In as perfect a world as possible for Temple football, Rod Carey would go from eight wins his first season to double digits his second and win two championships every six years along a couple of bowl games.
I’m not greedy enough to think Temple winning a championship every year is possible because a lot of schools like SMU, UCF and Cincinnati are also trying to do the same thing. Still, Temple is in a perfect geographic spot–the exact middle of 46 percent of the nation’s population–and should be able to pan enough gold from that mine to dominate the AAC.
The world has changed a lot in the past two months, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about what could be once everything gets back to normal. Everything will get back to some semblance of normal because the Spanish Flu–which killed far more people in 1918 than this virus will in 2020–did not last forever.
After a year of watching Rod Carey, here is what I think is more likely to happen when things return to normal: Rod wins 6-7-8 games a year, probably doesn’t get Temple a championship and, as a consequence, does not become the hot prospect Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins were seen as. Temple, for its part, does what Temple always does: Keep mediocre coaches around forever.
There is, though, a possible third scenario where Carey makes Temple the NIU of the AAC and grabs a lot of championships and increases his 5-2 record against Big 10 teams to an even more healthy number. Maybe even wins a bowl game for once but that probably won’t happen at Temple if he delivers a title first (see Matt Rhule).
That means someone will eat Carey’s hefty buyout ($10 million this year, $8 million next and $6.5 million after Year Three), Temple would get another championship and everybody will be happy.
What happens then?
Temple could go back to hiring promising coordinators or grab another successful MAC-level head coach.
Or do something different, like elevate an assistant.
IF they go in the latter direction, they could do a whole lot worse than Gabe Infante, who is local, knows the recruiting landscape in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and, for a decade, had the second-best coached football team on the planet in St. Joseph’s Prep. (I will concede that the Bill Belicheck teams of this century were better-coached in a tougher place to win, the NFL.) Side note: As a long-time afficianado of high school football, there was no better-coached, least-penalized team I’ve ever seen at that level than St. Joseph’s Prep. The Hawks’ offensive line sprinted to the line of scrimmage–every other team walked–and then would pummel the defensive line on each and every snap. That’s damn good coaching right there.
If Infante can take an inner-city school six blocks from Temple to being the Pennsylvania power of this century, he can work wonders up the street with a lot more resources and a $17 million practice facility.
Something for Temple AD Pat Kraft to put in the back of his mind when things get back to normal.
Monday: Two Steps Back, One Step Forward