Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What should Temple do?

You've heard the phrase by now so many times that you might recognize it by its four-letter abbreviation:
What Would Jesus Do?
It's a reminder of a moral imperative on how to do the right thing.
"What would I do, Fr. Peter?
 State your  case, but  I certainly would not run down Temple
University. As Donovan McNabb said to T.O,
 keep their name out of your mouth.
I say welcome TU in with open arms.
That's what I would do."
Nobody at Villanova consulted that checklist before trying to run down Temple University for the last week on a Big East conference call. At the time, according to reports in the New York Post and the Boston Globe, Temple appeared to be a shoe-in for all-sports membership. Three days later, Temple was an afterthought. It was not hard to see why. Rather than promote its own name, Villanova _ according to well-placed sources _ spent the better part of three days on the conference call running down Temple.
It lined up opposition for Temple for all sports membership, mostly from its fellow WWJD schools, like Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and St. John's.  The WWJD schools said, basically: "Well, you are against them joining in all sports. We're against them joining in basketball. Why don't we just conspire to keep them out altogether."
Villanova: "Err, yeah, OK."
So Villanova destroyed about a 100-year relationship with a fellow city institution to keep its tenuous spot in a tenuous conference.
(There's no maybes there. Villanova declared War on Temple with this Pearl Harbor sneak attack and Temple, in its righteous might, will gain the inevitable triumph so help it God. Apologies to FDR.)
Speaking of God, can you imagine Jesus getting on the phone and saying, "Don't let those chumps associate with us."
No, he'd welcome them with open arms.
The more important question now is: What Should Temple Do?
I listened to a lot of possibilities in that area both pre- and post-game on Saturday, ranging from holding a press conference lambasting them to canceling this year's basketball game and next year's football game to suing Villanova and the Big East.
All interesting suggestions from good, well-meaning, people.
It's a tough call either way, but I say Temple is doing the right thing by staying quiet and working behind the scenes, which I've been assured that it is.
Put it this way.
The chances of Temple football finishing the regular season 10-2 currently is a better than 50/50 shot.
If that happens, Temple becomes a national story.
There's no conference in the country that would not want a 10-2 team coming off consecutive 9-3 and 8-4 seasons.
There's no conference in the country that would not want the fourth-largest TV market in the country that offers a team with demonstrated and documented TV ratings success over a three-year period.
Villanova failed that test over the last seven days and I don't think even confession absolves them of that sin.
Temple is passing it right now.