A sliver of a silver lining

Throwback Thursday: TU beats No. 4-ranked Pitt

Penn State might not need a foe, but Pitt does

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?

Penn State v Temple

Nothing more satisfying than beating a P5 school as Robby Anderson and fans here celebrate after PSU win.

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

19 thoughts on “A sliver of a silver lining

  1. It looks like the axe is about to fall on the Idaho game. The Big Sky is moving conference play to the spring.

    There is no official word on out-of-Conference games, so the door might still be open, but…..

  2. Like I said in March, there is not going to be a season. News this morning that Big 10 and Pac 12 are likely to cancel the season puts pressure on every other league. If one player dies or suffers a life-long debilitating condition, the liability could bankrupt the school where it occurred. Absent a vaccine or sure fire viable treatment, it’s wait til next year for sure.

  3. More of a silver lining ……..
    With the Big 10 and Pac 12 possibly cancelling their seasons, if the AAC pulls it off and has a season, we may end up in the top 10!!!!!

  4. If the odds of a player dying or getting a life long debilitating condition from covid are the conditions for canceling the season then college football should just be abolished completely. Since the chances of either of those 2 occurrences from the “normal” practice and play is much greater than happening from covid.

  5. Mike! I’m not at all optimistic we’ll see the Owls on any field this year. And especially in that case — if the season goes dark — I wanted to thank you for the many years of good football journalism. (And commentary too.) Hopefully….we’ll have games to see!

  6. If this keeps up we may move up from a top 10 team to a top 5 team!!! LOL

  7. Seems like Aresco is ignoring the real, bottom line of the COVID-19 situation, ie.: the stats of the counties Temple’s opponents play in may have leveled off or gotten better from peek case numbers but they’re still higher than they were awhile back, according to the article (and could easily get worse again). Even if nobody dies (and that’s only an assumption), contracting the virus can have the potential long term health effects that can be devastating (heart problems maybe the worst). These are young people who naturally feel they’re invulnerable, but are not, and they want to play more than anything which overpowers their sense of critical thinking and being careful. Yes it’s possible without football they could become more careless in social and campus situations, but forcing them into close contact with spitting, etc. going on just heightens the situation. I guess if the rules/protocols are strictly followed only healthy guys will be allowed on the field and sideline it could work and we can enjoy watching the games. Best of luck to everyone.

  8. Here’s a wild idea…..with Scott Frost and Nebraska going bonkers over the Big Ten pulling the plug in the season, would anybody object to the AAC swooping in and taking the Cornhuskers on?

    I would never do it just for a season as some seem to be suggesting, but would it be reasonable to listen if they called and wanted to sign say a ten year contract?

    • It would take the Nebraska BOT and President to get behind that. That said the big 12 going forward probably could squeeze them in for games on a 1-year basis.

      • Nebraska made a lot of mistakes including getting rid of Frank Solich and abandoning the Big 12. That being said, I can’t see them defying the Big 10 by playing football because regardless of the fact that they are just a middling team in the Big10 it is the richest conference that provides each member a small fortune because of the Big 10 network, I can’t see them risking their membership for the Big 12 especially because the Big 12 is actually the Big 2 and both Oklahoma and Texas could both decide at any time to go to the SEC thereby destroying the conference.

  9. Picking up a non-conference game with West VA would be good – geographically close, they’re not real good right now (so we might actually have a chance), it’s a P5 program and an old rivalry.

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