The Portal Pandora’s Box

Temple fans have seen the Georgia highlights, but this is what got Ohio State and Georgia’s attention.

The NCAA’s transfer portal always seemed to be a scheme cooked up by the Power 5 schools to further kneecap the Group of Five schools.

For Temple, at least, that’s what it turned out to be.

Owl fans are excited by the addition of Duece Mathis at quarterback but the reality is that they traded a guy with 44 regular-season touchdown passes and 31 interceptions in FBS real games for a guy who has more interceptions than touchdown passes in FBS real games. Interesting that Mathis originally committed to Michigan State, then flipped to Ohio State, then flipped to Georgia.

So in a roundabout way, Temple got Michigan State’s quarterback and Michigan State got Temple’s. One has lots of impressive FBS numbers. The other has impressive potential.

Temple’s major selling point for how long?

Potential, sure, but potential doesn’t win championships or bowl games.

Maybe being in a system that suits his style of play eventually makes Mathis one of the best three quarterbacks in Temple history in terms of numbers and winning percentage (like Anthony Russo was), but only time (three years) will tell.

There’s a flip side of the transfer portal and that’s the Pandora’s Box side of it. As Yahoo sports’ Pete Thamel points out in this excellent story, that side provides a cautionary tale for current players. Thamel quotes current South Florida head coach Jeff Scott saying that there could be as many as 1,000 players in this portal by this week alone who will not find scholarships at any school because those scholarships are almost gone.

The modern definition of Pandora’s Box is a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something.

To me, that describes the transfer portal to an, err, Temple ‘][‘.

The NCAA had a good system going where players had to sit out a year before transferring to another school and it worked well for several decades. Then someone got the idea, hey, if coaches don’t have to sit out a year then players shouldn’t either.

How about coaches sitting out a year? (Yeah, I know schools could be sued for restraint of trade but, in a perfect world, coaches and players would have to sit out a year and fans of the schools could have some sense of continuity.) That would have allowed Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins to go out coaching bowl games for Temple.

This ended under Rod Carey in 2019

That would have been fairer to Temple and all the other G5 schools who lose their head coaches to the P5. Now the P5 has essentially stolen more from the G5 in creating a farm system to they can steal the best G5 players as well. It’s not fair. It’s not a perfect world and this is far from a perfect system.

While it’s still here, and I don’t think it will be for long, Temple should take advantage of it. The Owls have as many as seven scholarships for this class open and they should be able to get two of the best defensive tackles available and at least a couple of great linebackers. With 1,000 players left scrambling for the few scholarships left, Temple would seem to be in a good place to benefit, say, like Sonny Dykes did a couple of years ago when he brought in 15 Power 5 transfers as starters and went 10-2. Either way, this hurts the players who jump thinking getting a landing spot will be easy.

It won’t.

Maybe 1,000 or more players left holding the bag will cause college football to rethink this poorly conceived idea.

Friday: What players are under the Christmas tree?

37 thoughts on “The Portal Pandora’s Box

  1. Good analysis. The portal is a natural progression. There will be so many more stories to follow: winners, losers, and bitcoin futures.

    • Temple should assign their smartest numbers guy/gal in the football operation along with their best film talent evaluator to do this job the next two months. We need DT run stoppers, pass rushers and cover linebackers stat.

  2. Greg Schiano turned Rutgers from the laughingstock of the Big Ten into a competent football team in Year 1. He’s also getting things done on the recruiting trail. Rutgers’ class ranks No. 42 — its best since 2017 — and includes two top-300 national prospects from New Jersey.

    I just cut and pasted this assessment from an article in the Athletic. I know that the Big Ten is better recruiting ground than the AAC will ever be, but hwo can Schiano be this successful at Rutgers? What does Rutgers offer that Temple cannot?

    I guess my point is, how can we not find a coach that can figure out a way to make Temple as attractive as Rutgers?

    • They’re in the P5, it’s literally as simple as that!

      • The P5 is the same reason our own Temple kids are jumping ship so they can play under a “brand name” and up their NFL stock.

        Will it work? Who cares about them anymore, loyalty goes out the window these days.

      • Al Golden can do the same job or better. Temple was in a much lower place in 2005 and he got the Owls in a bowl game against UCLA in four years. The Power 5 was still around. The portal was not but I think Golden can do a much better job retaining players than Carey has done and that’s more than half the battle.

    • Have you ever been to Rutgers? The campus is huge and the amenities spectacular. They have their own golf course, super training facilities, and a pretty nice stadium. It’s close to eastern PA so getting home is not a problem. Rutgers also has a better, richer fan base. It also has Sciano, a proven winner. Finally, it’s not Philadelphia

      • We still have a ways to go and TU has also made notable improvements with facilities, etc., but there’s a couple of key factors at play. Rutgers has seemed to have a bit of a ‘roller coaster’-type relationship with NJ brass, but TU seems to have a downright acrimonious relationship with Philly brass and the Luries. You’ve been talking about an OCS for years and nothing happens (though on my opinion you caught a break with that last project falling through because that stadium model/concept would have been outdated/stifling before it was even finished).

        The P5 conference affiliation is huge. I remember one of our site reporters telling us about a conversation he had with Rhule at one of the camp/combine events (I think sometime in 2015) and he summarized Rhule as saying, ‘we get kids on campus, they like the school, they like the coaches, but they don’t see it (the AAC) as big-time. We need to get them to see how great (TU) can be for them.’ Rhule really seemed to have you on the brink of something great but left at a crucial point. I think you caught a break when Collins left when he due because he seemed full of hot air…

        …but Carey seems like your version of Ash- a cultural ‘fish out of water’ who is not connecting with the kids in the program. He’s likely a better HC than Ash but there’s clearly something going on there that goes beyond what happened on the field this season. We were BRUTAL on the field in ’18 and ’19 and didn’t have starters/2-deep guys fleeing in almost exponential fashion. I saw people here taking shots at RU over the last few years and just shook my head, because with the exception of maybe 5-10 programs, we’re all a bad (or good) hire away from things flipping in the other direction.

        Joe P.

  3. Mike: As Dave said above, good analysis especially as respects the availability of a lot kids that won’t find it as easy to transfer as they thought. I do think the portal is here to stay and now a HC has to have a staff member dedicated to tracking transfer prospects almost as much of the recruiting process of HS players. And if done well by a HC with charisma (huge factor), it might work well for the upper echelon G5 schools. Other AAC schools seem to have done well with it. Just think of some of the NFL QB’s that were frustrated at their P5 schools, Tom Brady and Joe Flacco come to mind. And think of a kid that should’ve left TU but stayed. What’s-his-name, the guy with the Cardinals? The long snapper was on scholarship when Reddick wasn’t. The point is there are hidden gems out there for the finding. I know you just can’t recruit them before they enter the portal. But a school like TU with a lot to offer should strive to excel at the use of the portal system.

  4. This was not the year to go into the portal. That’s because of the additional year of eligibility due to Covid. With fewer players leaving and many opting to play another year spots are really limited. When Covid is no longer a factor, the portal will return to some normalcy and there won’t be as many kids looking to transfer.

  5. Wow, good on Mike for showing a graphic that highlighted Dave Patenaude’s offense despite all the detractors.

  6. Uremovich (and really Carey because he’s the CEO) makes Collins and Patenaude look like Sid Gillman and Collins and Patenaude made Matt Rhule and Glenn Thomas look like Wayne Hardin, who was probably the greatest offensive mind I ever saw, pro, college or high school.

    • Khris Banks entered the portal this morning. One of our few remaining decent defensive tackles and, arguably, the only good one.

    • MR’s first order of business, get buy-in from the players currently in the locker room.

      Carey’s first order of business, get rid of the players currently in the locker room.

      Workers quit their boss before they quit their job. Kids are quitting Carey.

      This is analogous to the Patenaude infamous sideline incident.

      “Whoever refuses to hear the cry of the poor will also cry himself, but he won’t be answered.” Proverbs 21:13

      Hello! Stubborn comes to mind, or is it just plain stupid? He should abolish the single digit, he doesn’t really understand it.

      Anyone who believes the Uremovich offense can win a championship in No Philly does not know TUFB.

      • …it’s similar to what Ash did when he got to Rutgers (basically said everything was subpar, talent was bad, one player (Janarion Grant) was the only one who could fo anything, everything needed to go and it was going to take 5+ years to be competitive…proceeds to go 2-10, 4-8, 1-11, 1-3 before getting fired after yet another blowout and we finished 2-10…Schiano comes in, starts telling the players how much he believes in them, gives an inspiring “this program isn’t broken!!!!” speech at halftime of the Seton Hall bball game, and in the first game of the season the team pretty much scored almost as many points in the win vs Michigan State than they did in Ash’s last 11 games vs B1G opponents).

        …losses can also often give more insight than wins. TU seems to get routed (not counting the last few games of this year due to the obvious COVID issues) a lot more under Carey than the previous coaches.

        Joe P.

  7. Here’s the guy you get to revive this program (which is effectively cooked) with this coach. Hire Jeff Nixon as head coach, Gabe as Associate Head Coach. Two young guys with enthusiasm, energy and a knowledge of what it takes to win at TU. Nixon has a very good resume, Temple experience, Philly experience, experience from the Ivy league to the NFL. You don’t have to pay him $2 million that you pay this guy (way, way overpaid him), pay him $1 million and get this program back w/ some energy.

    It won’t happen, i can dream. Temple will have another miserable year in 2021. They will wait until year is over, fire this guy and then start all over. A really bad hire of Carey. Nothing personal, not the guy to lead this program.

    Joe P., You are correct they got routed in games. Smoked. These players don’t buy into this guy (if you want to disagree w/ me fine, but look at the # of players rolling).

  8. AAC stinking up the joint today. Tulane got killed and UCF against BYU looks like TU against BYU. So much P-6, More like P U 6.

    • Incredibly disheartening and an illustration to how far the football program has sunk. UCF toyed with Temple 38-13 and BYU is toying with UCF. Temple goes from playing No. 9 Notre Dame basically even on national television to a complete joke in four years. That’s a little on Collins but mostly on Carey.

  9. Playing Career
    1993-94 | West Virginia University
    1995-96 | Penn State University

    1997 | Penn State University | Student Assistant
    1998 | Princeton University | Running Backs
    1999-2002 | Shippensburg University | Running Backs
    2003-05 | University of Tennessee-Chattanooga | Running Backs, Tight Ends, Special Teams
    2006 | Temple University | Running Backs
    2007-10 | Philadelphia Eagles | Offensive/Special Teams Assistant
    2011-15 | Miami Dolphins | Running Backs
    2016 | San Francisco 49ers | Tight Ends
    2017-19 | Baylor University | Co-Offensive coordinator/Running Backs
    2020-pres | Carolina Panthers | Senior Offensive Assistant/Running Backs

    Jeff Nixon Resume

  10. How many TUFB all-conference players and starters have quit on Carey? He now holds the distinction of having the most starters leave the program in TUFB history.

    To heck w/opinion, what are the facts? Carey has bad facts.

  11. Years ago I enjoyed the privilege of attending a Wednesday practice session. Delvon Randle knocked the crap out of Armstead. Armstead broke through and was heading for what appeared to be a long run. Bam, Randle gave him the business.

    My jaw dropped. Both players jumped right up after the hit, helping each other off the ground. Temple Tuff, business as usual, no big deal….,

    Collins sent Temple Tuff downhill. Carey is holding it at rock bottom. This is not fake news. The Carey apologists have right to opinion, o.k., got it. But look at the facts. The Carey followers are living in his crazy alternative reality.

    Bright spots, signs of greatness, anywhere in Temple Athletics today?

    • John, I would have to respectfully disagree with you, I find it extremely curious that Temple Starter’s are now deciding to leave this coaching staff.. Some of these players went though coaching changes of Ruhle to Collins to Diaz(SMH) to Carey and stayed… Now under Carey, actual starter’s are leaving… It’s bigger than they want to play on a P5 level.. If they don’t trust these coaches, why would want to stay… With the Transfer Portal, the option is on the table… As a TU Alum, its a kick in the pants

      • Sorry. Like Mike said these kids have been raised on the belief that life should be wonderful 24/7 and that criticism is verboten. You see it all of the time. Fact is that last year was the first year the full portal was in existence. Before then, players had to sit out a year if they transferred to a D-1 school unless they could prove an actual hardship. These kids have never been taught loyalty or what making a commitment means. Things won’t be better at another school with those attitudes.

    • I wonder if the kids are the product of a participation trophy mentality. It’s been a generation (or more, at least more than 25 years) of kids who have been weaned on everyone getting an equal amount of playing time in T-ball and the lower little leagues regardless of ability. When I played in the “olden days” 🙂 if you weren’t in the starting lineup and wanted to play, you’d get dad to throw you fastballs until your fingers blistered and only then, after the hitting skills were honed, you played your way into the starting lineup.

  12. Roche left his new team in the lurch by opting out of bowl game. Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.

    • among the things ruining college football for me is: 1) coaches leaving before bowls; 2) players leaving before bowls; 3) the transfer portal; 4) the unfair playoff system. I’m sure there not only will be more in the future but there are more reasons now I that I missed.

  13. So, is it more leaving because of Carey or more the lure of the portal – probably a combination. What’s not in question, as Mike said, is that the P5 now has another way to diminish the G5 for their own benefit. It’s all about a money grab, more, more, more……selfishness and greed, and the coaches and players play right into it. Carey might be getting P5 transfers but they’re not top rung P5 players. Hopefully they will fill the empty spots somewhat equally to what has left Temple. We’ll see.

    • Buy the easy scapegoat, the portal? Or, Covid? Carey apologists will attribute anything to save him.

      What about Cincy, UCF, Memphis, Coastal Carolina, Liberty, Buffalo, SMU, etc? They all faced the same challenges…, And, starters aren’t leaving those programs in droves.

      The HC matters. G5 teams with successful coaches have successful programs.

      Right now, TUFB is a losing program. Losing its tradition, starters, and support orchestrated by a losing coach.

      Fran Carey.

      • …I got to give you credit KJ; you look at multiple factors and at least didn’t resort to tampering accusations like I recently saw elsewhere (just my opinion but you don’t see 10+ starters/2-deep guys all leave a school/program via transfer within a year to different programs because of ‘tampering’; once is an incident, twice is a concern, 3+ more times it’s a pattern).

        Joe P.

      • KJ, you’re confusing explaining why he can’t be blamed for the horrific season with support for Carey. All that was said is that covid restrictions and a rash of injuries put him behind the 8 ball and any coach in his position would have had similar results. It’s objective, not subjective. About kids going into the portal, until a player says it and owns it, no one can say that kids are leaving because of Carey and not wanderlust. No one was complaining about Carey when he beat Maryland, GT, and Memphis last season. If he’s 2-10 next season and it’s a normal season he should be gone.

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