Time Travel, Temple Style


Time travel is supposed to be impossible, something only Rod Taylor and Alan Young did in the great H.G. Wells’ inspired movie, The Time Machine.

Well, for any Temple fan motivated to make the six-hour trip to Foxboro, it will be like sitting in that time machine and punching the coordinates for 2005 or maybe 2006. The University of Massachusetts’ football program now is where Temple’s was then in more ways than one. The Minutemen are 10 years behind Temple, and it’s not just on the field of play.

In 2005, Temple football made regular appearances in bottom 25 (and 10) polls; now UMass does.

In 2005, Temple football made regular appearances in bottom 25 (and 10) polls; now UMass does.

UMass will have a nice little tailgate thing going on, with maybe a couple of thousand hardcore fans but nothing like the 30,000 fans Temple gets these days for tailgating. Once inside the stadium, about 15,000 UMass fans will look like a couple of hundred in the cavernous Gillette Stadium and the home field advantage will be pretty much negligible. It will be nothing like the 12,500 Temple students and 25,000 more Temple alumni that gave the Owls a solid home field advantage in a packed Lincoln Financial Field on opening day against Penn State.

UMass as a program will be coming off a bottom-feeder year in a bottom-feeder league, the MAC, and not a bowl-eligible year in a big-market league like Temple did. Now, Temple is knocking on the door of the real top 25, while UMass is firmly entrenched in the bottom 25, like Temple was back then.

A typical UMass crowd these days.

A typical UMass crowd these days.

UMass fans have a similar bond with Temple fans of a decade ago based on the road experience, too. Ten years ago, Temple fans had to sit in front of their computers—some with dial-up connections—to watch road games flicker on and off on the MAC access network. Now, all Temple road games are on real television. The only exception to that rule is this week at UMass.

In other words, the experience will be Temple football, circa 2005.

Or, in just one word, Hell.

College football Hell, the same Hell the Owls escaped from with a 2012 invitation to the then Big East. Time and circumstances allowed the Owls to hit the forward button on the time machine, but those same ingredients are working against upward mobility for the Minutemen. The MAC only accepted UMass as a travel partner for Temple. When Temple left for the Big East, the MAC had no need for UMass. The school and the MAC parted ways by “mutual agreement” but the MAC had all of the leverage here and now UMass is left out in the cold of independence, an almost certain death sentence.

When you are rejected by the MAC, there is no place to go but down.

Maybe there is hope for UMass in the next round of major conference expansion. There is no room in the AAC Inn now. Once Temple or UConn or Cincy is, say, promoted to the ACC or the Big 12, something in the AAC might open for the Minutemen but, right now, it looks like they are stuck in football Hell.

There’s no forward button on this Time Machine for the Minutemen but, once the Owls escape Gillette, they can safely return to 2015 with UMass still stuck in 2005.

If anyone can understand where UMass is now, it is the Temple fans who will make the trip on Saturday. If they experience a strong feeling of de ja vu, they will know why.

Tomorrow: What Were They Thinking


27 thoughts on “Time Travel, Temple Style

  1. And remember, no conference for UMASS starting next year. I am going to the game. While expecting a big win for the Owls, I feel for UMASS because I know what they are going through.

  2. Ashery, what do mean “no conference for UMass starting next year?” Are they leaving the MAC (getting kicked out)? If so, that’s really like Temple getting kicked from the Big East and then screwed again the 2nd time around.

    • I believe the Mac wanted UMASS to move all sports to the MAC. When UMASS said no because that would be a downgrade from the Atlantic 10, by mutually consent they agreed to leave. For the time being they will independent starting next year. Unless you are Notre Dame or BYU, very hard to survive.

      • yes, the mac had all of the leverage. the umass decision to keep hoops in the A10 probably means football back to the FCS in a couple of years, unless the Sun Belt can find a spot for them. The AAC is not interested. I doubt the CUSA is as well.

  3. Any one up in the Boston area headed to the game? Trying to get down there but there are no mass tranist options that get you close enough. Will pay for gas and drinks

    • yes, wish I could go, too, but the 6 hours up and back is too much of a time investment and would wipe me out Sunday. Headed over to Masters Pub. I would suggest you also post on OwlsDaily’s free board and leave your email just in case someone is driving up.

      • it’s interesting to compare the UMASS of today to TU of 05. I remember those years TU was in the bottom 10. One year I believe they were literally the worst team in Div I. Do you know if this game will be on any tv stations, or at least radio?

      • 97.5 radio (a fate worse than death because Harry often flubs the play-by-play but a shame because Paul Palmer is outstanding) and espn3 if you want to sit home and watch on a laptop. Masters on campus is retrofitting (or whatever the word is) its tvs to convert espn3 onto the big screens. that sounds like a plan.

      • will do. thank, mike!

      • yes, looks like you are up there already. maybe bostonowl can give you a ride. he’s on scout.

      • amazing that there are no mass transit options that get people from boston to foxboro. eagles and owls fans do not know how good they have got it in that regard.

  4. I think you meant to say when Temple, UConn or Cincy get promoted to the ACC.

    • thanks, ne. that’s exactly what I meant.

    • Why they would select the other schools over TU is a mystery. UConn is as much a NYC school as Rutgers is, meaning that people in NYC could care less. Cincy brings less to the table than TU, which has the 4th largest TV market. Clearly, they would be th ebetter source. I also heard that UConn will have a tough time getting into the ACC as long as BC is a member because of the way UConn demeaned and denigrated BC for jumping to the ACC. That’s what supposedly happened to TU and the Big East. Heard that Lew Katz tried to have Mike Tranghese ousted as the Big East commissioner and failed, which caused him to swear that TU would never be a full member especially given Villanova’s negative position on that issue.

      • Let’s be honest with ourselves guys…we need a stadium and to bring attendance to a big conference. Being in the fourth biggest market is marginalized if nobody cares or attends your games.

        Uconn has a better overall sports program and we need to begin countering it in the one sport that really matters and by building something approximating a successful program not just a good season once a decade. By building the Boise state of the east, getting hoops on track and having an on campus stadium we’ll have earned a right to sit at the big boys table.

  5. “Bottom feeder League.”

    This is the second time you have denigrated the MAC within the past few days. It’s not right to do this and shows a lack of respect towards a league that welcomed the Owls when times were down.

    If not for the MAC, it’s possible there would not be a program today.

    Toledo just beat a top 20 SEC team in Arkansas, the MAC usually collects at least 2 Big 10 scalps per year, and they put a fair amount of players in the NFL.

    • didn’t know anyone was counting but, in general, the league draws flies and has a substandard TV deal and is never talked about on espn gameday. that’s pretty bottom-feeding, Toledo and BGSU notwithstanding.

      • A little harsh on the MAC. The fact is that the AAC is a couple of defections away from being in the same boat. Moreover, it’s not their fault that the top conferences are sucking up all the money and attention or that the MAC schools have small enrollment coupled with recessions in many of the places where these schools are located. Can’t forget that the MAC took us in at TU football’s darkest moment and allowed the program to get back on its feet.

  6. true, but it only took me one Tuesday night to come to the conclusion Temple could never survive in the MAC. Once the P5 makes the inevitable breakaway, the MAC will go back to playing fcs-level football. Heck, probably a lot of the aac will, too.

    • That’s why many of us were so concerned about the level of coaching the last two years. I believe there is still very little time left to get the team to a position where it wins more than it loses and 30 thousand plus support the team regardless of the opponent. That’s the only way TU will join the discussion re power five conference affiliation.

      • Call me crazy, just like I still think PSU can reach 8-10 wins, I think TU can fill up a small stadium every game, and rejoin p5 conference

        They seem to be recruiting better. We just need a coach that stays. We’re screwed if rhule leaves.

        I am so pumped to see them in top 25. I’m waiting for recruits to pour in.

        My friend just randomly asked me to watch TU game Saturday. He never watches TU, but that d made him a fan against Cincy.

        I think the corner may be turned. Once the recruits come in we’ll know for sure. This area is ripe w talent. PSU can recruit somewhere else if TU gets more Philly recruits

  7. Not crazy, unless we do something like stub our toe any one of the next 3 weeks. We’ll find out if Leave No Doubt is an empty slogan or a real rallying cry. UCF should be the only “relatively” tough game in the next 5 but even UCF lost to FIU.

  8. On the field the MAC could more or less compete with AAC teams. But from a business standpoint the AAC is much better – bigger name schools, bigger markets, better TV exposure (basically the MAC teams are on TV only when they play big schools). At the moment temple has a pretty nice deal in the AAC – cudos to the AD and BOT to get that done. But this P5 conference thing is looming and Temple needs success to get into one (the ACC would be the best deal especially for traveling costs once they’re in). Then they’d be set – except playing FSU, Clemson and the like. More wait and see, huh? BTW, Temple has a chance to do something else they’ve never done before – win a championship. That’s something to stay focused for. What a year this could be!

    • Amazing how many people who I talked to on Cherry and White day said that the ACC really wants us to build a stadium and only then would be genuinely interested. I’ve got to think some real negotiations are going on and the uni might be playing of the Big 12 vs. the ACC, much like it did CUSA vs. the MAC and then against CUSA vs. the Big East. A year before we signed the deal with the Big East, Anne Weaver Hart and Bill Bradshaw were guests of the CUSA at their Dallas meeting. I have to think the BE was taking notes and did not want to lose the 4th-largest market. Good thing we didn’t make that deal.

    • I totally forget temple has never won a championship. I read their backhistory and noticed a few fret years , especially 1979 when they went 10-2. I also noticed a few great decades when Pop Warner was the coach. I dont recal any sort of a championship. It’d be a good banner to have in their new stadium

      • they won the 1967 MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference, not to be confused with the Mid-American) title; trophy was in McGonigle Hall for years but lost when the team made the transition to the E-O. That’s why Rhule is constantly quoted as saying there is “no trophy in here.” Maybe Daz or Wallace stole it, but it should be somewhere.

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