Al Golden and Bill Cosby agree on importance of Villanova game.
By Mike Gibson
Everyone I go, I get buttonholed by fellow Temple fans who invariably ask me one question.
“What do we have to gain by playing Villanova?”
Then they say, “If we win, say, 20-17, we’re supposed to win. If we lose, it’s a disaster.”
I always tell them to relax.
We’ve got plenty to gain by playing Villanova.
Heck, they used to ask Wayne Hardin that question way back when about both Villanova and Delaware.
“My philosophy is to play ’em and beat the heck out of ’em,” Hardin said.
For the most part, Hardin did beat the heck out of them, 7-3-1 against Villanova and 9-2 in his final 11 games vs. Delaware.
There’s an argument to be made that there’s even more, not less, to be gained by playing them now.
Wayne Hardin Era vs. Villanova
Owls went 7-3-1 against Villanova under coach Hardin.
1970 = L 31-26
1971 = T 13-13
1972 = W 12-10
1973 = W 34-0
1974 = W 17-7
1975 = W 41-3
1976 = L 24-7
1977 = W 38-15
1978 = W 27-17
1979 = W 42-10
1980 = L 23-7
Villanova, unlike us, has built up some street cred in the sport over the last 20 years.
Villanova, rightly or wrongly, is viewed as having a good football team by people in Philadelphia.
Temple, rightly or wrongly, is not.
That’s why a big Temple win, as I and most experts (who live outside Philadelphia) expect, will be the culmination of a hugely positive night for the university and a stepping off point for Penn State.
If Temple beats Villanova, 20-17, I’m not as enthused about the Penn State game as I would about my score: 34-13. I made that prediction in Feb. and I’m sticking with it.
If Temple beats Villanova, 49-0, I’d be worried if I was Joe Paterno.
Villanova fans remember playing Temple in 2003. They think because No. 1 happpened in 2003 that No. 2 will happen in 2009. This is not 2003. Temple football hit rock bottom in 2003 and had a disinterested head coach who lived in Alabama much of the year.
This is 2009. Temple has a head coach who is from this area and virtually lives in his office for 365 days a year. He’s done things the right way. He’s established recruiting connections with local coaches. He’s re-energized the fan base and knows the importance of the game to the Temple community.
“It should be a great game for the city,” Golden said in a terrific interview with Owlscoop.com editor John DiCarlo. “What we need is a unified front here at Temple. I can’t speak for Villanova. We need a unified front here at Temple. We need the alumni, and we need supporters saying, ‘Hey, let’s support the team. Let’s stop worrying about the politics of the game. Let’s support the team, let’s support the administration.’
“And again, if anybody’s got a problem with the selection of the game, blame me. Don’t blame (athletic director) Bill Bradshaw or the athletic administration. I thought we needed this game when we got here. Bill supported me, and we need to support the administration right now.”
Philadelphia needs to know that Temple does have a good football team and what better way to show that than by doing a victory lap with the Mayor’s Cup after a resounding victory Sept. 3.
Philadelphia also needs to know that a healthy representation of the 260,000 Temple alumni and 33,000 current full-time students are loud and proud that night.
“Our most important game is our first game,” Bill Cosby told ESPN radio. “Villanova at home. We want that stadium packed and it should be packed. It’s a city rivalry.”
Sometimes rivalries are one-sided, as this one should be for the Owls both on the field and in the stands.
Let’s put 66,000 Temple fans in the stands and do Villanova a favor by leaving them 4,000 tickets, half of which they’ll return …