On the day before New Year’s Eve, athletic directors all over the country are probably taking out the yellow legal pad and making some resolutions. One has to stick out like a sore thumb for Temple University athletic director Pat Kraft and that has to be getting Stony Brook off the 2016 football schedule.
There is no reason Temple should be playing Stony Brook in football, now or ever. It doesn’t make sense from a number of standpoints for the Owls and the first is that the American Athletic Conference, of which Temple is a member, strongly discourages its institutions from scheduling FCS teams. Stony Brook is not only a FCS team, but a bottom-feeding member of the Colonial Athletic Conference. Playing Stony Brook, almost a certain win for the Owls, brings down the entire league. It has nothing to do with the Owls being “too good” or “looking down their noses” at the Seawolves or “dishonoring commitments” as it does with common sense. Delaware State didn’t expect it was going to get beat, 59-0, by a 6-6 Temple team, but that’s exactly what happened before about 60,000 empty seats. That’s exactly the TV look the conference will get for a Temple-SB game and it’s not a good look. Hula girls, a trip to Hawaii, maybe late night TV for the conference, that’s a better look.
The second reason is that Temple has seven home games and that’s one more than almost all of its fellow AAC teams. Temple needs to trade that seventh home game for a sixth road game against a FBS school and, if Kraft has any skills as an AD, he will be able to devise a workable solution by helping Stony Brook find another opponent for Sept. 10.
One solution would be to get on the phone with Hawaii, which hosts Tennessee-Martin on the same date. If Kraft can convince the Rainbow Warriors to back out of their deal with that school, he can arrange a Stony Brook at Tennessee-Martin game. Kraft then calls back Hawaii and volunteers the Owls to fill the open Sept. 10 date. Tennessee-Martin has as much business playing Hawaii as Temple does Stony Brook, which is no business. Bringing Hooter out there would be a treat for the Hawaii kids, certainly more than bringing out Martin’s creepy-looking alien mascot.
There are plenty of reasons this makes sense and a lot of Temple-Hawaii connections. The new head football coach at Hawaii, Nick Rolovich, is a good friend of current Temple head coach Matt Rhule. Rolovich was offered and accepted the first Temple OC job under Rhule, only to back out of it a few days later to remain as Nevada’s OC. Herman Frazier, a former assistant AD at Temple, was the former AD at Hawaii. Keith Kirkwood, a Temple wide receiver coming off a redshirt year, was a former starting wide receiver at Hawaii. Dr. Linc Gotshalk, who many consider Temple’s greatest strength coach ever (for Bruce Arians), went to Hawaii where he now is on the faculty at the University of Hawaii (Hilo). It is also the site of Temple kicker Ron Fioravanti‘s greatest athletic achievement, a field goal to win at Hawaii in 1979, 34-31. Fioravanti is now a sheriff in New Castle, Del.
It doesn’t have to be Hawaii, but it should not be Stony Brook. For example, Rutgers is playing Howard that day and Duke has an open date. There are 125 other FBS teams. With a little creative thinking, something should be worked out.
That’s why athletic directors get paid the big money, to fix problems such as these, and that is the one task Kraft should put at the top of his New Year’s resolutions.