At Temple, the grass is always greener inside the fence

For Boston Red Sox fans, the Cloud that hovers over them is the Curse of the Bambino.

For Temple football players who have left via the portal, it’s the Curse of Temple.

There are a few high-profile examples. Leaving Temple has not turned out well for any high-profile player. Take the case of Jadan Blue for instance.

Blue left Temple despite needing only four receptions to tie all-time leading receiver Ventell Bryant (173). At Temple, he held the single-season (95) receiving record.

At Virginia Tech, Blue could only get 10 receptions for the entire season. That’s three fewer receptions than he got in a 2020 game at Memphis. Bad move.

Somebody needs to tell

ABC they forgot a team

Sometimes staying home is the right thing to do.

At Temple, it’s almost always the right thing to do.

All over college football players are entering the portal with the notion the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It seldom is because there are way more players than the scholarships available and you are leaving a guaranteed scholarship at your place with no guarantee of getting one elsewhere.

Plus, there is The Temple Curse.

The Temple curse isn’t as deep as the Bambino, but it’s just as evident. Boston’s baseball team hasn’t been to the World Series in consecutive years since 1915-16, winning both times (including beating the Phillies once). Babe Ruth, in the early stages of his career as MLB’s first great power hitter, won 41 games as a pitcher for those two clubs.

After that, he was traded to the Yankees and the Boston team fell into oblivion for most of the last century.

While that curse has mostly affected Boston fans, this one has affected mostly Temple players who have left.

“You all stay in this thing, man.”

Quincy Roche was the AAC Defensive Player of the Year and was projected by NFL experts as a fourth-round pick if he left Temple for the NFL after his junior season. Instead, he wanted to raise his profile at Miami and it backfired as he finished 2020 as a backup for Manny Diaz and was drafted in the sixth round which cost him some money. In fact, the best move for Roche might have been to remain at Temple, repeat as league MVP, and then move up a tick or two in the draft. Leaving Temple hurt Roche, not helped him.

Quarterback Anthony Russo was virtually assured of setting all of the all-time passing marks at Temple had he remained for his senior season but left for Michigan State instead. The best he could do was ride the pine behind Payton Thorne and entered only one game for an extended period all season, against Youngstown State.

There were extenuating circumstances for the above guys and they could not be blamed for leaving because they hated Rod Carey.

However, the portal was meant for backups, not starters, and starters who have left Temple never had the production elsewhere they did while wearing Cherry and White.

There is no Carey to hate now and plenty of evidence that the grass is not greener on the other side of the Edberg-Olson fence.

Friday (12/9): Algorithms and Priorities

Monday: (12/12): Targets

Friday (12/16): Next man up?

22 thoughts on “At Temple, the grass is always greener inside the fence

  1. Very insightful. The Rod Carey influence on our program was so damaging to the players. We cannot blame them for their frustration, then anger. Anger is a very destructive influence on any person. It breaks marriages, and relationships of any kind. It leads to separation simply to put the pain behind the individual. It is a personal crisis period. With that, I cannot blame our star recruits for leaving the EO and program. We cannot begin to reflect how hard this must have been for them. I think, with this history, Coach Carey will never be a head coach again in the business. Now we have a person in Coach Drayton, that needed to be honest, and dedicated to restore trust, and leadership to the players. The mechanics of college football has changed since Al Golden, given the portal. We do now have evidence that the Drayton culture is a good one. Your previous blog post, raising the play calling questions in the recent later season near misses on victories shows there is a maturity level as a Head Coach that Drayton needs to experience. With Stan’s personality, hard work, and recruiting, I personally feel he can have a winning team, perhaps in year two at Temple. With the restoration of trust and belief in the EO, and a desire to win, it can happen. We saw what can be achieved in this era of football as Tulane being AAC champion. The new programs entering the AAC will be hungry as well. Lets hope that this time next year, our players will be preparing for their bowl game, with a coaching staff intact, and hungry as well. Can this restoration of the program develop into an on campus stadium? I foresee Drayton doing his job. Can the new AD and President do theirs? That remains a prayer for me.

    • HI Don, I’ve seen several of your YouTube music videos, enjoy them , yes I do and I say, ” Ach Du Lieber, sehr Schoen “. Always wanted to tell you ( ernst )

      • If any fans want to see just google “Don Bitterlich” on Youtube if that’s the right way of putting it. We’re going to have to get him to play T for Temple U at the next tailgate and put that on Youtube. 🙂 What I’d really like to see is Don kicking for the Seahawks on Youtube but can’t find any of that.

      • There is a utube of me and two Temple Band alums playing “Fight Temple Fight On” in Lot K with the Temple Dance Team doing their thing. It is really a decent video if you can google it and worth the watch! Don

    • The transfer portal and the NLI have ruined college football. Fans fall in love with their favorites and follow them for four years don’t have that opportunity anymore. It’s definitely a negative for fans. It’s worse for coaches who try to build something. Is it REALLY better for the players when more than 70 percent who entered the portal last year don’t find landing spots? No. The NCAA needs to rethink this whole thing. It’s only better for superstars like the Pitt wide receiver last year. It’s crap for over 70 percent of the players. And people wonder why attendance is down. The answer is right in front of their eyes. For the players it’s like going to a higher paying job at twitter with the intention of buying a bigger house and then finding that Elon Musk laid you off and now you have to live in a tent at 15th and Callowhill. Be careful what you wish for …

  2. Fight on Temple Fight is a much better song than T for Temple U

  3. TU’s lack of NIL $$$$ negatively impacted the offers to top transfer portal athletes. Don’t expect much this year via transfer portal.

    I think the coaching staff will soon make the decision to pivot away from the portal. Don’t waste time on kids you can’t get.

    The focus will soon be squarely on where TUFB can compete, overlooked 2 and 3 stars.

    Bottom line: mantra lives on, TUFB is a developmental program. Lack of NIL $$$$ makes the reality a necessity.

  4. TU’s Best Player on defense just hit the portal. NIL is the culprit, wake up AD, Uni Pres and BOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • He will have significant foot surgery in the offseason. I don’t think Temple is going to pay for it and it could scare suitors away. Still, I thought Drayton would be able to keep players like that and chase off the scout team type players. This has a very Rod Carey feel to it.

      • I was set to renew my season tickets early but seeing this I’m going to wait awhile and see how things pan out with the portal. Agree with you Mike regarding Drayton being able to keep the better players on the roster.

      • My decision to drop my season tickets after 40-plus years is due to this new rule that makes you purchase two seats if you have a seat at the end of a row (which I have had in all the stadiums Temple played in and never had to pay for two seats until this year). Stupid rule when the stadium is empty. Going on a game-by-game basis. If the Owls lose another player whose name rhymes with Varner, I don’t think I will make it to more than a couple of games. Drayton is getting paid $2.5 million to develop relationships with his best players, keep them, and then augment the roster with better players. Tough job but he’s got to earn that pay now.

      • Saw the O-lineman from Pt Pleasant, Skinner, just de-committed. As you said, starting to feel like Carey all over again. I do think KJ has a valid point regarding the BOT and TU and Drayton don’t have the financial resources to effectively compete in the portal/NIL age. We seem to be on the verge of becoming a higher level JUCO for P5 programs.

  5. Not even sure what value these players bring to the companies who are sponsoring them. it’s get a way to get around outright paying of players. Schools like Kent State, Akron and even Pitt and Temple can’t afford to outright pay players. It’s an absolute joke that Pitt puts in the hard work to recruit and develop a guy like Jordan Addison into the best receiver in the country and then USC out-and-out steals him. Same with Varner and Temple. Wish the Temple kids would see what happened with Blue, Russo and Roche and learn a lesson. Obviously, the entrance standards to get into Temple have dropped since I took the SATs.

  6. Also fans (the most important part of college football) are seeing the inequality of the rich getting richer and checking out and going over to the pros where things like the draft even the playing field. College football has no interest in fairness.

  7. If there was a tranfer portal for the band, we’d be down to the trombone player. Maybe the guy who plays taps.

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