When we last left this episode of “As the Pandemic Turns” the Owls’ former conference, the MAC, dropped football (for at least a year) and rumblings were the Big 10 presidents were leaning in the same direction.
Hard to believe, Harry, but the AAC and the rest of the, err, “P6” forge ahead.
Temple is holding its preseason camp and plans are for a full season so far. The SEC, Big 12, PAC-12 and ACC also seem committed to forging ahead with a limited schedule.
If there is a season, fans are not likely to attend and this will be a studio season only.
Where’s the silver lining?
Since there is no incentive for six or seven home games, the Owls can (and probably should) go on the road to fill out less attractive home dates (Idaho, Rutgers for example) with more attractive opponents.
There are two camps of Temple fans when playing P5 schools. One group who feel the Owls can no longer compete against those opponents (bolstered by arguments supplied in the last two bowl games) and another group who feel that the only way for the Owls to join the big boys is to compete and beat them.
I’m in the latter group.
The Owls were 3.5-point favorites over Duke and probably lost that game largely due to the staff leaving for Georgia Tech. (I know many of them stayed to coach the game but a lot of time paid for by Temple was spent recruiting for Georgia Tech.)
There was no excuse for a thumping last year to North Carolina so these Owls should get another chance to play with a chip on their collective shoulders. Pitt is one of those schools that lost a game on a date the Owls did and could be looking for a home opponent. There are several other P5s, plus BYU, which is a G5 school with a high profile, under similar scheduling dilemmas. Since this season is largely a TV production, networks who pay the freight like ESPN could be looking to pair high-profile G5 schools, like Temple, against other P5 schools who might have refused to play the Owls in the past.
Yet this was a team with the talent to beat Georgia Tech and Maryland during the regular season and has done well against Power 5 teams during recent past regular seasons, including a 37-7 win at Vanderbilt and a 27-10 win over Penn State. If there was ever a season to schedule four Power 5 teams and break up the Pat Kraft scheduling formula of playing two patsies and two P5s, this is such a season. Interim athletic director Fran Dunphy said the Owls are actively looking for non-conference replacements. Since the patsies aren’t playing this year, that points to the Power 5s.
It would be great to see the Owls find four P5s needing a home game and giving these players an opportunity for four wins.
If there’s a silver lining for this season, that’s it.
Even if it’s a sliver of one.
Friday: The Next Big Announcement