|Temple fans came disguised as empty seats last week.
Photo by Matt Breen
Almost two years to the day after giving me my proudest moment as a Temple fan, my fellow Temple fans gave me a not-so-proud moment a week ago tonight.
Not unexpected, just not proud.
First, the good part.
Eagle Bank Bowl, Dec. 29, 2009. Of the 23,000 fans in attendance on a night where wind-chills reached sub-zero temperatures, 20,000 were Temple fans and they were all loud and proud.
Just before Matty Brown scored Temple’s second touchdown of the evening, a familiar “Let’s Go TEM-PLE!” chant started from my section (lower level, 50-yard-line) at RFK Stadium.
It got louder.
“Let’s Go TEM-PLE!”
Then, finally, a rhythmic “LET’S GO TEM-PLE” literally shook RFK from its rickety foundation.
We all looked around.
The lower deck, the upper deck, both sides of the field, everyone was on their feet screaming “Let’s Go TEM-PLE!” from the top of their lungs.
I think the fans willed Matty into the end zone.
I said to my friend, Nick, “buddy, take this in. We may never see something like this again at a Temple game.”
Sadly, we never have.
Sure, there have been other great moments, like when 40K Temple fans sounded like 100K fans to Penn State’s 17K fans, who sounded like 1K fans, this season.
They needed to be rewarded with a victory.
At this year’s Villanova game and Penn State game, the atmosphere was, as Steve Addazio said, electric.
If you are going to be considered for a BCS Conference, that electricity has to stay on all the time.
At the Miami game, the atmosphere was befitting an electrocution.
It’s not like I didn’t see this coming from, oh, about 400 miles away.
It was an imperfect storm that led to the fan apathy.
First off, you can’t lose to a gosh-awful team like Bowling Green and let the starting quarterback remain in that game after 135 straight three-and-outs. There’s got to be more of a sense of urgency to move the ball against a defense ranked No. 10 in a 13-team league.
|Perfect football weather forecast for Saturday (1 p.m.)|
Then, you can’t lose to an Ohio team that LOST to teams YOU beat by scores of 42-0 and 34-0.
On the heels of both of those laid eggs, you can’t have a home game on TV to give a lazy and fragile fan base an excuse to be lazy and fragile.
All of those factors led to a poor showing at the gate.
Army is an attractive opponent and hopefully the win over Miami has restored some of the fans shaken belief. Keeping the game off TV is just as important.
This is a bowl game for Temple, as is next week’s game versus Kent State because, without wins in both, there will be no bowl.
I said to one of my tailgating buddies a couple of hours before the Miami game: “This is bad. I don’t expect more than 15,000.”
When at least half of my other tailgating buddies, people who show up for every game that’s not on TV, are missing, you know it’s bad.
I expect a good and representative Temple crowd on Saturday, something between 21-27K.
I’m hoping that nobody sits on their hands when someone starts a “Let’s Go TEM-PLE” cheer.
We need to get that electricity turned on again.
Where’s that damn switch?