Memo to new AD: No More Wagners

Notre Dame is the kind of team TU should play, not Wagner

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.

Temple can deliver the 4th largest market only if it gets bold with the schedule

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.

This streak ended under Carey.

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?

Absolutely nothing.

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:

“You’re hired.”

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


11 thoughts on “Memo to new AD: No More Wagners

  1. Mike, This is spot on. The key word in your entry here is “branding”. Playing lower level teams / programs do nothing for the Temple program. Moreover, it hurts Temple. What Kraft likely made a president in his “wisdom” was grabbing {maybe} 2 sure wins for bowl eligibility. That can be the only reason. Next point you targeted was vision for the program. Al Golden then Matt Rhule coined this perspective as “making Temple Football relevant”. What significance is tomorrow’s match up. None. Frankly, less then nothing. There is no gain for Temple in the program’s vision of relevance in playing Wagner. The second vision from Al Golden, then Matt Rhule was to get an invitation to a Power 5 conference. I had no doubt that had Matt stayed at Temple, we would be in a Power 5 conference now. We perhaps would also have a beautiful stadium on Broad Street. Tailgating on campus, and having the marching band leading the team walking across campus on the “fly in” into Temple Stadium. This concept, when Al took over was exciting, and his vision restored passion within the Temple Football program. Now, I sense nothing. The BOT must recover this vision. Who is the man to lead this? Al? Gabe? I do not know. But the next hire, must be the right one. This vision must be resurrected.

  2. Mike

    Must be Groundhog Day at TFF. Feels like you’ve written this message before. Question is how remote are then chances that the BOT has their ears open?

    Slim and none right?

    • Hoping wingard pushes the conversation in the right direction. He’s from Philly. He’s got to understand the benefits school received from beating Penn State and playing Notre Dame.

  3. You don’t play Wagner when you already have Akron on your schedule.

    • Much rather play a MAC or Mountain West school or even a Sun Belt team than a FCS team. Agreed. Still think we should upgrade our coaching and do what UCF did — go out and beat P5s on a regular basis. That’s what got them big crowds, TV ratings and a P5 invite.

  4. I have no interest in this game, unless Wagner wins in OT.

  5. Game Notes, we were among the low count of attendee’s.
    1 – The Linc was Empty, Empty. ( I wonder why and maybe I know why ).

    2- Punt returner ( #85) did 3 stupid things near the ball, one was a fumble lost, other 2 were damn lucky. He is very undecided as to what to do there.

    3- Our QB Mathis is back. Our QB Mathis has about 0 ‘touch factor’ when it comes to short passes. He loves low low throw which we can not catch ?
    Many drive were lost because he was often ‘low and outside’, geeze.

    4 – I found myself admiring the several good plays by Wagner, got to love their spirit and drive.

    5- Temple was not even strong on Offense against a division 3 type team, oh my… What can this ‘portend’ for next real games???

    So folks I spoke with I’d say not too much love for coaching yet.

    ****The Linc was Empty, Empty. ( I wonder why ? Oh yes i said that and I think I know why.)

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