Pet Peeve: The TU scheduling philosophy

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The only way CC was able to fill a 21K-seat stadium was to draw the fans in as in this artist rendering.

In this space today, we were supposed to discuss recruiting.

That can wait for another day simply because there was a timely development over the extended weekend that put Temple playing in 21,000-seat Brooks Stadium in 2025.

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It’s so rare for some real news about Temple football so we’re going to jump on this topic while it’s hot.

Now signing a 1-for-1 deal with Coastal Carolina (here, 2024, there 2025) is problematic enough but seeing the Temple Owls regress to playing in 21,000-seat stadiums is something I thought we were long past.  This after Brooks Stadium increased its seating capacity from 6,400 in 2018 to 21,000 in 2019.

Something we should be long past, at least.

Yet here with are with Coastal Carolina added to a future group that includes this:

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To me, getting into a Power 5 Conference should always be a long-range goal for Temple football. Temple is one of the largest universites in the nation and the country’s 6th-best producer of educated professionals.

The Owls belong in a group with Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, BC, Louisville, West Virginia and, yes, Cincinnati, and not necessarily with the Tulsas and the Tulanes.

The question has always been how to get there and television is just one advantage Temple has. If you buy the argument that Rutgers is in the New York market, there is no Power 5 team in only two of the top 10 markets: Philadelphia and Houston. USC and UCLA are in Los Angeles, Northwestern is in Chicago, TCU in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Stanford in Frisco/San Jose, Boston College in Boston, Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Maryland in D.C.

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Temple’s TV ratings when on in the Philadelphia market surpass those of Penn State in the same market for seven of the last 10 times the two have been on TV opposite the other. The Temple-Notre Dame game (2015) is the most-watched college football game in the history of Philadelphia TV. Before you give credit to ND, the Irish and Penn State played three times on national TV and did not come near the Temple numbers in this massive market. Temple owns the Philadelphia market, largely due to the fact that its 35,641 full-time students, 12,500 full-time employees and 175,000 of its living 279,000 graduates still reside in it.

The answer, though, is that TV is just not enough. If it were, Temple would be in the ACC by now. Mix TV success in with attracting fannies in the seats and that moves Temple to the head of the P5 prospect class.

Attract 50,000 fans a game to Lincoln Financial Field or in excess of 30,000 fans a game to an on-campus stadium and do it over a long period, perhaps a decade.

That’s why it’s called a long-term goal.

How to do it?

Schedule and beat Power 5 teams. Scheduling and beating Power 5 teams is something Temple used to do (Maryland, 2011, 2018 and 2019), Vanderbilt (2014), and Penn State (2105) on a fairly regular basis. Four of those five games were blowouts. The Owls did by successfully recruiting against P5 schools in half of the Al Golden and Matt Rhule classes and filling those classes by “trusting the film” and recruiting “tough kids” like Tyler Matakevich and Haason Reddick who eventually became NFL players. They did it by emphazing the run, shortening the game, being tougher than teams with better talent.

By doing so, Temple had the second-highest percentage increase in the nation in attendance (from an average of 15K in 2008 to 29K in 2019) of any team, either P5 or G5. Temple football is one of the underrated success stories of this century and the Owls didn’t do it by beating Stony Brook and Bucknell.

How not to ever have a chance of being invited to the Big Boys’ table? Do what Temple is doing now.

 

Scheduling Coastal Carolina, Idaho, Lafayette, Wagner, Norfolk State, Rhode Island is the right turn on the road to oblivion. A home game against, say, Vandy, puts 10K more fans in the seats than one against Lafayette. Home games against regional foes like Rutgers and Pitt would put even more fannies in the stands. Winning those games attracts attention from the larger conferences.

Another way of not doing it is playing the P5 teams and going with an RPO offense that stops the clock and gives more talented teams needless extra possessions.

Beating Power 5 teams, as we found in the last two bowl games, is hard. As JFK said about the Moon landing, we don’t do it because it’s easy but because it is hard.

By scheduling the Coastal Carolinas of the world, it looks like Temple is taking the easy way out. Temple should be better than that.

Saturday: Recruiting Patterns

17 thoughts on “Pet Peeve: The TU scheduling philosophy

  1. Temple needs to have 3 and preferably 4 of their OOC games scheduled every year with the following teams: Penn St, Pitt, Rutgers, Maryland, and then the occasional game with Oklahoma, Ga Tech, Miami Fla. etc. Even if it means getting 1 home 2 away with PS or a 2/3 deal with Pitt. After that try to get Delaware and Villanova on the schedule to fill as needed. But no more Idaho or Coastal Carolina games.

  2. Coastal Carolina should be a fun fall road trip getaway. Cheap airfare, golf courses, beaches, amusement parks, and fishing. Wealthy retired alumni also live in the Myrtle beach. Akron is close to the FBHOF in Canton. Temple fans need to travel like successful P5 teams. Game on,

  3. Glad I was able to give you an idea for an article. LOL Everything you say is true. Since Pat Kraft took over he benefited his first couple of years on what Bradshaw did, However, in the years since Bradshaw left and what he did faded away, Kraft’s been mediocre. He hired two guys for the football team who do not understand what made Rhule successful and who haven’t grasped that you play a system best suited to the players you have. Don Shula understood that but Collins didn’t and it looks like Carey doesn’t either. Kraft also should have had a national search for a BB coach. I know Mckie’s only had one year as head coach but his recruiting so far hasn’t been good and half his team bailed out when the season ended.

    Couple that with the mediocre teams Kraft’s been scheduling in football, there has to be real concern for the future of the program. I understand that his scheduling makes it easier for the Owls to become bowl eligible but at what cost to the reputation of the program and attendance. St. Joe’s Prep would draw more people that Coastal Carolina, Idaho, or Bucknell.

    • Bradshaw was the guy behind the Penn State and the Notre Dame series. He told me he wanted Temple to have at least 3 P5 games a year in future years. Kraft is running away from the competition with the Lafayettes, Rhode Islands, Norfolk States, Wagners and Coastal Carolinas. The only way that Temple can stand apart from the other G5 is to schedule and beat more P5s than any other G5 school. It’s hard, I know, but good coaching and good recruiting can get the job done.

  4. Also, I love Aaron McKie as a person but did anything you see this past season convince you he’s a good gameday coach? All of these people pushing for him said he would get us the kind of recruits Chaney got. I don’t see any Robert Liburds, Marvin Webster Jrs., Donald Hodges, Kevin Lydes or Lynn Greers (literally, in that last case) on our signee list. Two programs aren’t coming back from the 1980s: Miami football and Temple basketball.

  5. If we’re going to play (no more than) one FCS team a season there’s plenty of them close by and we better make darn sure we clobber them in the process. But Nova often gives us a hard time (last 2 games). We never play Penn – or Princeton for that matter. Lafayette, Delaware (used to be fairly regular), William & Mary, Lehigh, and, yes, even Bucknell are close and if the P5s make us travel to them most of the time we should never have to go to any of the FCS teams. Seems like we can afford one FCS per year but as inexpensive for us as possible. Otherwise it should only be G5s and P5s non-conference.

  6. Coastal Carolina’s stadium looks very similar to the newer MAC stadiums – smallish capacity but nice looking. I’ve said before Temple could follow with similar styles if we ever get an OCS and it would be ok. Ohio U’s stadium is older but has a nice facade.
    John, the pandemic is not only going to hurt football programs but schools – OU here in SE Ohio is in trouble (not just from the pandemic but it certainly made things a lot worse) with staff reductions, salary cuts, etc. The coaches have taken a 10% pay cut – which for the HCs in the big sports still leaves them with plenty. It’s a mess. But you know these level schools have never gotten the attendance that even Temple gets, so little or no fannies in the seats really can’t hurt them that much.

  7. Just read the article John posted about buyout games being so important financially. But doesn’t it cost a lot for any team to travel? How much is left over really by the time they pay for all those players, coaches, support staff, equipment to fly, stay over, etc.? I mean they’re not taking home all that payout money, are they?

  8. Just announced that TU got a commit from NJ running back Johnny Martin, an all-stater as a junior. If the kid actually signs, TU got a hell of a player. Carey had a good week with the signings of the transfers and getting the commitment from this kid.

  9. No Mike today? Everything ok????

  10. Mike:

    I couldnt agree with you more. When I saw this scheduling move, I thought one thing — Small Time. This doesn’t move the ball on any big picture or long term goal. It is not even a punt.

    • My feeling is that we should always be prepared for that “lightning in a bottle” season where we are fortunate enough to go 12-0. Play all FBS opponents (and 3 Power 5 ones) and we are virtually assured of a CFB spot. Keep playing these FCS people will say “Temple: Very nice team but could have played a Big 10 team instead of Lafayette.”

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