Temple at Navy Would Be a Dream Showcase for the AAC Title Game

Colgate v Navy

Members of the Navy Midshipmen take the field before the start of their game against the Colgate Raiders at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Disclaimer: For all of the “let’s concentrate on UConn crowd” out there, nothing written below will affect the outcome of the game on the field on Saturday. Pure speculation is one of the joys in sports and we’ll speculate here on what the corporate offices are thinking. We’ll return to talking about UConn on Saturday.

When it comes to business, and the business of big-time college football, perception of success can mean everything. The big power conferences are perceived as such because, among other things, they are able to fill their stadiums for big games.


Temple fans filled 2 decks at RFK for EBB.

The life of a small, non-power, conference can reflect failure as much as success as, for years, the Mid-American Conference has attracted regularly around 10,000 people to its title game at the cavernous Ford Field in Detroit.

That’s why the site of the first-ever AAC football championship game is so important to the league right now. They are only two possibilities, either at the site of West contenders Houston  and Navy, and the bean counters in the league’s corporate offices in Providence, RI, have to be crossing their fingers and toes and hoping Navy wins and take the game to its home base in Maryland. For the other team, the league needs nearby Temple, bringing the nation’s fourth-largest TV market, Philadelphia, to the Dec.  5 (noon, ABC-TV) broadcast. Navy is located in the Washington, D.C. TV market, the ninth-largest but has the additional appeal of having a national fan base. Houston is the 10th-largest TV market.

For this dream matchup to happen, Navy will have to win at Houston and Temple would have to hold serve at home against UConn with both games coming up at  the end of the week. (The only other way Temple can get in without beating the Huskies is in the unlikely event of winless UCF holding off visiting South Florida on Thanksgiving Day.)

A couple of reasons have the AAC getting goosebumps over that potential matchup. The game will be a likely sellout at the picturesque 34,000-seat Navy Marine Corps Stadium, one of the most beautiful venues in college football. The sight of a sold-out championship game, when so many other leagues have had trouble selling out championship venues, creates an additional aura of success to project to league TV viewers. Although the stadium seats 34,000, Navy often sells standing room seats and an AAC title game could easily exceed the 38,255 stadium attendance record set on Oct. 5, 2013 when the Midshipmen beat Air Force, 28-10.

Any seats Navy is unable to sell will likely be gobbled up by Temple fans, who traveled 20,000 to RFK Stadium for an Eagle Bank Bowl at UCLA in 2009. They will not be able to get that many tickets this time, but it should be an overflow. The game would feature the G5’s best Heisman Trophy candidate,  Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, against a top-notch defense led by a likely first-team All-American linebacker in Temple’s Tyler Matakevich.

When it comes to the business of college football, nothing projects success like sold-out stadiums and TV ratings and Temple at Navy figures to project that image best and, in the case of a fledgling conference championship game, image is everything.

Tomorrow: The Competition


14 thoughts on “Temple at Navy Would Be a Dream Showcase for the AAC Title Game

  1. I haven’t been able to find out anything concerning ticket allocation. Shouldn’t the tickets be split 50/50 between the schools?

    • Nothing on the AAC website about it, but I would assume so. that’s the way the sec and big 10 have handled their championship games in the past. Aresco says his goal is to be a Power 5 (err, 6) group, so I imagine he is copying the business model. I would think that Temple would get a block allotment, 17K, and return any unsold tickets. Would be surprised if there was any return because Temple sold just about as many in a week for the EBB and a championship football game so close to Philly would be bigger than any bowl.

  2. The AAC is looking at an opportunity to be accepted as a de facto power conference right dead in the face…, Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Temple, USF, and UCONN all have relatively young coaches who are sitting on the verge of being great. I can’t think of a better investment than keeping those coaches in the league…,

    F$&k the P5..,,the success of startup companies makes America great and fuels economic growth.., the AAC is a startup company in the big business of college sports and right now has tremendous value.., this conference is in the rare spot of guaranteeing a NY6 position for years to come if it chooses to make the investment in the coaching talent.

    The AAC needs one of the university college presidents to step up and assume the role of visionary leadership…, this league has natural tie-ins with four of the P5 conferences and the fans will demand continued play (like Temple vs PSU).., an undefeated AAC team would be in every conversation for a final four spot..,

    great things happen when you win, talent acquisition and retention is the first step to the establishment of a winning tradition – this is what the AAC league officials should be talking about now

    • If the P5 had any sense, they would accept the entire group as a P6 conference just for the TV markets alone. AAC offers them real value.

    • That train has left the station, the p-5 will never accept the AAC or another conference into the club. They might expand and take teams in selected markets but that is it. They will never divide the pie from 5 slices to 6, they will be left with less pie…$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$! As for Temple versus Penn State, that game will also disappear, The Big ten is going to 9 league games which means only 3 out of conference games each year. Next year is the last year for this game in quite awhile. Penn State’s natural rivalry was Pitt and they abandoned that series. I know it will resume in the future for a short period of time but it will be an exception, not a rule.

      • I tend to agree with your assessment the only player that you didn’t mention is also what ESPN wants. I highly doubt it but if they thought they could make even more $$$ with P6 set up you that’s about the only way I could see it happening. Temple’s best chance is to keep the FB program on an upward trend and be in a position to move up if and when there is another round of conference re-alignment.

    • Ain’t good to put it in the vernacular. In fact it appears that even if for some reason there were some de-commits from other schools the Owls have limited space.

      • I thought we’d make more headway in recruiting than we have. Thought we’d use the momentum of being a Top 25 team four of five weeks to sign a bunch of four-stars. We still have 9 schollies left. Let’s be very selective here. In a related note, watching Ohio screw us again tonight. What does Frank Solich have against us? It’s amazing what I watch on TV–college football, The Roosevelt’s, The Civil War, Breaking Bad and the news and that’s about it.

      • Have to agree that this years recruiting class so far doesn’t look like it will be one of the higher ranked ones in the conference. Guess we’ll have to wait and see once the players are in the system and get on the field

        Mike, I seem to remember NIU was always pretty full of themselves during our time in the MAC. At this point I’ve stopped looking at all of the scenarios, we just need to win. Have to think that beating Navy or Houston in the conference championship would move us well ahead of Toledo as we would have beaten 2 ranked teams

  3. At this point all we can do is win and let the chips fall where they may. I’m going crazy with all the different scenarios so let’s just win the conference and get into a bowl against a P5 opponent. I seem to remember from our MAC days how NIU was always so full of themselves!!!!

    I am a bit concerned about this years recruiting class so far, does not look to be on of the better classes in the conference but I guess you really never know until the players get into the system and get on the field

  4. No need to worry. If Temple beats UCONN and then Navy, it will jump way ahead of Toledo.

    As for the recruits, Al Golden recruited 5 star talent at Miami and couldn’t win. Boise State recruits 2 stars and wins. National signing day is a long way off. A lot of the high 3 and 4 star guys don’t commit until after the season. hell, half the time, they don’t commit until almost signing day.

    Enjoy the ride this year. It is special. We can worry about next year starting on January 1st (hopefully the day after Temple’s bowl game!)

    • good post. Temple football is now pretty much a 365-day thing. Championship, bowl in dec., recruiting season January, evaluating recruits feb, spring practice march and april, summer in july. Good times.

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