Still within reach for Temple: An AAC title

Temple will need to hit the local high schools to come away with a recruiting haul.

Plenty of things that were once not only possible in sports but actually occurred have no shot of happening again.

Fortunately, horse racing proved that a $30,000 claiming horse with an 80-1 shot can beat the 4-1 and 7-2 shots and still win the Kentucky Derby as Rich Strike did on Saturday.

That was a great moment in sports history.

Other great moments, though, are slip-sliding away.

Robin Roberts’ 28-straight complete games for the Philadelphia Phillies?

No shot ever since somebody came up with a pitch count.

Maury Wills’ 104 stolen bases for the 1960s Dodgers?

No way.

Ted Williams’ .406 batting average?

Err, no.

Baseball, though, despite declining impressive stats is infinitely fairer to the have-nots than college football is.

Because college football is controlled by the big-name, big-conference, schools, the likelihood that we will ever see another Group of Five football team in the playoffs is as remote as all of the above baseball records being broken.

Heck, there is even talk of the Power 5 splitting away from the rest of the NCAA and starting its own version of March Madness.

That means no more terrific stories like the ones crafted by schools like Butler, George Mason, Loyola of Chicago, and, most recently, St. Peter’s. They were the Rich Strikes of college basketball.

If that happens, the basketball tournament loses much of its appeal. Hell, Mike Leach makes a good argument here as to why college football should be more inclusive, not less, after the Kentucky Derby result. Gotta give that guy credit because he is one of the few haves to advocate for the have-nots.

Temple football came within 16 points of a 12-0 season in 1979 and a likely national championship if they were able to find those points, but that kind of ceiling got raised so high it’s in another galaxy by now.

What is the current Temple football ceiling?

Certainly, an AAC football title is within reach, probably not this year, but certainly 2-3 years down the road.

The Owls will have to use their advantages (located in a big city with plenty of NLI opportunities) plus having a charismatic head coach who should be a great recruiter. By then, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will be gone and, if Temple can’t compete for titles with the Memphises, Tulanes, USFs and Tulsas, the administration will have to do some serious soul-searching about its football future.

Heck, even with Cincy, Houston and UCF to compete against, it wasn’t all that long ago that Temple appeared in consecutive football title games and won one of them.

The formula remains the same: A committed, enthusiastic, head coach who can attract only 25 great players in a recruiting area that holds 46 percent of the nation’s population within a five-hour drive.

That standard existed roughly five years ago. For the future to mean anything, it must be revisited.

Friday: Your Next QB?


7 thoughts on “Still within reach for Temple: An AAC title

  1. I believe the 1950s was the last decade were competitive football existed between a large number of teams,. It was a time when teams like Army, Navy and Princeton could be seen ranked in the nation’s top 25, with others like Boston University, SMU, George Washington, Holy Cross, Rutgers and Tulane receiving votes. I recall as a young dude seeing Penn play Penn State before a crowd of around of 70,000 fans in Franklin Field.. Things began to change in the 1960s as the divide between the haves and the have nots began to widen and continued to widen as the years went by. So I agree with Mike, teams that remain in the Group of Five are likely never again to appear in the national playoffs. It is what it is I guess. But who really knows what the future holds for college football? Only time will tell.

  2. I seriously doubt Temple will ever get offered admittance to a P5 conference given that previous opportunities have failed miserably. That said, I have stated before that the AAC is perfect for Temple competitively speaking – even though it is about to become watered down pretty soon. But until Temple starts making decisions and commitments like Cincy, Houston and UCF did, they will never advance their athletic situation.
    Which leads me to another comment about Temple’s overall athletic history. It irks the hell out of me to see just about every other school in the nation (even small ones) that field baseball, softball, men’s track & field, men’s gymnastics, wrestling, swimming/diving, and other sports – all of which Temple dropped somewhere along the line. How the hell can Nova with less than 10K students (and be nationally competitive), LaSalle, Drexel, et all have most of those sports and Temple can’t? And how the hell can Liberty all of a sudden have nationally competitive teams in many sports? Our new president and AD need to address this conundrum.

    • Agree 100%! The university needs to get serious about an on-campus stadium. Put some pressure on City administrators and try to convince them that it would be good not only for the U, but also for the neighborhood and city as well! Yeah, there’s been both neighborhood and city opposition to this in the past but that needs to be reversed if Owl football is to continue at at FBS level. At least the decision to drop Crew was reversed. Temple always seems to be competitive here.

    • The NIL era will preclude TUFB from acquiring the best players in the portal. It will also severely hamstring HS recruiting. Blame Pat Kraft for two dismal post MR hires.

      But that crap happens when you have an interim uni president and inept BOT.

  3. One of the things that really hurt us in the old Big East was that the level of competition was too high for the type of program that we had. We were at that time closer to 1AA football than 1A. The BE took note of this and gave us the boot. We came back as a MAC team and did much better. The AAC indeed does seem to be our level. It’s gotten tough as of late but with the three top teams leaving we should be very competitive against in the conference.
    A few conf championships will do wonders for our program.
    We were P5 (BCS) back in the old Big East. We failed too make the type of investments and commitment to be successful. We had a good chance at a campus stadium back in 1999 but instead we signed on to the Linc.
    Seems like sadly we have to live with that decision for a long time. It could be 20, 30 or so years before we could get a stadium …

  4. Mike
    Went to the PJ Whelihan’s in Blue Bell last night for the “tour”. The event was nice enough, but also kinda half-assed, just like anything Temple.

    The new coach was nice, so was the AD, but in a word……….uninspiring. I hope that first impressions are wrong, but there was a noticeable lack of “it” all around. They both had better personalities than Carey, but that ain’t setting the bar high.

    I know that the Owls have been as low as they can be in the past and have survived, but I can’t shake the idea that we are witnessing the beginning of the end here.

  5. Pat Kraft, an interim uni president, and an inept board of trustees are to blame. TUFB whiffed on the opportunity to capitalize on MR’s success. Think about where TUFB was then compared to Cincy and UCF. Now both are going to the P5 and TUFB is going nowhere really fast.

    Imagine if Pat Kraft had done his job and picked an adequate successor to MR.

    He is directly responsible…,

    The BOT’s lack of vision during the Big East years landed TUFB a spot in the MAC.

    History repeated after MR. Instead of going all in w/an OCS and big time HC, an asleep at the wheel BOT allowed Pat Kraft to make program killing hires.

    The NIL era is here, at least for the next several years. TUFB can’t compete in the present environment.

    The NCAA will soon split into three classes. The P5 will get richer. The number of G5 schools will grow and the money for each school will be less.

    The FCS will get the remaining crumbs.

    The BOT doesn’t get it, nor does it have a sustainable vision for Temple Sports.

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