Temple Football: The Long Game

patkraft

The first step Pat Kraft must do to get Temple a P5 invite would be to rid future schedules of all FCS foes. It may be too late for Bucknell, but not too late for Idaho and the like.

We all know the short-term goals every year for Temple football are winning the AAC title and getting the coveted G5 slot in an NY6 bowl.

It hasn’t happened yet, but one AAC title appearance and one AAC championship in the last five years prove that goal is within reach.

Beyond that, though, what?

As Peggy Lee sang once, “Is that all there is?”

Maybe.

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Nothing would help Temple more than a stadium full of these people

Yet one of the recurring themes of this blog is and has been that Temple belongs with the more regional great schools of the East like Maryland, Syracuse, Boston College, Rutgers, West Virginia and Penn State and not with the Tulsa’s and Memphis’s of the world.

Ideally, getting back into a league with those schools would be preferable but playing the same level of football with them should be the minimum objective.

Every major decision Temple makes should be with that eventual long-term goal in mind.

There’s no easy way there from what I can see.

College football now is a cartel of, really, 64 schools who have made it and another 66 who are on the outside looking in and Temple is in the latter group. The window is closing, though, and many of us believe it is already slammed shut.

If Temple drew 70,000 or even 50,000 to every home game over the last decade or so of relative success, there is no doubt in my mind the Owls would have had an invitation after the last stop of the merry-go-round. The TV market is great but the TV market combined with a rabid fan base is an unbeatable combination.

Sadly, with its “commuter school” roots and 20 years of administrative neglect of the football program, the ceiling of fan support is really about the 35,000 who went to see a 6-0 Owl team play Tulane in 2015.  There were no Green Wave fans there so that is a pretty good indication of the maximum amount of Temple fans who would support a winner.

How to change this?

One, schedule the regional schools who would be of interest to Temple fans (Maryland, Rutgers, ‘Cuse). Two, be a little more flexible with 2-for-1s until Temple is in a position to command 1-for-1s with everybody. It has 1-1s with Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami, Rutgers and Boston College. Owls need to get Penn State in here every few years or so and, if 2-for-1s is the way to go, they must be flexible enough to do it. Pitt would also be an attractive in-state foe.

Bucknell is not.

If Temple wants to eventually play with the big boys (and this might be a decade or two down the line), it needs to schedule and beat the big boys on about as regular a basis as Northern Illinois has done over the last six years.

That would get the attention of the rest of the country, their own fan base and maybe a conference looking for both a growing fan base and the largest TV market without a P5 team.

That’s the long game and it can only be played within the administrative offices at the Star Complex.

Wednesday: The Bright Side

Saturday: Measuring Up

14 thoughts on “Temple Football: The Long Game

  1. 3 things: ‘Cuse used to be a nasty rivalry but we haven’t played them in quite some time. And as far as Philly being the biggest TV market without a team represented, i’ll bet the stations view PSU as the Philly team soaking up that market – like it or not. And, maybe TU could draw fans to games approaching 50K with all the right factors coming together but because of the things you mentioned Mike (history, losing for too long, admin. mistakes, etc.) it’s hard to imagine ever getting up to the 60-70K attendance. Not being able to attract really good coaches who will stay is another problem that curbs actual improvement forward. That’s why I keep saying that the AAC is just right for Temple at this time. If TU gets an invite to a P5, fine, but don’t expect them to do very well playing truly tough teams every weekend (and don’t forget that includes basketball; and all the other sports that TU is just not very good in). Do we really want to be a bottom dweller just to be in the P5? Maybe?

    • the view that PSU is the Philly market might be correct, but the ratings indicate otherwise. The few times Temple is on TV in the last decade or so versus Penn State the ratings were higher for Temple. I also reject the notion that Temple would be a bottom-dweller P5. Temple could be a very good P5 team. With P5, come resources and better recruits.

      • Temple in a P5 conference? Maybe not a bottom dweller, but I contend, middle of the pack at best, never vying for a conference championship.

      • When the g5 schools become marginalized into a glorified fcs level, a championship won’t matter as much as a seat at the big boy table

    • unthinkable years ago and a real possibility in the near future – P5 contraction, not expansion.

      Aresco is on the right track. P5 TV and attendance revenue is shrinking, expansion is not in the cards in our lifetime. The AAC just needs to keep fighting, winning (beat P5 opponents), and retaining top coaches.

      UCF set the bar with the Heupel contract buyout. Temple wisely changed philosophy and followed w/Carey’s buyout. Houston snagged a winning P5 coach.., etc.

      The college football playoff will expand within the next five years. The AAC needs to keep the policy of equally sharing postseason revenue.

      Opportunity is staring Temple right in the face with two winnable games against P5 opponents in 2019.

      Think about this. UCF plays Stanford and Pitt early in the season and could be 7-0 coming into Philly.

      If Temple can find a way to beat Memphis.., College GameDay will be back in Philly with a nationally ranked 7-0 Temple team hosting a Top 10 ranked 7-0 UCF team.

      The point is Temple must wisely play the cards they are dealt before entertaining any thoughts beyond the AAC. They are several things in life which do not come back, lost opportunity is one of those things.

      • A win over UCF this season would be huge . Considering Brandon Winbush has a field day against Temple, when he was playing for ND.

        As far as UCF , beyond this season, they have just 3 series scheduled against P5 teams .
        That’s weak & bad for the conference .

  2. I agree that for now, the AAC is a great conference for Temple. I would say it’s a minimum of another 5-10 years playing in the conference, before one of the P5 conferences consider inviting Temple to join.

    One question, why hasn’t Kraft used the buyout money from Collins/Diaz to cancel the remaining Idaho game ?? Reschedule that game with a regional school like Pitt, Syracuse. I guarantee that these teams, will get more asses in the seats, than Bucknell . The only draw back, is that half those asses will be Pitt & Cuse fans . Nevertheless, those games would generate more fan interest than Bucknell.

  3. Don’t buy that Pitt, Cause, or any other eastern team other than PSU will put fannies in the seats. They didn’t in the past and unless TU and tPitt/Cuse are undefeated, they won’t do it now. The only visiting teams that I recall bringing fans were PSU, ND, VT, Miami, and Rutgers when they were good.
    If TU wants to better its odds for the ACC, start a D-1 men’s lacrosse team. That would given the ACC six teams and NCAA benefits. Without baseball, TU needs more than football and BB for an invite.
    .

    • I think games against eastern P5 schools would put more asses in the seats , than would games against Bucknell & Idaho, and some AAC teams ( i.e SMU, Tulsa, ECU etc).
      I’m not saying these games would be sellouts, but there teams would create more interest in getting to the Linc on gameday.

      I mean would you be more interested in traveling to the Linc to see Temple play Buffalo, Bucknell or Idaho . Or would you come down to Linc to see Temple play Pitt, Maryland, Syracuse , WV or BC ?

    • Having men’s laX is a good idea. And while they’re at it TU should reinstate baseball, men’s track& field, men’s gymnastics and wrestling. If Temple wants to be first class institution, that includes having a full sports program, like other much smaller schools seem to be able to maintain.

    • yes, we played and hosted Cuse and Pitt many times here and there wasn’t one time the Temple fans didn’t significantly outnumber them. I will give the Rutgers fans credit because they always showed up but certainly we won’t see more Maryland fans than Temple fans on 9/14 because we didn’t see more Maryland fans than Temple fans at the Linc in 2012. Also, Maryland’s home opener at Byrd drew 31,092 in 2018. Temple’s home opener at the Linc drew 32,876. Both non-conference openers. Temple fans can hold their own early in the season but have to be given a reason to come back. That’s why the recent losses in the home openers to Army and Villanova were so damaging to those season attendance figures.

  4. Tailgate parties with Game of Thrones character selfie ops along with a patsy win wold entertain the iPhone generation more than a win over Rutgers or Syracuse. That’s the Long (marketing) Game.

  5. The talent TU has had over the last 4-5 years would have competed in a P5 conference and likely gone bowling a few times. The biggest difference between P5 and G5 though is line play and depth, with depth taking a good 2-3 years to really start developing. Right now TU has some really talented players and a good to possibly great QB…but look at your o-line situation (1-2 injuries away from a potential meltdown). The AAC isn’t a pushover league (especially up top) but if TU were playing a full B1G or an ACC schedule this year, that line situation IMO would pretty much cap you at 5 wins tops. I also don’t think Collins recruited even remotely close to the level that your previous 3 coaches did and you’re probably going to start seeing that this year as the ‘17, ‘18 and 19 classes start emerging (though it’ll likely be more prevalent next year, like what happened to Rutgers in ‘15 after Schiano’s 2nd to last class started graduating en masse).

    Joe P.

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