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 »

Temple Wins in Wild Comeback, but Still Isn’t Ranked

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You could watch a thousand more football games and not see another one that ended the way Temple-Massachusetts did on Saturday. The Owls, favored by 10 and looking for their first 3-0 start since 2010, gave up what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown to UMass’ Jamal Wilson with 1:20 left in the game.

But Temple’s Praise Martin-Oguike blocked the extra point and Stephaun Marshall scooped it up. About to be tackled, he lateraled it to Will Hayes (who said postgame he yelled for Marshall to throw it to him).

Hayes scored. Instead of a 24-20 deficit, Temple was down just 23-22. Now the Owls would only need a field goal to win the game instead of a touchdown. Smart thinking; a lot of people don’t even know you can run back a blocked extra point. 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

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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 »

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