Complete Coverage of the On-Campus Stadium Announcement

An empty Howard Gittis Room at the Liacouras Center yesterday where university exterminators spent the afternoon looking for crickets.

An empty Howard Gittis Room at the Liacouras Center yesterday where university exterminators spent the afternoon looking for crickets.

That’s it, an empty Howard Gittis Room on a Sunday when nothing was happening in Philadelphia sports and an announcement of an on-campus stadium would have been front-page news in all three Philadelphia daily papers and right at the top of all the sportscasts.
It would seem to me that the uni should now give up this pipe dream and begin to negotiate in good faith with the Philadelphia Eagles because the other options–Franklin Field and Chester–would be a Doomsday Scenario for Temple football.
Maybe the Phillies will move to Oakland and the Owls can slide into a more fan-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
That seems to be a scenario just as plausible as coming up with $300 million of private funds to plop a stadium down at 15th and Norris before 2018.

Giving “Matt” a Contract Extension Would be Insane

matt rhule, temple football,

Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, Temple University giving a contract extension to third-year head football coach Matt Rhule would certainly come under that rather large umbrella. Temple, in the past, has extended non-winning coaches like Jerry Berndt, Ron Dickerson and Bobby Wallace and those extensions have set the program back at least 30 years.

Granted, the man has endeared himself to many influential alumni with his effusive personality and perceived commitment to his job. He has also been a very good recruiter. One important item on his resume is lacking: A winning season. Until then, the Board of Trustees would be wise to refrain from offering him a contract extension. It is believed that Rhule signed a five-year deal in December of 2012 that gave him a $1.2-million per season.

If so, he is being handsomely paid to go 2-10 and 6-6. Lately, some Temple people—maybe overly impressed by two consecutive No. 4-ranked recruiting classes in an 11-team American Athletic Conference—clamored for an extension. One post on a fan website made by a Philadelphia tavern owner who may have been sampling too much of his own product was entitled: “This kid Matt Rhule” and was particularly amusing because he wrote that Rhule was getting it done with no stadium and the worst facilities in the entire conference. … “if this admin (administration) isn’t staying up late to extend him, I hope he takes one of the many offers on his table.”

On that website, the editor there does not refer to him as Rhule or as the Temple head football coach but only by “Matt.” It’s almost like David Muir on the ABC Evening News saying, “after this message, we will have some excerpts from Barrack’s press conference.” Or Walter Cronkite back in the day saying, “here’s what Lyndon had to say about the Selma march.”

First of all, Rhule currently is 8-16 with the best, not the worst, facilities in the entire conference. In 2014, Temple added a $10 million wing to its already existing $7 million football practice facility. The school bent over backward to refurbish a $4.2-million building three blocks away for a football-dedicated indoor practice facility. (Other sports use it, but football gets first dibs.) Bruce Arians almost passed out when he saw the lay of the land last year. Temple plays in a $521 million stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, which is, by about $400 million, the most expensive stadium in the AAC. Many of these so-called great recruits Rhule was able to attract have gone on record as saying that being able to play in the same stadium the Philadelphia Eagles play sealed the deal.

Second, there are no offers on the table for an 8-16 coach who has on his resume a loss to 2013’s worst FBS team, Idaho, and an FCS team, Fordham, which in the same season lost to a horrid Lafayette program located 40 miles directly north of Philadelphia. I can just picture the Notre Dame President, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, saying, “geez, if Brian Kelly leaves for the NFL, let’s get this Matt Rhule guy from Temple.” Or not.

Third, giving an extension to a non-Power 5 coach makes no sense. If the guy wants to leave before the contract is up, he’s going to leave for a Power 5 job. That’s what happened to Temple when Al Golden left for Miami. It’s what is going to happen to any Group of 5 school. No G5 coach has ever said they cannot leave their job for an SEC or Big 10 job because they already have an existing contract.

If Temple finally makes a decision for a long-term commitment to Rhule, it should be after at least one winning season and probably two but not before. Anything less is just bad business at best and pure insanity at worst.

Thoughts on the 2015 Schedule

fifteensked

There is an accepted process in the business world of annual evaluations based on the creed of “up or out.” That usually applies to everyone but the job performances of meteorologists and Temple football head coaches over the last 30 or so years.

The 2015 football schedule was released this morning and the first thought those in charge at Temple has to be start running football like the multi-million dollar business it is. Six and six after 2-10 was up and now anything less than seven should be out.

There is no one on that schedule Temple cannot beat, there are a couple of teams on that schedule that Temple probably will not beat and the rest of the schedule largely consists of teams Temple can and should beat. Another positive is the fact that there is only one bye on the schedule. Three byes were way too much last season.

I think the talent is in place to win at least eight games but, given what I’ve seen from my seat in the stands the last two years, seven should be acceptable. Six wins again definitely is not.

There are going to be a couple of times teams Temple should beat win and, hopefully, at least that many times the other way around.

There is a Dec. 5 AAC championship game and the goal should be no less than to make that game in Philadelphia and win it.

Patrick Anderson Could Be Second Coming

The book closed on the first chapter of The Anderson Story at Temple two weeks ago when Robbie accepted a scholarship to Florida Tech, hopefully not to major in nuclear physics. That’s when all Temple fans finally gave in to any ill-advised hope that Robbie, an academic casualty, would return.

Patrick Anderson scores on a halfback touchdown pass (remember those?) against Beaver Falls.

Patrick Anderson scores on a halfback touchdown pass (remember those?) against Beaver Falls.

A new chapter started this week when Patrick Anderson (no relation) signed at Temple. Let’s hope this book is a lot thicker than the first one.

Robbie was like a Halley’s Comet, giving Owls’ fans a brief glimpse of what a big-time receiver can be. In five games, Anderson caught nine touchdown passes from P.J. Walker, who obviously formed a cosmic connection with Robbie. Against Memphis, Anderson caught three touchdown passes from Walker—three more touchdown passes than Owl receivers were able to get the next season against the same team in a 16-13 loss.

That was the most disappointing thing with the departure of the first Anderson. The Owls knew he was leaving and recruited five receivers in last year’s class and none of them were good enough to make it onto the field for any length of time.

The reviews are yet to be written for Patrick Anderson, but the first draft of his work looks good. Consider the production for the final high school years of each player. My only concern is does Patrick have the 40-speed of Robbie? At 225 pounds, that would be tough to match but, if he does, watch out:

The Two Anderson’s in Their Best High School Years:

Name Wt/Ht Receptions Yards TDs
Patrick 6-4, 225 21 481 9
Robbie 6-3, 180 39 497 6

Solving the Jet Pack Mystery

"Yeah, but what about the Jet Pack quote?"

“Yeah, but what about the Jet Pack quote?”

Groundhog Day was on Monday, but it has been the last four days for me.

Wednesday wake up, turn on Comcast Sports Net, watch Neil Hartman report live from the Penn State signing day. Thursday, wake up, turn on CSN Philly and watch Neil Hartman report a recap of Penn State signing day. Friday, wake up and watch Neil Hartman interview the Penn State fax guy from Penn State signing day. Saturday, wake up and watch Neil Hartman report about James Franklin recruiting 2016 guys.

decommit

Tomorrow, I fully expect another Neil Hartman report on how Penn State fans reacted to the recruiting day. Overkill, thy name is covering Penn State football  in a town 250 miles away that already has a FBS college football team. Temple really needs to take them down.

Meanwhile, there is no coverage at all of the burning mystery of the day: What the heck was Matt Rhule referring to in his “jet pack” tweet? If it was about a recruit—as was widely rumored—it could not have been about T.J. Simmons because the time lines do not match up. Here was the original tweet, followed by Adam DiMichele’s “game-changer” tweet:

It could not have been about Simmons because three days later he was still committed to UCLA:

Also in the same day:

Simmons did not change his mind until the NEXT day:

Unless Speedy told Rhule something on Jan. 18 he didn’t tell UCLA fans until four days later, the Jetpack tweet makes no sense. If it was supposed to be about a recruit, other than Speedy, no jetpack-worthy recruits were signed between Jan. 18 and now.

So, until Neil Hartman has a four-day story on the anatomy of Matt Rhule’s jetpack tweet, we can only assume Rhule knows something about a stadium none of us do.