If you are tuning into ESPN College Football’s Gameday this morning looking for extensive talk about Temple, don’t bother. The Owls will have to take care of business not only today against UMASS, but also in the four weeks after that just to get something other than the casual mention they got this morning.
Money talks, bullbleep walks is the saying and, when it comes to college football, the most important thermometer to measure the temperature of the sport is ESPN’s College Gameday Show. Simply put, if you are a fan of a Power Five team, they talk about your squad. If your team is in the Group of Five, they do not.
There is little wonder, then, when it comes time for the musical chairs to start again, a relatively small number of the current G5 teams are pressing their noses against the window like a shopper on Black Friday waiting for the doors to open. To be sure, networks like ESPN have a vested interest in talking about only the big conferences because TV contracts have been signed far into the future. In college football, though, the issue runs a little deeper than that because there is a substantial fear that sometime within the next decade, the teams in the Power 5 will break away and make the rest of the schools in the NCAA as irrelevant in college football as today’s Ivy League is.
That’s why, for schools like UConn, Boise State, Cincinnati, Houston and Temple – the top G5 candidates for P5 expansion — how football does this year and next is so important. In college football today, it’s all about TV markets and eyeballs, and at least three of those schools (Houston, Temple and Cincinnati) can deliver both a decent football program and a big-time market. For Boise State and UConn, it’s not so much about the markets as it is about the programs. Boise State might have the most consistent football program of the five, but the TV market is so small that it’s irrelevant. UConn has a terrible football program, but a great basketball one.
Cincinnati and Temple are comparatively strong in both sports and Temple can deliver the largest available TV market of any of the five top G5 schools, the nation’s fourth-rated one. There are P5 teams in the New York market (Rutgers), the Chicago market (Northwestern and Notre Dame) and the third-ranked market, Los Angeles (UCLA and USC), but none in the fourth. Temple would complete a chain that includes the fifth-ranked market, Dallas-Fort Worth, which has Waco suburb member Baylor. Houston is No. 10, while UConn (Hartford-New Haven) is No. 30 and Cincinnati 34.
Whatever happens, all of those schools are on the outside looking in because ESPN College Gameday is not talking about them now. The G5 is dying and the evidence is on TV every Saturday morning for all to see.
Temple has a chance to pump some life into it by going 7-0 into the Notre Dame game, but the Irish will have to keep their end of the bargain by beating Georgia Tech today. So those are at least two teams to root for, another would be Penn State to add further legitimacy to the opening-day win. If you are a G5 team like the Owls are, a lot of dominoes have to fall your way.
Here is the depth chart for UMASS with no changes from last week and the depth chart for Temple follows below.