Temple Football Is 4-0 — What’s Next?

Temple Owls wide receiver Robby Anderson (19) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium on October 2, 2015 in; Charlotte, NC.

Temple Owls wide receiver Robby Anderson (19) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium on October 2, 2015 in; Charlotte, NC.

One memory comes to mind when I think of Temple football. We were driving on I-76 to a cross country meet — it had to be sometime in the early 1990s. KYW 1060’s sports report was on. The anchor got to the Temple game, and played a soundbite from the upcoming opponent’s coach. He went through the usual sports platitudes an opposing college coach says about an opponent. Something like: “They have a lot of good players, they’re really well coached, they have a great team this year and it’s going to be a tough game.”

The station returned to the sports anchor. He paused. “What team is he talking about?”

I don’t remember who Temple played that week, or if they lost. But my guess is, “Probably.” Temple was not good at football in the early 1990s. The Owls were so bad the KYW anchor mocked them. Temple, indeed, has not been very good at football in its history. The Owls were 2-9 in 1991, then 1-10 in four out of the next five seasons. (They went 2-9 in 1994.)

To be fair, the team had some good seasons in the late 1970s, going to three straight bowl games (and beating Cal in the Garden State Bowl in 1979). The school’s only other real sustained period of success was the 1930s, when Pop Warner actually coached the team. Other than that, the Owls do not have a great football history. Even recently, the team has made strides — but it’s seemed short lived. In 2009, Al Golden took the Owls to their first bowl since 1979, but the team still lost to Villanova that year. He left after one more season. Temple actually won a bowl game in 2011 — beating Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl — but coach Steve Adazzio left, again, after just one more season. The Owls then went 2-10 the next year. Read more »

Temple Is Actually Almost Ranked in the Top 25 Poll

Two weeks ago, Temple pulled off one of its biggest wins in decades when it beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Joe Paterno was fourteen.

The Owls followed that up with its first win over Cincinnati since 1985. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Jerry Sandusky still had another 14 years left as Penn State’s defensive coordinator.

Temple’s wins over Penn State (at the Linc) and Cincinnati (on the road) were led by two players: running back Jahad Thomas on offense (328 yards rushing in two games) and linebacker Tyler Matakevich on defense (20 total tackles in two games, two picks in Saturday’s win). Temple’s defense sacked Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg 10 times in their season-opening win, then forced five turnovers in the win over Cincinnati. Thomas also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to open the second half against the Bearcats.

All of this has the Owls in a spot they haven’t been in a very, very long time: Very nearly ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Owls are in the top spot in the “Also Receiving Votes” column. They’re No. 26! Temple hasn’t been ranked since it finished 17th in the top-25 after going 10-2 in the 1979 season. (That year, Temple won the Garden State Bowl.) Read more »

Eight Great College Football Games to See (in Person) This Fall

Football is under siege — from parents, doctors, academics, a Kennedy, even from Buzz Bissinger, the guy who wrote the definitive book on football, Friday Night Lights. This makes us sad. Football is a wonderful game perfectly suited to the American spirit, and we’d miss it if it went away. We love us some Eagles, but for true passion — from guys who aren’t making millions a year to take the field — you can’t beat college football. Here are eight upcoming games featuring local college teams that should offer lots of rivalry, fun and excitement, not to mention cheerleaders and marching bands. Catch as many as you can — while you can. Read more »

Kicker Commits to Penn State With Inspirational Video

A kicker committed to Penn State University by releasing an inspirational video about himself. He will fit in well at Penn State (presuming he kicks well).

Quinn Nordin is the top-rated kicker in the nation in the class of 2016 according to 247Sports.com, and received the most scholarship offers of any kicker entering college next year. Read more »

Three Reasons Temple’s $100 Million Stadium Is a Big, Bad Idea


An on-campus football stadium at Temple University is a really bad idea.

It’s a bad idea for the university. It’s a bad idea for the North Philly neighborhood. And it’s a bad idea for you, the Pennsylvania taxpayer whose support is critical to the university.

But it’s also a bad idea whose time may have come. The Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick on Sunday reported that “if some remaining financial details can be resolved, a go-ahead for a 30,000-seat, on-campus facility could come as early as this spring.”

Fitzpatrick did his reporting from Ohio, where the University of Akron built an on-campus stadium a few years ago and found, contrary to expectations, that it’s not necessarily true that if you build it, they will come. Student attendance has been anemic, at best, and the university has resorted to gimmicks like offering free tuition to try to attract a crowd to games.

“We have to find ways to keep our fan base growing,” Akron’s athletic director told Fitzpatrick.

But that’s not the only reason to be dubious of trying something similar in North Philadelphia. Three reasons a new stadium is a bad idea:

Read more »

Penn State Makes First Bowl Since 2012; Temple Snubbed


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.

Read more »

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.”
Read more »

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.

Read more »

Temple Sports Cuts Sure Seem to Be About Football


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.

Read more »

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