Today, Temple football is back (officially).
Anyone who takes the train into the city on a regular basis as I do knows that Temple football has never left.
You could see the guys holding some sort of unofficial practices in the snow, rain and sleet all winter, the cool spring mornings and the heat of a mid-summer afternoon.
That’s the life of a major college football player these days.
For all of that work, you get only 12 Saturday afternoons _ 13 if you are lucky _ to show the fruits of all that lifting and studying and drills.
One of Saturdays is the last one of this month.
If football was a school play, this play skips the auditorium and goes straight to Broadway, where it will be scrutinized by all of the major critics in the media.
Now the practices are more structured and with a sense of purpose.
Rocky vs. Rudy.
Temple vs. Notre Dame in about 26 days, give or take a few hours.
That’s almost four weeks to get ready for a top-level BCS team.
For all of the excitement about Notre Dame, though, there is a more important goal ahead than winning that first game.
For the past few weeks or so, the poll question on this website has been:
Would you rather …
a) lose to Notre Dame and go 11-1
b) beat Notre Dame and go 6-6
c) go 6-6 only if two wins are over ND and Rutgers
While C is my second choice, there is a right answer to that question and it’s No. 1.
Temple football should strive for excellence but Notre Dame recruits in a different stratosphere than the Owls. (Notre Dame also recruited in a different stratosphere than UConn, USF and Navy and lost to all those schools in recent years. Temple beat all of those schools in the same time frame.) That said, I don’t see a game among the final 11 (with the possible exception of Louisville) that can’t be won. Rutgers lost almost its entire team and Tommy Tuberville ran off just about the entire Cincinnati recruiting class after he signed to be head coach. The most important thing is winning as many of those final 11 as possible. I’m greedy, though. I’ll take all 12, but seven is the minimum this team should get. Anything above that is gravy and there’s nothing better than gravy around Thanksgiving.
Rocky vs. Rudy is a tremendously compelling matchup, but Rocky vs. the rest of the American Athletic Conference is far more important in the grand scheme of things.