Whether or not he wants to admit it, Pat Kraft has a scheduling problem.
Too many Idahos and Bucknells on the schedule and not enough teams that create juice nationally.
As the Sixers learned in their pursuit of Fultz, there’s really only one way to fix a problem.
Give something to get something.
Dr. Kraft, the athletic director at Temple, has something to give up for an overall greater reward.
Pick the Idaho and Bucknell years, specifically, and give up those home games for a road game against a more high profile opponent.
Kraft has said two things publically about his scheduling philosophy. One, that he will not accept anything less than a home-and-home with anyone. Two, that no one wants to play the Owls. While that might be his stated philosophy, there is evidence to the contrary.
Both have been debunked by the Oklahoma series starting in 2024.
That’s not a home-and-home (it’s a two-for-one) and, by playing the Owls, Oklahoma has disabused the notion that no one wants to play the Owls.
There have to be other Oklahomas out there and it is up to Dr. Kraft to find them.
Whether he wants to admit it or not, having Stony Brook on the schedule—instead of beating another Power 5 team—did the AAC champions no favors last year. That’s why the “prize” for winning the title of the best G5 conference was not a NY6 bowl but a back-to-the-future trip bowl that the Owls made in 2009.
Since the 2018 non-conference schedule (Villanova, Maryland, BC) is devoid of the Bucknells and Idahos—who really should not be playing Temple—let’s concentrate on the 2019 schedule first.
The Owls’ home opener is the body bag game with Bucknell on Aug. 31. On that weekend, for instance, Baylor is set to open with Stephen F. Austin. Kraft can get on the phone with his self-described “best friend in the whole world” (Matt Rhule) and arrange for the Owls to travel to Waco that day. Surely, Matt would not back down from the same kind of challenge Oklahoma accepted. Then his next move would be to get on the horn with K.C. Keeler and arrange for SFA to host Bucknell.
As the French say, Voilà!
Problem solved. Temple gives up a home game which would be sparsely attended for a road game where there’s a lot of juice to energize the fan base for future home games that year.
The next problem is the Idaho game, a home one on 9/12/20. Since the Owls’ long-term goal should be to get into the ACC, that’s where their focus should be.
Both Miami (Fla.) and Pitt have openings on that date and Temple should offer a home-and-home to both schools. If neither takes it, then offer up the Idaho home game as a sacrifice to the football Gods and take a one-and-done road game. Tell the Vandals thanks for the return date, but no thanks and help them get a game with Villanova or something.
Kraft’s scheduling problem is going to remain one until he does something about it. Otherwise, you can plan your shore trips around the Idaho and Bucknell dates.
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