Loving The Schedule on Valentine’s Day


Over the next few weeks, fans are going to be hearing a lot about Quadrant 1 and 2 wins.

It’s a new way for the NCAA to determine the at-large teams in the 68-team men’s basketball field and assigns weight to each win based on a formula of RPI, the strength of schedule and home or away.

Fortunately, college football fans don’t have to worry about that.

Every win is just as important as the rest and that’s why I have never understood the phrase “trap game” or “letdown.” When you play only a dozen regular-season games, there should be no trap games or letdowns. You work your tail off for 353 days and get to show the fruits of that labor on the rest of the days so every Saturday should be showtime.

Penciling in wins and losses this far away is a fun exercise fraught with dangers. In Temple football history, there have always been unexpected wins and losses and that’s every year, not just every few years. The only outlier was the 1979 season when the Owls won every game they were supposed to win and reached up and upset a team or two on the way to a 10-2 season.


Cupid loves this Temple schedule, with the exception of the Bucknell game.

Still, the season can somewhat be broken down into quadrants. The technical meaning of a quadrant is four quarters of a circle.

In college football, that’s three games apiece.

Coming out of the first quadrant, the college football “world” probably expects Temple to come out 2-1 with wins over Bucknell and Buffalo and a loss to revenge-minded Maryland. Temple fans know better. I have to like the Owls’ chances at home in that one. Bucknell is a given and pretty much this same team (minus Rock Armstead) was able to thrash Maryland on the road last year.

So that’s a 3-0 quadrant in my mind.

The second quadrant is a little tougher with a home game against Georgia Tech, a trip to ECU, and a home game against Memphis. In my mind, any time you take Dave Patenaude off Temple you give the Owls an extra seven points. When you take him out of Temple and give him to the bad guys, that’s another seven points for the Owls. So that’s a win.

ECU will not be a 49-6 cakewalk that it was last time because Mike Houston is a far better coach than Scotty Montgomery. Memphis has had four solid recruiting years and seamless coaching so that’s a tough one, even at home. We’ll give that quadrant a 2-1, leaving the Owls at 5-1 at the midway mark.

Owls should win at SMU to kick off the third quadrant but UCF will be tough. That game looked winnable when Milton McKenzie–easily the single best player who faced Temple last season–went down with a broken leg, but UCF went out and replaced him with Brandon Wimbush. So that game suddenly becomes more problematic than it already was and, realistically, a loss. Owls bounce back at SMU. Getting a week off before traveling to USF for the next game should help so we will make that a 2-1 quadrant for a 7-2 record.

Owls finish off with home games against Tulane and UConn sandwiched around a tough trip to Cincy and 2-1 would be a decent way to finish up that quadrant for a 9-3 season.

Of course, you always hope for 12-0 and a league championship but, given these quadrants, signing for 9-3 right now would be a nice consolation prize.

Saturday: The Alliance of Football and Temple


A Trade That Benefits Both Ballclubs


Bucknell might be able to entice Nicholls State to visit its 13,100-seat Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium on 8/31

On the floor level of the Wells Fargo Center, there were smiles all around Sunday afternoon for what Sixers’ general manager Elton Brand was able to pull off.

He immediately upgraded the Sixers with a megastar like Tobias Harris and some valuable pieces that upgraded the bench. Still, like any good trade, to get something Brand had to give something and those were mostly draft picks that are going to make the Clippers a more valuable franchise down the road.

The Sixers are playing for now. The Clippers are playing for the future. It was a trade that benefited both ballclubs considering their current circumstances.


The reaction of most Temple fans when they first saw Bucknell on the schedule

That’s why current Temple athletic director Dr. Pat Kraft should be considering a trade for the football Owls. Getting Bucknell off the schedule would benefit the Bison from decimating their current roster due to injuries and would benefit Temple by getting it a possible Power 5 win the Owls might desperately need if they were fortunate enough to win the AAC.

“We just got a better today; a lot better,” Kraft said on the day he hired Rod Carey.

This whole dilemma reminds me of a conversation I had with Bill Bradshaw when he was named athletic director. He said he looked at the schedule and when he saw that Temple had a game the next season that did not make sense, he would immediately make calls to switch with other schools. Bradshaw saw it as a challenge and the conversations with other ADs eventually led him to schedule a series with Notre Dame.

Kraft needs to be as flexible now as Bradshaw was then.

The Owls need to win now and capitalize on it. Playing Bucknell does Temple zero good. It gives the Owls an extra (seventh instead of six) home games, but have Temple fans done anything over the last 40 years or so to deserve a seventh home game? I think not. If they were filling the Linc on a regular basis, they deserve an extra home game now and then. At best, Bucknell attracts 22K fans for an August 31 date.

Here are five possible trades Kraft could make now that would benefit both ballclubs:

Friday, Aug. 30

    • UMass at Rutgers _ This would be the ideal trade. Temple would bring 20K fans to Piscataway alone and Bucknell can go play at UMass, a much more competitive game for them. Some say Rutgers would be “afraid” to play big bad Temple. I say give them a call and find out for sure.

Saturday, Aug. 31

  • Montana State at Texas Tech _ Kraft has said in the past that “it’s hard to get games against (Power 5) teams because they don’t want to play us.” Hard to believe Texas Tech would risk a loss to an FCS power like Montana State and be “afraid” to play Temple. The guarantee Tech could give Temple to visit would pay for Bucknell to travel to Montana State.
  • Nicholls at Kansas State _ Last year, Nicholls went to Kansas and beat the Jayhawks. That has got to get the attention of the Wildcats, who might be wary of the same thing happening to them. Hard to believe new KSU coach Chris Klieman who won six of the last seven FCS titles at North Dakota State would be afraid of Temple. Have Bucknell travel to Nicholls and the Owls to the fake Manhattan.
  • Portland State at Arkansas _  Razorbacks’ head coach Chad Morris is familiar with Temple having coached against the Owls as SMU’s head coach. It might be easier selling Arkansas fans on an FBS opponent rather than Portland State. The trip to the West Coast to play Portland State might be more educational for the Bucknell kids than a trip to South Philadelphia.
  • Screenshot 2019-02-11 at 10.33.31 PM

    Curt Cignetti takes his JMU squad to WVA; he might be up for a swap of games with Bucknell so the Owls can return to the scene of this crime.

  • James Madison at West Virginia  _ While driving across the interstate might be a short trip for JMU fans, new James Madison football coach Curt Cignetti (a former Temple assistant) knows he has a better chance to make a first impression with a solid win over Bucknell than a road loss to Neal Brown in his first game as WVA head coach. Temple and WVA have a history that goes way back. James Madison would be a nice trip for the Bucknell kids.

These are five trades that would benefit both Temple and Bucknell and all of the above schools. Like any good trade, it involves working the phones and that’s what Dr. Pat Kraft should be doing in the next couple of months.

If it worked for Elton Brand, and the Sixers,  it can work for Pat Kraft and the football team five miles up Broad Street.

Thursday: A Closer Look at the Schedule

AAC Race Should Come Into Focus Early


Owls are the only AAC team to play two Power 5 foes on the road.

You can tell a lot about how the AAC football season will go by around midnight on the first Saturday of action.

That’s when many of you—at least me—will be home from the Temple at Villanova football and Cubs at Phillies baseball sports doubleheader and home on the couch as halftime approaches of the Navy at Hawaii football game.

By then, we should have a pretty good picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams.

Here’s a look:

      • Houston is playing its crosstown rival, Rice, at the same time (noon) the Owls are playing Villanova. If either Temple or Houston struggle against either team, it’s probably not going to be a good season. More likely, is the scenario that both AAC teams win those games in the area of 41-14, 35-21. At least that’s the hope.


      • Even if ECU is down this year, and the Pirates are, they should smoke North Carolina A&T in their 6 p.m. opener.
      • Don’t sleep on the Elon Phoenix, though, in another 6 p.m. game. Coached by former Temple assistant coach Curt Cignetti, Elon won both at No. 8 Richmond (featuring New York Giant draft choice and quarterback Kyle Lauletta) and beat Villanova by a wider margin than Temple did a year ago. The Phoenix travel to USF and, if Cignetti is able to beat Charley Strong before a sparse crowd in Tampa, he immediately gets mentioned for FBS head coaching jobs.
      • The marquee game of the night for the league is an hour later when Cincinnati travels to UCLA. The Bearcats have had the top two-rated recruiting classes the last two years and if they can beat UCLA (without Josh Rosen but still a good P5 team), they will immediately enter the conversation for the AAC East title with UCF and Temple.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, there are a couple of interesting games as Wake Forest travels to Tulane and UCF visits UConn. UCF will enter as the favorite to win the AAC East, but any team with an unproven first-year head coach is a crapshoot. The last time Wake Forest played Tulane, it won, 7-0. That was the same Wake Forest team that beat the Matt Rhule-less Owls, 34-26. (Temple beat Tulane that year with Rhule, 31-0, and that was probably the main reason the Owls entered the Military Bowl with as a 13.5 favorite.)

In ensuing weeks, Temple is the only team in the league to take on two Power 5 foes on the ROAD. Other AAC teams have dipped their toes into that water only once, as UCF travels to North Carolina, Houston is at Texas Tech, Tulsa at Texas, ECU at Virginia Tech, SMU is at Michigan and USF is at Illinois.

Some of those other AAC teams have a second P5 opponent, but those games are home games. So if Temple is able to pull off a couple of road P5 wins and take the league as well, it puts the Owls in the national conversation. Summer officially ends on Sept. 23.

By the end of it, we should be able to separate the pretenders from the contenders.

Friday: Is This The One?

AAC Needs To Re-Think Schedule


If the AAC really wants to be considered a Power conference, it can drop the slogans and the sideline markers that read “Power 6” and start scheduling like one.

Mike Aresco is good at public relations but PR won’t get the league to where it needs to be as fast as a thinking-outside-the-box scheduling concept.


Take Navy out of the West, put Cincy and ECU there, grab Army for the East and balance the schedules

He should ship two East teams (Cincy and ECU) out West, bring Navy back home to the East and add Army to the East as a sweetener to entice the Middies to make the move.

The league games would only feature East versus East and West versus West, making the championship matchup a fairer one in that every league game is against the same opposition.

That accomplished, the league should encourage its members to schedule Power 5 teams.

To continue to qualify for membership, each league member will have to schedule at least three games against so-called Power 5 conference teams.

What’s that, you say?

“They don’t want to play us.”

Sure, they do.

They don’t want to play us on the road but, if the AAC ever wants to be considered seriously, it will have to schedule less home-and-homes and be flexible to playing road games at Power 5 opponents.

Temple has done the AAC a solid by scheduling Boston College and Maryland this  year. Last year, UCF did the same thing by scheduling Georgia Tech and Maryland. UConn went one better and scheduled three Power 5 teams (Missouri, Virginia and Boston College). UConn got the scheduling part, not the football part.

There are reasons the five major conferences are called Power 5. They have the Power and the Group of Five schools do not.

To get the Power, you’ve got to fight the Power.

Short-term, this AAC schedule is just fine but the league has to address these issues within the next couple of years if it ever wants to be taken seriously.

Monday: Temple Schedules Going Forward


A Rarity: Game Times In Advance

Only thing that will top 10 wins is 11 … or more

At this time last year, we knew the starting time for just two Temple football games, and those were the high-profile ones involving Penn State and Notre Dame.

Now we know five.

That’s a huge leap in an era where almost all of the game times are kept open due to the whim of various television contracts and a double-edged sword for Temple because it is a nod to the Owls’ 127th-ranked schedule.


I wonder if “Unfinished Business” will fit on this?

The Owls open the 2016 season at Lincoln Financial Field against Army on Friday, September 2 at 7 pm. (That’s good because any shore people can leave after the game and enjoy the Labor Day weekend of Saturday, Sunday and Monday.)

Temple’s game against Stony Brook, to be played on Saturday, September 10 at Lincoln Financial Field, will kick off at 1:00 p.m. and be televised live by ESPN3.

There is a huge favor in there, though, and that’s the dreaded Stony Brook game. Not because it is going to be Cupcake City, but because it is removed from “real television” which might be Temple’s biggest attendance foe.  We were able to research the attendance for the five Temple games which were off “real television”—meaning the television you can see on your TV set—versus the other home games. Temple home games averaged 25,985 between 2010 and 2015 when it was off the air; 17,675 for the games where Temple was on Philadelphia TV (this is taking out the ND and PSU games, which would have skewed the sample).

The evidence is pretty clear. Temple has a softcore fan group that only gets off the couch and into the car when all other options are exhausted. So the Owls need all the help they can get for to put fannies in the seats for Stony Brook, and it looks like the TV situation has helped immeasurably. That win should send a confident 2-0 Owl team into Penn State, a noon kickoff (Big 10 Network).

Other times set are:  at Memphis (Oct. 6, a Thursday night, 8 p.m., ESPN); home against USF (Oct. 21, 7 p.m., ESPN) and at UConn (Nov. 4, 7 p.m., ESPN2).

The championship game will be played on Dec. 3, hopefully at Lincoln Financial Field (noon, ESPN). There is no Navy game to worry about this year. That game with Army is Dec. 10 in Baltimore.

Wednesday: Going North to Go South

2012 Schedule: Sugar for hiccups

The 2012 Temple Football schedule released today.

One of the favorite household remedies for a hiccup is spoonful of  sugar.
Temple University’s football team had a few hiccups last year (Toledo and Bowling Green come to mind) and, if the 2012 football schedule released today is any indication, the Owls got an intravenous injection of sugar today that could inoculate them against future similar spasms.
It’s a sweet schedule, with the only hint of bitterness that is is one game short.
As far as I know, the college football preseason magazines come out too late to include a classified section.
However, if Temple was to place an ad, it would look something like this:

HELP WANTED: Large urban university, close to major airport and within easy driving distance of 46 percent of the nation’s population, seeks football opponent for fall of 2012, but not necessarily for a home game. School has been bowl eligible for three straight seasons and has posted record-setting TV numbers for college football in the nation’s fourth-largest market. Have fan base, will travel. Fan base traveled 20,000 to D.C. for 2009 bowl and 6,000 to New Mexico for 2011 bowl. Open dates are Saturday, Sept. 15 or 29th or Saturday, Dec. 1. FCS foes need not apply. If interested, please contact Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw at bill.bradshaw@temple.edu.

The “official” word out of Temple is that the Owls are quite satisfied to play 11 games this season after the release of the schedule today.
The “unofficial” word out of Temple is that there is still time (albeit not much) to add another opponent.
The trick is finding someone with an open date on either Sept. 15, Sept. 29 or Dec. 1.
Not much luck there, but there are FBS and BCS schools out there who would like to drop an FCS foe for Temple, so there is some wiggle room involved. Selfishly, as a fan who plans my fall Saturdays around Temple football, I’d like to see another game added.
Realistically, though, going with 11 just for this year could turn out for the better.
Whether or not they can find another suitable game for an FCS school is the tricky problem.
That’s what Temple AD Bill Bradshaw will be working on today and into the weeks ahead.
Still, whether this is an 11-game or a 12-game schedule, it is undoubtedly the most exciting schedule of my lifetime.
Even in the Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians years, when the Owls were playing the 10th-toughest schedule in the country, there was no league title on the line.
When the Owls did finally join a league, the Big East, they weren’t competitive.
Now they have the best of both worlds: Attractive foes week-in and week-out and a good chance to win every week.
They have six locked in home games and bring a competitive team to the Big East right away.
It could be the best Temple football season ever if the Owls focus every week like they did against Penn State and Maryland last year.
No time for hiccups this year.