Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No excuses for Owl Nation now

Owl Nation .... Photo courtesy of Owlsports.com

MAC sack leader Adrian Robinson
Thursday, Nov. 5
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Line: Temple by 17 1/2
Records: Owls 6-2, Miami 1-8
Radio: WHAT-AM, 1340
TV: None

Now that the Phillies have lost to the Yankees, there is no excuse for Owl Nation.

Show up and represent for one of the hottest college football teams in the country, YOUR Temple Owls.

Could there have been anything worse for Temple football than for the Owls to be playing a live game against the seventh game of the World Series in a town crazed for one of the participants on a cold night when the buses and subways aren't running?

That would have been a Doomsday Scenario for Temple attendance on the same level of a loss to Villanova.

Well, if you don't have a car, it might be tough to get to the Linc but the university is offering free bus rides to all interested students.

So there is no excuse whatsoever for the 10,000 students who live on campus.

It's time for the 260,000 living Temple alumni to get with the (football) program as well, since most of us have cars and can take up to five other people with us.

The football team has done their part and they are working hard to do more for our great university. They have goals far beyond what they have already accomplished.

You can help them by showing up Thursday night and showing that you care.

There are few teams playing Football Bowl Subdivision ball who need fans, a following, a crowd more than Temple does but too often crap out of the Owls' control conspires against them.

Now that the Owls are winning and the Phillies have lost, both Temple's on-and-off-field luck is changing for good.

Gosh, I certainly hope so.

Consider past happenings that have helped ruin the attendance:
The Catch That Was (but ruled wasn't) _ Bruce Francis caught a ball two years ago at UConn that would have boosted 2007 attendance immeasurably. Yet a Big East (yes, Big East) replay official ruled a catch wasn't a catch.
The Philadelphia Hurricane _ Hurricanes never hit Philadelphia, right? Wrong. The UConn rematch of 2008 was much ballyhooed and promoted with billboards. A crowd of close to 30,000 was expected but a legitimate Catergory One Hurricane (Hanna) rolled through Philadelphia just in time for a Saturday noon kickoff. On the nightly news 12 hours earlier, John Bolaris reported, "No, Temple won't be playing tomorrow. No way in this weather." Bolaris signed off before anyone could correct that boozo that football games are played in all kinds of weather. People turned off the TV and stayed away, many thinking there would not even be a game. The fact that 17,000 die-hards attended and cheered their butts off was remarkable.
The Hail Mary _
It's thrown hundreds of times and knocked down hundreds of times. One or two times every 40 or so years, somebody gets lucky. Buffalo got lucky. Temple attendance suffered the rest of the year.
The Navy fumble _ Everybody else takes a knee in the situation the Owls found themselves in last year in Annapolis. Temple decided to run a play instead, ala Miracle of the Meadowlands. So what happened? Miracle in Annapolis.
The Villanova Debacle _ I saw literally hundreds of people, guys I haven't seen in years, in the pre-game parking lot of this year's Sept. 3 game who told me how excited they were to be playing Villanova again. Almost to a man, all of them offered a caveat. "If we don't beat the crap out of this team, I won't be back," they said. "I mean it." I haven't seen a single one of them back since. That was an attendance-killer for the rest of the season, no matter what the Owls did after it. I was stunned at the depth of feeling going into the stadium and even more convinced that folks were serious about what they said when I walked out of the stadium that night. People felt that strongly about beating Villanova.
The Army Nor'easter _ Owls expected a huge crowd, about 25,000, for Homecoming against Army in October. Unfortunately, a Nor'easter picked Temple's Homecoming to ruin that day. Crowd would have been about 25K with nice weather. It turned out to be 14K and a lot of alumni just skipped Homecoming rather than deal with the wind, rain and cold.
Temple finally deserves to reap the rewards of being the biggest, most interesting, sports story in town.
Sorry to see the Phillies lose but the alternative would have been ugly for the Owls.
Now our fans can make it a beautiful night by doing nothing more strenuous than getting off their butts to get to the game and standing and cheering for three hours at the game.
It's not much to ask.