Had to bail on my good friends from the beautiful town of Palmerton at halftime on Saturday.
I was having such a good time watching the game and talking that I didn’t realize the sun on that side of the field was eating me up until I looked down at my arms in the concourse.
Found a nice shady place in the second half to watch the game and avoided what would have even been a more painful Sunday.
Then I came home and rewatched the game on TV and saw what the kids today would call another sick burn.
The relatively decent crowd on the Temple side was never shown because the TV pointed to my side of the field, which is now the “visiting side.” They showed the crew from Palmerton and a few other Temple fans who decided to keep their seats in 121, 122 and 123 from a couple of years ago but never the more populated side of the field which once was the visiting side and is now the home one. There were about 10,000 times the amount of fans on the home side but that’s not what the nation saw. (Or whatever part of the nation is watching a TU-UMass game on ESPN+.)
That led to some of these snide comments on the internet. We will post one from the UConn board but there were similar comments on both the UMass and Rutgers boards.
You know what?
It did look like a dozen fans because the TV cameras are situated on the other side and shooting at what is now the visiting side.
Since the home side was moved a couple of years ago, the optics have been terrible. The Owls have taken an attendance hit since 2015, going from No. 1 in the AAC in attendance to now ninth with 25,864 over two games. They average roughly the same as SMU (26,509) and are well ahead of Tulsa (19,712) and Tulane (14,501) but nobody writes they are watching the SMU, Tulsa and Tulane games “in front of 12 fans.”
That’s what a 70K stadium combined with shooting the empty side will do to your national perception.
The TV cameras are permanent and can’t be moved yet there is a permanent solution to the problem that can be solved next year with the stroke of a pen in the AD’s office.
Move the fans back to the spots they had under Matt Rhule, Steve Addazio, Al Golden and the now-fired Geoff Collins. It was Golden’s idea to have the cameras shoot at the home side and AD Bill Bradshaw agreed. The other coaches inherited a good plan. Then he who shall remain nameless wanted the home team on the other side and Pat Kraft caved to his fellow Indiana grad.
With the challenges Temple has filling a 70K-seat stadium (most other teams in the same league don’t even approach filling 30K stadiums), why exacerbate the problem when you don’t have to? Shooting cameras at an empty visiting side gives the impression that Temple football is a failed product, at least from a ticket-selling perspective. In reality, Temple usually (during winning seasons) is in the upper half of the conference in tickets sold per game. It just looks empty in a 70K-seat stadium. When Temple decided to build a 35K stadium in 2016 (apparently dead now), the official mission statement from the university included this explanation.
Why make it look worse?
Watching from the, err, Rutgers’ side a week ago I was very proud that Temple fans doubled RU fans in numbers and tripled them from a decibel level perspective. Temple has its fan challenges on days other than Homecoming and it is only going to get worse when teams like UAB, North Texas, Rice and others are added to the league. They don’t bring fans like Cincy and UCF do. (Heck, even Houston doesn’t bring people to Philly.)
Avoiding TV showing only the empty side of the field over the next few years is a sick burn Temple can cure without even a drop of sunscreen.
Friday: TU-Memphis Preview (taking off the gloves)