Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Steve Addazio

Upgrades at DC with Chuck Heater and OC with Scot Loeffler
mean Addazio could be in a better position to succeed than AG was.

Tomorrow is Steve Addazio's 52d birthday.
June 1, 1959 was the day he came into this world.

You might think the first gift he received was last week's commitment of promising Washington, D.C. quarterback Benjamin Onett.
I don't think so.
To me, the gift came a few days earlier and was this terrific statistical analysis of Al Golden's work at Temple.

Make no mistake, Golden set the bar high for Addazio.
To me, with this kind of talent Golden has left here, Addazio will have to go at least 10-2.
That would represent both an improvement of each of the last two seasons and a MAC championship.
But it would not mean wins over Penn State and Maryland (although those would be nice). He can do it by running the MAC table.
The statistical analysis seems to indicate that the bar is not all that high for Addazio, although the Owls can't afford to stub their toe like they did in losses at the end of the season to Ohio and Miami.
What it doesn't address is the lack of imagination in Golden's offensive schemes and his failure to stop the read option of Frank Solich's Ohio teams in each of the last two seasons.
Does Scot Loeffler inject that imagination in the offense?
Does Chuck Heater, who comes with a far more impressive resume as a DC than Mark D'Onofrio ever had, have a handle on the read option?
Is Addazio a better overall motivator and CEO than Golden was?

We'll have a good idea about five minutes after the Villanova game.
If it is a gut-wrencher, like the last two were, it's going to be a long season.
My money is on the Owls to cover that night and a short and brilliant season to follow.
Happy birthday, Steve.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Al Golden talks Temple football

Al Golden may be gone, but he has not forgotten Temple.
Read that headline and you might just shrug your shoulders.
Al Golden has spent much of the last five years talking Temple football, so that might not be news.
'Obviously I think Temple's a better fit. ...I think clearly we began the process of establishing you can recruit, and there's so many great things that have occurred at Temple University. I think they're worthy of taking that next step'
Al Golden
on Temple
and the Big East

There was never a more tireless promoter of the program than AG and that was one of his many, many good qualities.
If some kid who had an internet radio podcast wanted to talk Temple football with him, Golden would give the kid five minutes of his valuable time.
Rivals.com radio, scout.com recruiters, Golden would talk to them all.
The reason that headline, though, is news today is that Al Golden is talking Temple football for the first time in five months, basically.
In a 40-minute opening introductory press conference as the head coach at the University of Miami, Al Golden did not mention Temple once.
Not a big deal to some, but a big deal to me.
That's why I was heartened to read this Golden nugget, courtesy of Octoberproject, a neighbor of our good friend Dave "Fizzy" Weinraub, a former Temple football great.
In it, Golden is asked what he thinks the addition of Villanova would mean to the Big East.
He basically said to forget Villanova, that Temple would add a lot more value to that conference.
From TV ratings to increased attendance to the overall perception of the program, Golden certainly added to that value.
By making comments like those AG made recently, old habits like talking up Temple football seem to be hard for Al Golden to break and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Temple football has a horse in the Preakness

Congie DeVito video tribute.
You hear it all the time when someone is claiming to be neutral while making a point:
"I don't have a dog in this fight" or "I don't have a horse in this race."
Well, the Preakness is Saturday and I have a horse in this race.
So do you.
His name is King Congie.
Mike Jensen wrote a terrific story on this subject earlier this week in The Philadelphia Inquirer and it is linked in the paragraph below.
Congie DeVito was just a nameless poster on Owlscoop.com who I got to meet at a couple of tailgates over the years. He passed away, like many Temple fans seem to do (Dan Glammer, Steve Bumm and Shane Artim come to mind but the list is too long to mention here), at way too young ages.
He, like I, shared a common love: Temple football. We both liked Bruce Arians and thought he got a raw deal at Temple.

King Congie: Temple football's horse
 His extended to Temple basketball.
I like Temple basketball. I love Temple football.
(In fact, I think he was a Temple basketball fan first.)
I'm scheduled to get a haircut on Saturday in Center City.
I usually don't bet on horseracing because I know nothing about it but, on this day, I will make an exception.
Afterward, I will walk to the OTB near City Hall on the way to work and place a couple of sheckles on King Congie, a 30 to 1 shot.
If King Congie wins, we all do.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Winning TV sets and Temple

Steve Addazio was a big hit at the Pennsylvania High School Football Coaches
Association Convention on Friday, in State College. "There's a buzz about Temple now," Addazio said.

Right now, the company line at Temple is that it is "perfectly happy" in the MAC.
Don't let the company line fool you.
At Temple, just as anywhere else, money talks and bullbleep walks.
Al Golden has handed the keys over to a nice Cherry and White brick house to Steve Addazio and it is now time for Addazio to show that house on the market by continuing to win. Golden has given Addazio players, plenty of good ones, and now it's up to Addazio to coach these guys to a title.

Every bar in town was tuned into Temple-UCLA football
Nothing less, and maybe even a little bit more. A win at Maryland would be nice. A win over Penn State before 70,000 in the hometown would be even nicer.
Do that, and TV ratings in the hometown go through the roof and ticket sales to the remaining games soar.
Think ESPN might notice?
That's what is at stake for the school over the next few months.
Addazio has been telling everyone for the last few months that "there is a great buzz about Temple" now and a "great vibe about that place."
He said so again on Friday at the Pennsylvania High School Coaches Association.
That might be true now, but imagine what it would be like if the Owls had that breakthrough season many believe they can have this year?
The Owls will play a great schedule and can make a great case for advancing in the college football world and for the school's brand as a whole.
Television networks are coming at the Big East with wads of dollars in their hands for the next national TV contract.
The Big East is holding palms extended.
TV networks are saying, "Wait a minute, here. Where is my Philadelphia market?"
While Philadelphia is the nation's fifth-largest city, it is the nation's fourth-largest TV market.
TV sets mean money.
The Big East merely shrugs its shoulders and says, "We're waiting on Villanova to come up with a suitable stadium plan."
Clearly, Villanova has no such plan.
Temple not only has a stadium plan, has got a stadium, a good one, and has that stadium locked up for the next seven years.
Temple-UCLA Eagle Bank Bowl ratings were extraordinarily high, the second-highest bowl numbers on ESPN in the 30 years of bowl games in the Philly market. People in the fourth-largest market did not tune in on a Tuesday afternoon to watch UCLA.
Temple proved it can deliver the numbers.
"The relationship has worked out really well for all parties. Expansion into the Philadelphia media market has already shown benefits with strong ratings for the MAC's football television package."
_ Rick Cryst,
former MAC commissioner

Temple can give the Big East those numbers and the Big East can give Temple what it wants: A home for all sports.
Temple belongs with schools like Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia and not with schools like the directional Michigans and the Kents and the Akrons.
With a stadium and a quality Division I program already in place, the Big East would be foolish not to look at Temple football as really the only viable answer to lock up the largest available market.
The top five AVAILABLE markets to the BCS are:
1) Philadelphia (fourth overall)
2) Houston (10th overall)
3) Cleveland (17th overall)
4) Orlando (19th overall)
5) Baltimore (24th overall)

It's pretty clear from that list and from Temple's most recent bowl ratings that school has positioned itself well. Whether the TV people can convince the Big East the same now that this Villanova mess is over is another matter entirely.
To that end, winning would not hurt.
It never does.