A few years ago, a famous ex-Temple basketball player—who shall remain nameless—went on a sustained rant when he learned that the Owls were leaving the MAC for football and joining the then Big East.
“This is the worst idea ever,” he said. “We’re never going to win in the Big East. We’re going to be going back to 3-9 seasons. It’s just dumb. I like this winning thing. Let’s stay in the MAC where we can win. We haven’t even won a MAC title. Let’s do that first.”
I tried to explain to him then, as I do to others now, that when the Power 6 train (the old Big East was part of that cartel) pulls up to the station and asks you to board, you don’t say want to go back to 10th and Berks at midnight and look for the watch you might have dropped on the ground. You get on board. There might not be another train coming.
Just when you thought the Owls winning the AAC—the successor to the Big East football conference—drove a stake through that faulty logic, it reared its ugly head on the Temple fan facebook page the other day when someone said “we’re not ready” for the Power 5 and that a move to the Power 5 would mean a return to three-win seasons.
De Ja Bleeping Vu.
Let’s deal with the first misconception, the so-called “fact” that Temple is “not ready” or would “return to three-win seasons” in the Power 5.
Temple already has beaten Power 5 teams in Penn State (27-10) two seasons and Vanderbilt (37-7) three seasons ago. In 2011, the Owls beat a Maryland team (38-7), which was a week removed from a 32-24 win over Miami (Fla.), another Power Five team. They went toe-to-toe with the then No. 9 team in the country, Notre Dame, on national television in 2015 and lost pretty much on the final play of the game.
This is not your father or grandfather’s Temple football program.
It might not hit the ground running in the Power 5, but it certainly would not crawl and probably jog right into the middle of the pack if not better.
A year ago, only 120 yards in penalties kept one Group of Five champion, Temple, from beating a Power 5 champion, Penn State, on the road. Most of those penalties were of the kind that could have been avoided had the Owls paid more attention to detail in the week or so preceding the Penn State game. No one knows if Geoff Collins is going to be a more detail-oriented coach that Matt Rhule was, but you have got to hope that one of his Temple teams is not going to get 120 yards in penalties in such an important game again.
The whole conversation could be moot since there is no invitation on the horizon but should something come in the mail, every single Temple fan has to know that the answer is not subject to debate.
Friday: The Big Cheeses