Somewhere in the new few days, the person who will be Temple’s new athletic director will sit down with the President and the Board of Trustees and discuss a vision for the future of the Owls’ athletic program.
Memo to that guy or gal:
Tell the BOT that you won’t be scheduling Wagner in football anymore or, for that matter, Stony Brook or Bucknell and you will work to get Lafayette and Rhode Island off future Owl schedules.
The reasoning is simply this: The entire goal of the Temple athletic department should be to get in a Power 5 Conference. That ship may have already sailed but just in case it returns to the Port of Philadelphia, the university should be positioned for a promotion, not a demotion.
The way to do it is this: Schedule four Power 5 schools and beat two of them on a regular basis. Create some juice on the sidelines and in the stands. If this coaching staff can’t do it, find one that will.
When the story of Pat Kraft is written at Temple, he will be known for a formula that puts a FCS team on the schedule every year, two Power 5s and another G5 school. He will also be known for giving the Owls Geoff Collins for two years, Manny Diaz for 18 days and Rod Carey for probably a short time as well.
It’s not a good look.
The new AD should have a bolder mission for Temple sports and that’s to put the Owls on course to be a winner in their two major sports.
Around the time the Owls are thumping Wagner in a glorified practice, Diaz’s Miami team will be playing Central Connecticut State. My educated guess is that Diaz will put an 81-0 thumping on CCS, the alma mater of former Temple head coach Steve Addazio. About a thousand miles North of that game, Temple will probably beat Wagner somewhere on the order of 61-7. The most competitive game Wagner played this year was a 21-19 loss to Central Connecticut State.
What do both games prove?
That’s a wasted weekend from the standpoint of program branding. Consider this: Four years ago, Wagner played UConn to a three-point loss. The next week it lost by 10 to East Stroudsburg University, a Division II program. When I went to Temple, that school was known as East Stroudsburg State Teachers College.
Miami’s brand can survive a game against Central Connecticut State and Penn State’s brand can survive one against Villanova. Temple doesn’t have that luxury.
Temple should never play a team that had a Division II team on the schedule so recently, let alone lost to it.
The argument in the interview room should be two-fold: One, play the Power 5 and have some success against them and put fans in the stands and get television ratings in the largest available market that doesn’t have a P5 team; two, if you need to beat a FCS team to get to six wins when 130 teams play FBS football, you need to get out of the football-playing business.
Temple does not need to get out of that business but needs to rejuvenate the product by winning.
Because the Owls have proven they can win big in football under Matt Rhule and Al Golden (and to a lesser extent Addazio and Collins) and draw huge TV ratings, that should be the new AD’s vision again. Golden is out there, but if he doesn’t want the job, surely there are young Al Goldens out there who can recapture the magic of Temple TUFF.
It has been done before and it can be done in the future.
That’s the bold vision the BOT needs to hear and a plan to execute it should be outlined.
Their next words should be:
Latest update: Picked Wyoming to beat UConn, 41-7 (it won only 24-22), picked Toledo to beat Ball State 24-14 (it won 22-12), Western Michigan to beat San Jose State, 31-21 (it won 23-3), Boston College to beat Missouri, 24-21 (it won, 31-24). With that 3-1 record against the spread, we are 10-5-1 (with the push being Wyoming-NIU) ATS this season.
Picks this week: Liking 3 favorites and 1 dog this week. Wyoming 41, UCONN 7 (Wyoming favored by 29.5), Toledo 24, Ball State 14 (Toledo favored by 5), Western Michigan 31, San Jose State 21 (Western Michigan favored by 3), Boston College 24, Missouri 21 (Missouri favored by 1.5).
Last week’s update: Tulane let me down, but Wyoming easily covered, Northwestern lost, Tulsa covered, Purdue lost and Michigan State not only covered but won outright. So so far for the season 7-4-1 against the spread.
Late Saturday: Game, such as it is, analysis