In 1599, William Shakespeare first used the phrase “timing is everything” in his play Julius Caesar.
Tell Temple football fans about it.
Especially over the last five days.
That’s true both in a micro sense and a macro one.
Micro because a week ago today we talked about a driving rain at Rutgers on Thursday night being the great point-spread equalizer should the game be played in its scheduled time slot. We mentioned 32-point underdog Navy beating Penn State, 7-6, in a driving rainstorm in 1974. That year, Navy finished 4-7 and Penn State 10-2.
Instead of a simple rainstorm, we got a 100-year flood and there was no great point-spread equalizer because it was pushed to a perfect weather Saturday. Had the game been played on Thursday, Rutgers would have probably won but it would not have been 61-14.
The macro came to bite Temple in the ass with another aspect of its scheduling with Rutgers. The Owls and Scarlet Knights went eight years without a game and, in the space of those eight years, Temple was 49-36 and Rutgers 21-58.
Think Temple could have won a lot of games against Rutgers had it been on the schedule those eight years?
Certainly in 2019 when the Owls beat Maryland, 20-17, at Lincoln Financial Field and, later that same year, the Terrapins traveled to Rutgers and won, 48-7. Temple finished 8-5 that year; Rutgers 2-10.
Nothing, though, in the macro world of timing hurt Temple than the news that broke Friday and will probably be confirmed sometime this week.
The Big 12 expanded and took Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU.
This means a lot more to Temple’s long-term football future than any 61-14 loss.
Had the Big 12 imploded in, say, 2017 and not 2021, there’s a real good chance Temple would have been one of those four schools because the Owls were coming off two double-digit winning years where they led the league in average attendance in one year (2015) and proved they could deliver the Philadelphia TV market when their game against Notre Dame was the highest-rated ever college football game in prime time TV in Philly.
Mind you, Notre Dame and Penn State were on prime time TV in the Philly market five times before that so Temple, not Penn State, proved to be the team that could deliver those kind of numbers in the market.
Since Philadelphia is the nation’s fourth-largest market, it is the largest one currently without a P5 team. Holding the market, though, is one of many factors the Big 12 considered and what happened since 2016 has killed Temple’s chances, maybe for good.
The Owls picked a terrible time to go 1-6 last year and the perception of the Owls as a P5 target slipped precipitously. Nobody is picking Temple coming off a 1-6.
Now the Owls find themselves in a watered-down AAC with probably a lot less coming than the $7 million TV money they get per year. Bad timing since they are on the hook to pay an underperforming head coach $2 million per for three more years.
Bad luck for the Owls, definitely, but even worse timing. The loss of dollars coming in tie the administration’s hands long-term.
If Bill Shakespeare were around, he’d probably say we’re heading for a winter of our discontent and it might be more than one.
Friday: Akron Preview
Sunday: Game Analysis
Monday: Not Like That