How Penn’s Veterinary School Saved Navy’s Goat Mascot — Twice

Bill 36 (left); all the current Bills (right)

Bill 36 (left); all the current Bills (right). Photos | University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

The 116th edition of the storied Army-Navy football game returns to Philly this Saturday after a brief hiatus in Maryland. Among the pigskin lore surrounding the (mostly) annual contest between the Black Knights and the Midshipmen: The first football helmet made its debut in the 1893 Army-Navy game. (It was fashioned by a shoemaker to protect the noggin of the man who would become Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves after doctors warned him another kick to the head could cause insanity.)

The teams may not be the powers they once were — they’ve both had winning records going into this contest only twice since 1963 — but the rivalry is. (The weight plates in the Navy weight room are engraved BEAT ARMY.) And a big part of that rivalry are the team’s mascots: the Army mule and the Navy goat. Or, rather, four goats — a tag team, Bill 33 and Bill 34, who at age 10 are nearing retirement, and their soon-to-be replacements, Bill 35 and Bill 36, 18-month-old Angora goat brothers donated by a Texas rancher to replace the current pair when they can no longer fulfill their duties, which mostly consist of looking really cute and letting kids pet them without biting. (The naming thing is tradition, not a failure of imagination; all but three Navy goat mascots have been named Bill dating back to 1900.) Read more »

Temple Will Play Toledo in Boca Raton Bowl

The Temple Owl mascot leads the team onto the field during an October 10, 2015, game against Tulane at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple is headed to Florida for its bowl game.

The Owls, who had the most regular season wins in team history this year with a 10-3 mark, will play Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 22nd. The news was first reported by Jordan Strack of WTOL in Toledo.

The Owls end the regular season ranked No. 25 in the nation in the Associated Press top-25 media poll. They lost 24-13 to Houston in the American Athletic Conference title game on Saturday. Read more »

Want to Sing the National Anthem at a Temple Football Game? It Will Cost You. A Lot.

Photos via Shutterstock.com

Photos via Shutterstock.com.

On Saturday night in front of a sold-out Lincoln Financial Field and a television audience projected to be in the millions, East Falls’ Allison Boyle (a current Temple student) and her sister Jessica will perform the National Anthem prior to the much-anticipated Temple-Notre Dame football brawl. They were chosen to sing at the game prior to the season, when it was just another on the Temple football schedule; since then, the game has basically turned into Philly’s Super Bowl. But the Boyle sisters didn’t turn up here by chance. They basically were required to pay their way into the spotlight.

“We have the National Anthem as an asset,” explains Scott Walcoff, the associate athletic director of marketing and sales for Temple University’s athletics department. “We sell it.”  Read more »

College GameDay Set All Ready for Temple/Notre Dame Game

Photo | Rob DiRienzo

Photo | Rob DiRienzo

Market Street between 5th and 6th streets is not a street right now. It’s a TV set.

ESPN’s College GameDay has completely taken over the block in front of Independence Hall for Temple’s big matchup with Notre Dame tomorrow. Police blocked off the street and a heavy private security presence guarded the set.

By 1 p.m., the setting up was pretty much complete, everything was in position. Corporate sponsors had begun giving out freebies to curious passersby. Several cameras, two Jumbotrons and dozens of TVs were at the ready for the show tomorrow, which kicks off at 9 a.m.

On 5th and 6th, traffic was a little bit heavier than normal, but was still moving. Read more »

College GameDay Is Coming to the Temple Game This Weekend

College GameDay is coming to Philadelphia this weekend after all.

GameDay will broadcast from Independence Mall.

Late last week, multiple reports said College GameDay would be coming to Philadelphia for the Notre Dame-Temple game on Saturday night. Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic (and Philadelphia magazine!) reported ESPN was looking at Independence Mall, while the Philadelphia Business Journal said ESPN was thinking of Xfinity Live!

It seemed like we should know by the weekend. But last night, GameDay delayed its announcement. Read more »

What Temple Football Is Doing Right Now Is Simply Historic

Temple's Matt Rhule in action during an NCAA college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Temple’s Matt Rhule in action during an NCAA college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Philadelphia.

The curmudgeons who’ve always wanted the Temple football program to perish are feeling mixed emotions today. The Owls are nationally ranked and withstood a massive challenge Thursday night at East Carolina, winning a game in which they were considered underdogs.

Are the Temple professors who badgered former president Peter Liacouras for years to disband football and budget more money for education teaching their lessons today with a little less verve?

The Owls are 7-0 as we speak, with a massive battle looming at Lincoln Financial Field on Halloween night against Notre Dame. I had made a cryptic comment a couple of weeks ago that the Owls would dress up in costume that night as a Division I football team. Now I don’t know what to think. Because if Temple beats Notre Dame, the group of eggheads who make up the BCS bowl selection committee might be forced to stick this upstart Temple team in there in a national championship scenario.

Who would have thunk it. Read more »

Reports: College GameDay Will Broadcast in Philly on Halloween

Desmond Howard and Rece Davis fist bump moments before the live broadcast of ESPN College GameDay at Sundance Square.

Desmond Howard and Rece Davis fist bump moments before the live broadcast of ESPN College GameDay on September 5, 2015, at Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas.

Update: It has been confirmed. College GameDay will be in Philadelphia this weekend

Original: According to a report by 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, College GameDay, ESPN’s iconic college football pregame show, will broadcast from Independence Hall on Halloween before Temple’s game against Notre Dame at Lincoln Financial Field that day.

Last night, the 22nd-ranked Owls improved to 7-0 with a come-from-behind victory over East Carolina. Notre Dame will be 6-1 coming into the October 31st game, with its only loss coming to No. 6 Clemson.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported ESPN is actually scouting a site near the stadium, perhaps Xfinity Live!, for the Saturday show.  Read more »

ESPN Says Temple Could Be in National Title Hunt

Quarterback P.J. Walker of the Temple Owls drops back to pass in the third quarter of the NCAA football matchup between the Temple Owls and the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC, on October 22, 2015.

Quarterback P.J. Walker of the Temple Owls drops back to pass in the third quarter of the NCAA football matchup between the Temple Owls and the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC, on October 22, 2015.

Temple is 7-0 in football for the first time ever.

That’s pretty great. Here’s what’s better: Temple is so good ESPN has already started concocting ways the Owls could make the four-team national title playoff. Yes, really.

Last night, the Owls scored two late touchdowns in a span of 1:13 to beat East Carolina, 24-14. Jahad Thomas, the Owls’ star running back, had just 66 yards rushing but scored a pair of touchdowns in the win. P.J. Walker‘s TD pass to Robby Anderson with 3:31 to play gave Temple the lead for good. Read more »

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 »

How a 4-Year-Old Became Captain of Penn’s Football Team

Penn’s football team didn’t exactly get off to a stunning start last Saturday — they lost to Lehigh, 42 to 21, to kick off head coach Ray Priore’s first season. But this video about a 4-year-old named Vhito DeCapria and his “second family” proves they’re winners, whatever might happen on the field.

Follow @SandyHingston on Twitter.

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