the past that “it’s hard to get games against (Power 5) teams because they don’t want to play us.” Hard to believe Texas Tech would risk a loss to an FCS power like Montana State and be “afraid” to play Temple. The guarantee Tech could give Temple to visit would pay for Bucknell to travel to Montana State.
- Nicholls at Kansas State _ Last year, Nicholls went to Kansas and beat the Jayhawks. That has got to get the attention of the Wildcats, who might be wary of the same thing happening to them. Hard to believe new KSU coach Chris Klieman who won six of the last seven FCS titles at North Dakota State would be afraid of Temple. Have Bucknell travel to Nicholls and the Owls to the fake Manhattan.
- Portland State at Arkansas _ Razorbacks’ head coach Chad Morris is familiar with Temple having coached against the Owls as SMU’s head coach. It might be easier selling Arkansas fans on an FBS opponent rather than Portland State. The trip to the West Coast to play Portland State might be more educational for the Bucknell kids than a trip to South Philadelphia.
- James Madison at West Virginia _ While driving across the interstate might be a short trip for JMU fans, new James Madison football coach Curt Cignetti (a former Temple assistant) knows he has a better chance to make a first impression with a solid win over Bucknell than a road loss to Neal Brown in his first game as WVA head coach. Temple and WVA have a history that goes way back. James Madison would be a nice trip for the Bucknell kids.
These are five trades that would benefit both Temple and Bucknell and all of the above schools. Like any good trade, it involves working the phones and that’s what Dr. Pat Kraft should be doing in the next couple of months.
If it worked for Elton Brand, and the Sixers, it can work for Pat Kraft and the football team five miles up Broad Street.
Thursday: A Closer Look at the Schedule