Penn State Makes First Bowl Since 2012; Temple Snubbed

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The Nittany Lions are Bronx bound. Penn State’s players learned yesterday the team will play Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th. It’s the first bowl game since 2012 for the Nittany Lions, who were banned from bowls the next two seasons in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

A team needs just six wins (and a .500 or better record) to qualify for a bowl. Penn State went 6-6 this year, its first under new coach James Franklin. The Lions opened the season 4-0, but lost 6 of its final 8 games. With its Big Ten Conference bowl tie-ins, that was enough to get the Nittany Lions into a bowl.

The 6-6 record was not enough to get Temple into the a bowl game, however.

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Why Does Neil Theobald Think Football Will Save Temple?

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It was a date that would live in infamy.

The news hit the scholar-athletes gathered in Temple University’s Student Pavilion on December 6th of last year like a brick to the gut: The sports teams they’d been recruited for, trained for, worked for, played for, were being eliminated — “Chop, boom, you’re gone,” read the headline in the Temple News. Seven teams went poof: men’s crew, women’s rowing, softball, baseball, men’s gymnastics, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Dozens of young hearts — along with those of their coaches — were broken as the university’s new athletic director, Kevin Clark, wielded the ax in a brief, succinct speech. And everybody knew where to lay the blame. “Make no mistake: Football drove cuts” was the headline on a student-newspaper editorial. The Inquirer’s Bob Ford chimed in: “No kidding they had to cut sports to save money. They just didn’t cut the one they should have.”
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At Temple, Collateral Damage in the Fight Against College Sexual Violence

Praise Martin-Oguike

Praise Martin-Oguike

Last week, President Obama made a big splashy show of announcing the formation of a task force to fight the “epidemic” of sexual violence on college campuses. He dragged out all the leaky old statistics that activists have been tossing around for years even though they fly in the face of common sense. (Would any father let his daughter attend a school where one in five female students actually got raped?)

There’s no doubt this is a touchy topic. There’s no doubt too many women have their lives ruined by sexual assault. But in the rush to protect them from the stampede of frothing male attackers, there’s collateral damage. The tale of Praise Martin-Oguike at Temple is proof of that.

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Temple Sports Cuts Sure Seem to Be About Football

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Let’s start with Temple’s premise that the cutting of seven sports from the athletic department roster had nothing to do with football. That’s what the folks on North Broad Street are saying, and there might be some truth to that. The Owls’ program is not an example of opulence gone wild, even though it is most certainly not a profitable enterprise. There are some other issues at work, too, most notably Title IX considerations.

The argument breaks down — falls apart completely, actually — when one considers the company Temple is keeping. That’s where the influence of football and its damaging effects come into play. Because the Owls fought so hard to join the pre-implosion Big East, and because the old Big East’s current football iteration only exists in a version that appears more like a Conference USA spinoff than a major confederation, the Owls doomed their other sports (even, to an extent, the men’s basketball program) to membership in a league that doesn’t suit and actually hurts them.

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THE PLAYER: The NFL’s (Almost) First Out Player

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Dorien at the Undine Barge Club, Boathouse Row. Photo by Chris Crisman.

It’s two months before Gaybowl XIII, when the seven-on-seven National Gay Flag Football League champion will be crowned in Phoenix, and the Philadelphia Revolution is bereft of its star. In the middle of an overgrown Little League field in East Passyunk, where a mucky dune marks the 50-yard line, a bespectacled, double-knee-brace-wearing team captain drills the squad on route-running. Then, 30 minutes into the two-hour practice, he arrives: arms muscled, pecs protruding from a pink-sleeved t-shirt. He moseys toward the bleachers wearing a camo-green hat and Versace Eros cologne. He has just left Voyeur three hours ago. “I know nothing right now,” he mumbles, pulling on his cleats, grabbing his receiver’s gloves, and jumping in line for some 10-yard hitch routes.

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Penn State Should Pay Bill O’Brien Before Somebody Else Does

Penn State's Beaver Stadium

(FULL DISCLOSURE: The author is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, and he wasn’t very happy Saturday night.)

Let’s face it; any time a team loses to Indiana by 20, it’s not a good thing. But a Vegas sharpie knew something in advance of Penn State’s remarkable, four-OT marathon victory over Michigan Saturday in Delirious Valley. The betting line opened at Michigan minus one, an extremely small number for an unbeaten team–albeit a squad that almost lost to Akron–against a rival that had dropped two of three, including the aforementioned double-sawbuck debacle against the Hoosiers.

But when the “White Out” had lifted, and the Wolverines’ kicker had stopped missing field goals, PSU had earned the kind of victory that can catapult a maturing program into the national discussion. Or, in Penn State’s case, into the national discussion again.

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Temple’s Winningest Coach, Wayne Hardin, Elected To College Football Hall of Fame

The Philly Daily News reports that Wayne Hardin, who compiled a 80-52-3 while coaching the Temple Owls during the 1960s and early 1970s, has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

ESPN adds: “Temple won a school-record 14 straight games from 1973-74 under Hardin, who won the 1974 Kodak District II coach of the year and was inducted into Temple’s Hall of Fame 20 years later. ”

“This is a great day for Temple University,” interim athletic director Kevin Clark said in a statement. “Wayne Hardin is not only a Hall of Fame football coach, but a Hall of Fame person. The entire Temple community is grateful that he has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.”

Hardin is 86. He’ll be formally inducted Dec. 10.

 

Hoaxmaster Tuiasosopo Had “Romantic Feelings” for Manti Te’o

In an interview with, who else, Dr. Phil, the Manti Te’o Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo revealed that he was in love with Te’o throughout the time he was faking the voice of Te’o’s fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua. In other words, he  was living vicariously through the fake girlfriend he created, in order to feel closer to the Notre Dame star. Dr. Phil previewed his interview with Tuiasosopo, which airs Thursday, to NBC’s Mike Taibbi.

Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love. I asked him straight up, “Was this a romantic relationship with you?” And he says yes. I said, “Are you therefore gay?” And he said, “Well, hen you put it that way, yes.” And then he caught himself and said, “I am confused.”

Tuiasosopo also claimed full responsibility, denying Te’o was in on the hoax.

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[Deadspin]

Manti Te’o Gets Autotuned

This seems like a good place to let the story of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s fake dead girlfriend … well, come to a merciful end:

ESPN Had Te’o Hoax Story Before Deadspin, But Let it Slip Away

New media>Old media. ESPN got a tip from Manti Teo’s agent about the hoax a day before Deadspin.com did, but ultimately were left wringing their hands and worrying about what to do while Deadspin got the scoop. (His agent? Does he really think this will somehow boost Te’s chances in the draft?) According to an account in the New York Times, ESPN wanted to get an interview with Te’o to get his reaction before publishing, which caused the delay. In other words, ESPN did the old school thing, waiting to be sure, and Deadspin did the new school thing and just went ahead with it. For what it’s worth, I got my information from the New York Times, but Sports Illustrated beat them to the bunch on this very same story. [New York Times]

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