Thursday, December 29, 2011

Palmer would be flattered by Pierce comic book

The front and back covers of the Paul Palmer comic book.

This may or may not be a moot point, depending upon whether or not Bernard Pierce comes back for his senior year, but it's something I had to ask the other great Temple running back.
"Would you mind if Temple used the same comic book campaign for Bernard Pierce than it used for you?" I wrote him.
I just got the reply this morning.
"I'd be flattered," Paul Palmer said.
Heck, I know that Bernard has a tough call in the days ahead.
Not tough for me or Steve Addazio, but for him.

Paul Palmer (middle, between Vinny Testaverde and Brian
Bosworth) at Heisman awards: "I'd be flattered" by
a Bernard Pierce comic book. Notice all three are wearing
Temple-colored ties.
It's Addazio's opinion _ really, the general consensus out there _ that if you are not a sure-fired, stone-cold-lock for first-round pick in the draft, then you should come back and, in his words, "enjoy your senior year and get your degree."
That's reasonable. If there is money now (by comparison a paltry and not guaranteed amount), it only figures to double and triple next year and then it becomes guaranteed money as a No. 1.
I think, and Addazio seems to agree, that Bernard can raise his stock one or two rounds with another solid year at Temple.
And, who knows, if everything breaks right, catapult himself into a Heisman Trophy race.
These are things that are all weighing heavily on Bernard's mind right now, so maybe a little comic relief is in order.
As in comic book relief.
I came out in favor of this comic book as early as Bernard's sophomore year but Temple's promotions people went all high-tech on me with a Facebook page and a Bernard for Heisman website.
Nice, but sometimes the old ideas are the best ones.
Simply replace every Palmer image and stats with those of Pierce and you got yourself a damn good Heisman campaign for 2012 right there. The template and story board is right there. Replacing Palmer's life story and stats with Pierce's should be a snap.
The only missing element would be someone to draw the illustrations.
If the illustrator for that is dead, there's a sports anchor guy in Allentown named Troy Hein who wrote a children's book and has the best illustrator around. Hire that gal (her name is Kathryn Roman).
Heck, Temple would be stealing its own terrific idea and Palmer benefited from it to the tune of a second-place finish in the Heisman Trophy balloting of 1986. The Owls' promotion department send 1,050 comic books to 1,050 Heisman Trophy voters. It was the best $10,000 Temple spent on anything. It came back 10,000,000-fold (that's 10 million) in terms of viewers who saw Temple associated with good football while watching the Heisman Trophy ceremony on CBS-TV that year.
That (and a 1,866-yard season) got Palmer a seat at the table in between Miami's Vinny Testaverde (the eventual winner) and third-place finisher Brian Bosworth of Oklahoma.
It also might have helped Palmer get drafted in the first round.
I've watched every game of both careers and I happen to think Bernard is the better player (sorry, Paul). I usually (though not always) side with the older guys (nobody can tell me that Mo Wilkerson was better than either Joe or Dan Klecko), so that's saying something.
If Bernard comes back, he should get that comic book and whatever help Temple can offer him along the path to a Heisman and a first-round pick.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Addazio's sound advice for Bernard Pierce

One last time, Derek "Bonecrusher" Dennis leads the Diamond Marching Band in bowl-championship T for Temple U. Bernard Pierce will do that after the national title game next year (hopefully).

At this time of the year around the turn of the century (last one, not this one), a young girl named Virginia wrote a letter to a newspaper editor asking if there really was a Santa Claus.
What followed was about the best response to a letter to the editor in the history.
"I've always been a believer if you have a chance to be a first-round pick, that's great. But, if not, I think you come back and get your degree and enjoy your senior year and be a marquee player in the country and all the great things that go with it."

_ Steve Addazio

Steve Addazio isn't an editor, but he gave Bernard Pierce just as good response on whether or not he should enter the NFL draft.
The basic tenant of which was, yes, Bernard, there will be an NFL next year (and the year after that) and if you are not going to be a first-round pick THIS year, stay in school, get that degree, and possibly get guaranteed first-round money NEXT year.
I haven't seen one first-round projection this year, but I can easily envision it after a solid senior season for Bernard.
Here are some highlights from the Addazio press conference:
"I have (sat down with Bernard) and he's got to sit down with his family and evaluate the situation. Those are personal decisions and they've got to make them based off the facts.
"You put your stuff into the NFL and get feedback and let them process the information, that's all you can do. I've got friends in the league and give them feedback. You give him all the information that's factual and doesn't have an agenda to it.

Four of the estimated 6,000 TU fans in Owlbuquerque.
Thanks, CT, for the great photo
"I've always been a believer if you have a chance to be a first-round pick, that's great. But, if not, I think you come back and get your degree and enjoy your senior year and be a marquee player in the country and all the great things that go with it. I'm a guy who deals in facts. I'm not an agenda person. You want the facts, here's the facts. If you want my opinion, then here's my opinion. In this world we're in today, at times, there's a lot of different opinions that have agendas.
"All you can do is offer your help. Do I have all the answers? No. I have some experience in it. All you can do is offer your opinion."
On whether the decision to come out should be made on whether or not he's a first-round pick:
"Me, yeah. That's not just me. That's a pretty strong consensus out there. I mean, Stay in school. Get your degree. Play college football. You are supposed to be in college for four years.
"Guys came out of school early for one reason. The money got so grand in the first round ... I mean, that's why but not to just do it. The NFL is a rough business. Stay in college. Enjoy yourself as long as you can. Get your degree. It's all about getting your degree. Get your life set. Joy is fleeting. Knowledge is everlasting. Don't get away from those fundamentals."
Very profound.
Not exactly as profound as "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" but certainly "Yes, Bernard, there will be an NFL next year" rings just as deeply.
Heck, I've always written that Bernard is a first-round draft pick. I maintained that since his freshman year but that assumption was made on the basis of a four-year career.
If he stays for his senior year, he will be one just as certainly as  there is an  NFL.
Santa Claus?
I'll leave that question for the newspaper editors.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Mexico Bowl: The Fifth Quarter

Steve Addazio either tells very funny jokes or heard one here.

Chuck Heater seems to be enjoying his time at Temple.
Sometimes during all of this talk about recruiting rankings, coaching changes, conference shifting and declaring early, we forget one thing.
Football is a game and it is supposed to be fun.
Thank you, Temple football team, for reminding us of that most important fact on Saturday afternoon.
I have to laugh when, after a big win, some reporter asks a head coach "what's next?" when the correct response would be, hey, how about enjoying this win a little bit first?
That's what I took away from Saturday.
Temple's 37-15 win over Wyoming was a tribute to the coaching staff and the players for all the hard work they put in pretty much over the last 365 days.
It was fun watching it unfurl for three hours on the field.
It was even more fun watching the fifth quarter, the celebration afterward.
Heck, the game was not in doubt so that quarter began a little early, with Rod Streater dunking head coach Steve Addazio with a gatoraid cooler filled with water.
"He's the realist coach there is, but I had to get him, though," Streater said.
Then came a dunking for another real good coach and overall great person, defensive coordinator Chuck Heater.

Morkeith Brown makes sure too many hands don't spoil the pot.
 Even assistant coach Matt Rhule got a water bottle full of cold shock. It wasn't a whole cooler, but Rhule isn't even a whole coordinator.
Addazio turned to Rhule and laughed.
This was all while the game was going on, but had been decided.
Afterward, it was even better.
Addazio said something only he and the team could hear and they roared laughing. I will use the next two weeks to find out what that was and, if it's clean (and I think it was), I will pass it along here.
There was 26-year-old Iraq war vet Morkeith Brown lifting the New Mexico Bowl Trophy, a Native American Clay Pot. Like the former tight end he was, the defensive end did not drop it.
Saturday's TV ratings in Philly market
Dallas/Tampa on NFL Net - 5.5 RTG 10 Share 8pm to 11pm
Temple/Wyoming on ESPN - 3.3 RTF 8 share 2pm - 530pm.
Flyers Hockey on Sportsnet - 1.8 RTG 5 share - 1pm to 330pm
Thank God.
It would have probably had to make the five-hour flight home in pieces.
There was no more appropriate guy to hoist the bowl trophy.
Brown was a leader from the day he walked into the Edberg-Olsen Football Complex and he was a leader until the day he walked off the field at the last time.
He will be missed, but the memories he and his teammates created will remain.
What's next is a question for another day and you can bet this staff is working on the answers right now.
I, for one, am not done basking in the glow of the fifth quarter.

Flicking in a Winterthur Wonderland

The Picturesque City of Winterthur

Firstly I apologise for a such a poorly punned title. I did consider alternatives, but the play on Hot Chocolate’s ‘It started With a Kiss’ just wouldn’t work. ‘It started with an offer of a free Subbuteo team in a football magazine’ just doesn’t quite cut it.

So what am I going on about? Subbuteo! Despite being aware of Subbuteo from a very early age, being more into cricket than football meant I was more obsessed with obtaining Test Match than any flick-to-kick related products (and for £7.99 from Goldies toy shop, Test Match would be mine – replete with signed photo of the then England team... Botham, Gower et al. Now all that was required was some friends to play with... oh well, back in the box!)

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I had seen lots of Subbuteoitems in the windows of the toy shop in town, but even when I first became beholden to football, it still never appealed. It just seemed way too nerdy and serious. Yes they had lovely shiny trophies, but one didn’t need to love Subbuteo to desire those. I'd already dipped my toe into the world of table football a few months earlier when I purchased an all white team from the bargain bin at that same toy shop, but other than drawing my own kits on the blank plastic kit canvas, I still wasn't really getting it.

Two factors combined to change my stance:
  1. There were pretty much no other football toys out there at the time (Striker had disappeared a few years earlier and wouldn’t be available again until the '90s)
  2. An offer of a free Subbuteo team in Shoot! Magazine.

Yes, a FREE Subbuteo team! Which one would I get? As the advert clearly stated, ‘You could even get your favourite team!’ The excitement!!! 
The form was filled in, the requisite Stamped Addressed Envelope (how I miss that phrase) included and the standard 28 days for delivery was waited. Finally, one day after school, a package had arrived. A package that had seen better days by the look of it; my SAE a shadow of its former self. Whether it had suffered some rain damage followed by a letterbox-induced shredding or had just been used as a football for the posties at the local sorting office I shall never know. Nor indeed did I care for I was possibly about to embark on my full-on Subbuteo journey. I tore open the parcel, excitement building... who could it be, who could it be???

Well... you know the answer to that. Kinda gave it away in the title, really.

So...Winterthur... Who???

According to Wikipedia, Winterthur (German pronunciation: [ˈvɪntərtuːr], English: /ˈvɪntərtʊər/) is a city in the canton of Zurichin northern Switzerland. It has the country's sixth largest population estimated at more than 100,000 people.

So there you have it. Furthermore, FC Winterthur play in the Swiss Challenge League, the second highest tier of Swiss football. They play at the Schützenwiese Stadium.

Their home colours are all red. Only, they weren’t back then. Their home colours were white shorts and socks and white shirts with, if the Subbuteo figure painters are to be believed, three vertical gashes to the upper body. I’m assuming they were supposed to be uniform stripes, but the ones on my figures definitely looked like the result of some coordinated machete attack. Guess that would explain the blank stares on their plastic faces. The pic below is from an eBay listing (not mine - I’m holding on to my beloved Winterthur!) Mine came in more modern Subbuteo packaging (landscape layout, not vertical), but the figures are identical.

The Walking(?) Wounded

I now had two complete teams and, along with some cheap balls from the same bargain bin as before, could fully immerse myself in the murky waters of Subbuteo. Now all I needed was a pitch...and maybe some corner flags...and obviously a ref and linesman. A scoreboard would be quite useful too. Oh dear. In one fell swoop my interest had gone from passing to 'collector'. 0 to Geek in under 5 seconds...

And so yet another expensive pastime came into existence. One I shall delve into in greater detail in future, but for now, Merry Christmas people of Winterthur... and please, get to a hospital – those wounds need serious attention!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bukta 'Nylon Soccer Jerseys' ad, 1971

They say the football played in England back then was electric, and now we have all the evidence to see why...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"T"o"T"al Domination

"You think I'm going to miss playing in our first win over Penn State next year? No way
The pros can always wait. I'm having too much fun right now," The Franchise seems to be saying.
There was one defining moment for me in today's 37-15 Temple win over Wyoming and it is probably not one you will guess right away.
It was just a little picture, not the big one.
The Owls hoisting that New Mexico Bowl Clay Pot Trophy?
Yeah, good guess, but try again.

Rod Streater's touchdown catch of Chris Coyer's pass right before the half to make it 28-7?
Again, nice try.
Give up?
I'll tell you.
It was head coach Steve Addazio grabbing Matty Brown in a bear hug in the first half.
That said it all for me.
If every Owl had a heart as big as the one in Matty Brown's body, Temple would be playing for the national championship on the second week of January instead of coming home with a New Mexico Bowl Trophy in the middle of December.
Brown was so upset coming out of the game after one play that he made it known.
Instead of yelling at him, Addazio took the moment to console him and tell him how much he was loved. Addazio wrapped him in a hug and walked him away, saying something gently in his ear that seemed to resonate with him.
That was an important moment for me and it should have been an important moment to every Owl fan.
A sweet T-shirt headed my way.

It was for this Owl fan.
We have the right guy leading this program and I for one hopes he stays for a long, long time and does not have the same kind of wandering eye the last guy had.
If  you are a Temple fan like me, this is one of the two greatest days of your life.
The other day came in 1979 when a fullback named Mark Bright ran over and through California for a 28-17 win in the Garden State Bowl.
This time, Total Domination came in the form of a 100-yard day by Bernard "The Franchise" Pierce and an offensive MVP trophy from quarterback Chris Coyer.
Of course, there was Chuck Heater's defense.
It was there all year and it will be there next year as well.
This is just the start of something big at Temple and, if The Franchise stays next year, it will be a very big and fun season for not only him but for all of us and maybe, just maybe, a January bowl win to cap it.
Meanwhile, we know we have a coach who is so tuned in he knows little picture can be just as important as the big one.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Mexico Bowl: Final exam for Daz

Dave "Owlified" Gerson's excellent senior highlight video. If there is a "techie" out there who can remix the background music of this from the classical format to D.J. Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" on a loop than get back to me. Love the Ed Benkin call of Joe Jones' touchdown catch and don't love the Harry Donahue call on the Kee-ayre Griffin blocked field goal "running with it is Robinson. Johnson, rather" (which is pretty much a typical Harry Donahue call).

This is going to look awfully good at the E-O.
My good friend Fizzy and I were talking about Steve Addazio's first year as Temple's head coach after the final game of the regular season.
"I'm going to have to give him a C," Fiz said. "Not excellent. Not good. Satisfactory."
Fizzy is a former Temple football great and someone who spent the rest of his life giving out grades for a living as an esteemed educator.
I thought his grade of Daz was a fair one until that point.
I gave him an incomplete because you really can't give Steve Addazio a grade until he completes his finals.
That comes tomorrow (2 p.m., ESPN) in the New Mexico Bowl.
If Temple beats Wyoming to a pulp, 31-14, something on the order I expect it to, Addazio's grade improves to a B+, which is very good. If it's a 28-27 win, it drops to a B.
I could not in fairness give Addazio a B or an A on the basis of his first regular season because I thought he made some key errors in judgment that could have cost the Owls at least a couple of games:

Some that come to mind:
  • Removing Mike Gerardi with a lead in the Penn State game. I thought Gerardi was following the "plan to win" until he was removed. The plan to beat Penn State was to avoid turnovers and make plays in the play-action passing game. Gerardi even threw the ball into the ground in the first half of the Penn State game, rather than make a turnover. When Chester Stewart was ineffective, Gerardi was reinserted and I really felt that the pressure went back to Gerardi to make a play in order to keep his job. The result was that he forced the ball into tight windows and Penn State picked him off twice.
  • The failure to remove Stewart in the Toledo or Bowling Green games. Stewart was never held to the same high standard Gerardi was and he was allowed to remain in the game Toledo despite throwing two picks. Against Bowling Green, it was painfully apparent he could not move the team. As a result, two games got away from the Owls.
  • Not recognizing the talent he had in Chris Coyer. Daz said he was "thisclose" to starting Coyer against Villanova. Had he done that, it's much more likely Temple would have gone 10-2 instead of 8-4. Heck, Villanova was the perfect game to get Coyer's feet wet. Owls would have beaten that sorry ass team, 42-7, with Stewart (suspended for that game), Gerardi, Coyer or Clinton Granger.
Now come the finals on Saturday before an ESPN national television audience.
Daz will ace his final with a 31-14 win and earn my B plus. He can't get an A because I really feel this is the most talented team of the last three years and Al Golden reached a minimum eight with slightly lesser talent.
If he wins this game, though, Daz will accomplish one of the big things he said he would do (see sidebar of this blog) which is to get the team in a bowl game and win it.
That's very good in my book and something Golden never did.
Heck, even a tough marker like Fizzy might be forced to redo his grade as well.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ceefax Football

‘England through after dramatic penalty win’ was the headline writ large on ITV’s Oracle Teletext service. It was the evening of June 30th 1998 and David Batty had just seen his penalty saved by the Argentinian goalkeeper Carlos Roa in a Round of 16 World Cup match. England had been defeated 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, and this was soon reflected in the hastily corrected headline that appeared only seconds later: ‘England out of World Cup after penalty miss’.

Teletext always tried to be first with the breaking news headlines and even if it did so by wrongly pre-empting imminent events, at least its heart was in the right place. This was, after all, old technology – an Information Single-Carriageway bringing pages of news and facts by the dozen to ordinary TV screens throughout the UK.

Though many favoured Oracle, it was the BBC’s Ceefax service that most people preferred. At least it seems that way; you only have to utter the word ‘Ceefax’ to a football fan of a certain age and the chances are they’ll respond with a simple number: 302.

Ceefax page 302 was a gateway to enlightenment, aspiration and fulfilment for every follower of football hungry to know more. Who were United about to sign? Who’d picked up a serious injury and wouldn’t be playing for Liverpool?  Had Arsenal won their League Cup match the night before? These questions and many more were inevitably answered among Ceefax’s neatly regimented pages.

Very useful they were too, but for many, Ceefax really came into its own around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. It was at this moment that thousands of British football fans pressed the ‘Text’ button on their remote controls and blanked out Grandstand to see the latest scores. Some aficionados with excellent eyesight preferred the ‘Mix’ button to get the double hit of football scores and UK Snooker from the Guild Hall in Preston displayed simultaneously, but they were clearly in the minority. As for those pressing 316 to get the latest two scores appearing on the bottom of their screens while they watched their regular programmes, they were among the absolute elite.

Keying in 303 on your remote got you the latest scores from Division One. With ten matches to cover and any number of goalscorers and sending offs to account for, Ceefax partitioned the scores onto three or four sub-pages that were displayed on rotation for around ten seconds at a time.

Once kick-off was out of the way, we viewers entered into a game of memory and observation. It was all very simple at first; with every score set to ‘0-0’, it wasn’t difficult to spot the name of a goalscorer suddenly appearing below an updated 1-0 scoreline. As more and more goals went in however, the screen gradually filled with player names and times (‘Sterland 26’, ‘Strachan 34’…) By half time, you were trying to remember whether you’d already acknowledged one score or another, but shoot – that was all part of the fun.

Admittedly there were occasional frustrations to be had with monitoring the latest scores on Ceefax. For a start, there was the aforementioned ten-second delay. Knowing that your team’s scoreline was on page 1 of 3, it seemed like an eternity to wait before it rolled around again through page 2 and eventually page 3.

Not only that - every so often Ceefax would also play its trump card by skipping the page you wanted and going on to the next one – never good on a day when a glut of goals caused a fourth page to appear in the sequence.

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to employ mitigating actions to reduce the inconvenience caused by the long wait. There was the ‘Number Re-Entry’ method: here the holder of the remote control would type in the same three-figure page number already being viewed in an attempt to make Ceefax update the text. More often than not, this old alternative to an F5 Refresh was not successful.

Others would use the ‘Short Walk’ method where it was preferable to go off and view another page for a few short seconds before jumping back to the original one. This called for a cool head and immaculate timing; get it wrong by a second or two and you could find yourself waiting another lifetime for the pages to go round in sequence once more.

At the other end of the scale, pages sometimes refreshed too quickly. Regular visitors to page 312 - ‘News in Brief’ - would sometimes be greeted by the sight of 10 or more sub pages of text. A wondrous thing, but you had to be quick. Those that dwelled too long on the latest news from the South American championships could easily find themselves dumped onto the next page in sequence before they’d had the chance to finish reading the previous one. Efficient use of the ‘Hold’ button was key in such situations.

But what are we saying... All these time issues were actually what gave Ceefax its old-world appeal. The sense of growing expectation as you waited for one page to be replaced by another only added to the thrill of it all, if indeed ‘thrill’ is the appropriate word here.

How strange, then, to suddenly find ourselves in an era where Jeff Stelling appears on Sky Sports every Saturday, his head and shoulders entrapped by manifold results, news tickers and videprinters. None of us could ever have dreamed of having so much information at our fingertips all those years ago, but there’s no harm in dreaming about the old days every once in a while too. Where Ceefax’s football pages were concerned, less was definitely more.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TFF's Bowl Party Special

Although I prefer Fight Temple Fight, my guess is that T for Temple U will be sung a few times at just about every bar in the Philadelphia area (and a few outside of it) this Saturday.

The Owls listen to some local hospitality in New Mexico.
If you are like me and your beloved Temple Owls are a little geographically west of your price range, you can do one of two things:
1) Stay at home, pace around the room, yell at the TV set and talk to yourself for three hours;
Or ...
2) Find a place where you can do the same with fellow Owl fans.
I chose the latter.
Instead of spending more than $1,000 on a road trip, I'm headed to Center City to spend about $980 less on Saturday afternoon.
I get a little bit of the experience of cheering for the Owls with fellow Temple fans, but none of the bills afterward. Heck, because it is a Saturday in December, even the metered parking is free.
I'd prefer to be at the stadium sharing the experience with my great fellow Owl fans, like I did in Section 121 all year, but Albuquerque is way above my pay scale.
I have a feeling, in this economy, a lot of my fellow Owl fans are in the same predicament. Temple vs. Wyoming football at 2 p.m. on Saturday on one TV (ESPN), followed by Temple vs. Texas in hoops at 2:30 on ESPN2. The plan now is to watch hoops during the football commercials.
As a service to those fans, we offer Temple Football Forever's Bowl party special today.
There are plenty of great places in the Philadelphia area to watch the game and we're going to offer you a few of our favorites today.
The key thing is that if there is one other Temple fan there, it's better than watching the game alone.
Philadelphia Center City:

A lot nicer inside than it looks from here.
Kelliann's, 15th and Spring Garden _ The first time I ever walked into this cozy little bar at my jaw dropped and it was not just because of the stunningly beautiful female patrons (there are plenty of those, by the way). It was after work and the Phillies were in the playoffs and the 56-inch HDTV offered the most spectacular picture I had ever seen to that point. (Since then, Parx Casino's cluster of 10 same-size TVs together behind one bar have beaten that. I don't like Parx because there's a guilty feeling being in a room with 10 spectacular TVs behind one bar when living in a world where kids are dying of hunger. Maybe it's just me.) At Kelliann's, Scott the bartender will turn the Temple game up as loud as you want. To say the men's room is a little small is an understatement. A regular-size phone booth is larger. Seriously. Don't go there is you plan to do No. 2. Otherwise, a great place to watch a Temple game.

The Field House, 12th and Filbert
Field House, 12th and Filbert _ This is the official Temple Bowl Party and I'm sorry I can't recommend it. The one time I went in there, I asked for the sound to be turned up to a Temple football game. I got flat-out turned down. Blasting in the background was the sound of a Wisconsin vs. Northwestern football game. It hissed me off so much some midwestern football game had sound and the hometown Temple Owls didn't, so I walked out as a matter of principle. Still, a good place to go because this will be one of the largest Temple crowds around and the open bar is only $15. If you don't mind not being able to hear the game (the sound is on for private parties, but the cheering and other background noise prevents you from hearing the announcers), this is the place to go.

South Philly Tap Room
The South Philadelphia Tap Room, 15th and Mifflin _ I've never been there, but I've heard nothing but good things about this place and the TVs there. From what I've been told, hearing the sound is no problem and the HDTVs are of very good quality. The place also gets rave reviews for its excellent selection of beers and quality of food. This would be like going to the Field House, but also having the added bonus of hearing the game. This one block west of Broad Street, next to St. Agnes Hospital so if the Owls give you a heart attack, you have a very good chance of surviving.
The Bishop's Collar, 23d and Fairmount _ A very Temple-friendly bar with good TVs and an old-time Temple football helmet behind the bar. Good chance there will be a lot of Temple students there.
If you are in Blue Bell, P.J. Whelihan's has hosted Temple parties in the past and most who went there walked away impressed. There is a new Chickie and Pete's on Route 611 in Warrington and that is always a good place to watch a game, as are the ones in South Philadelphia and the Far Northeast. Calloway's in Huntingdon Valley (County Line and Shoemaker Roads) has two outstanding HDTVs at the bar.
New Jersey
Don't know much about this state because, to me, the Delaware River might as well be the Atlantic Ocean. I know I was at the Pennsville, N.J. Applebee's once and asked for the sound of a Temple basketball game to be turned up (just enough to hear) and another waitress walked by and asked the bartender "what is that noise?" and made her turn it down. I never went back. If you have specific places you like in New Jersey, add them in the comment section below.

The Panache Restaurant in D.C.
is in the Golden Triangle downtown,
directly across from the Mayflower Hotel.
Other parties
D.C. _ There is a big FREE party scheduled for the Panache Restaurant, Downtown
1725 DeSales Street Northwest; Washington, DC 20036-4406; (Near Connecticut/Road Avenue NW).
Enjoy complementary heavy hors d'oeuvres and one free drink ticket (21 and over) courtesy of the Temple University Alumni Club of Washington D.C. Don't forget to wear your cherry and white and enter the free raffle. There is no need to pre-register.
Pittsburgh _ There will at least be two Owl fans at Pomodoro's in Wexford/Franklin Park. Ask for either Steel Owl or Pennsyltucky Owl. The place has lots of good beers and enough TVs to devote two to Temple (one for the football game and one for the hoops' game).

There are at least two cops on every corner in NYC. Love it.
New York City
Duke's Murray Hill (560 3d Street, between 37th and 38th Streets) will be the New York City party of choice for Temple fans. This is within easy stumbling distance of Penn Station, so you can take a train from Philly or Trenton, get totally blasted, get back on the same train and be sober by the time you arrive in Philadelphia. Just a thought. I love taking the train to New York City. I auditioned twice for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and just missed the cut both times. I recommend the train ride and the city, which has at least two cops on every corner, which is a very good thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unstoppable force vs. very movable object

Wyoming has never seen anybody like Matty Brown, the Owls' No. 2 back.

And I'm sure Wyoming has never seen anything like No. 30.
Math professors would have a field day crunching the numbers produced by Wyoming and Temple this season.
Both teams finished 8-4.
Both teams had one marquee home game against a traditional  BCS powerhouse, with Wyoming getting blown out by Nebraska, 38-14, and Temple losing a heartbreaker against Penn State, 14-10.
Temple is ranked No. 7 in rushing offense and Wyoming No. 115 in rushing defense.
You can talk about all of those numbers all you want, but the numbers that strike me the most are 63-19 and 25-17.
Utah State, a team I feel has comparable talent to Temple (and I really think Temple has more talent) was able to beat Wyoming, 63-19. Air Force, a team locked in a life-and-death struggle with Army (before winning, 24-14), played a competitive game with Wyoming, losing, 25-17. Temple blew out Army, 42-14.
Of course, Wyoming fans can point to two numbers, 28-27, and 13-10.
Wyoming was able to beat Bowling Green, 28-27, and Temple lost to Bowling Green, 13-10.
Warmest TU Bowl
since 1934

Game-time temps:
1934: 62 degrees
1979: 40 degrees
2009: 11 degrees
2011: 43 degrees*

However, Temple was in the middle of a nighmarish quarterback situation at the time, when head coach Steve Addazio refused to remove Chester Stewart in that game despite a whole lot of three-and-outs and two injured running backs. Temple needed a quarterback who could make a play and finally found one in Chris Coyer, who can make a whole lot of plays. Stewart played admirably in relief vs. Kent State, but Coyer is a horse of a whole different fire department (to borrow a Bum Phillips' phrase).
With Coyer, Temple is able to maximize its running game by making explosive plays down the field on play-action passes.
To me, Saturday's game is quite simply Temple's unstoppable force (run game) vs. Wyoming's movable object (run defense).
The forecast right now calls for 43 degrees, snow showers possible but no storm, and that's good running weather.
I've crunched all of those numbers and variables and have come up with a sum total of 45.
Temple 31, Wyoming 14.
The over-under is 46.
I'd lay the 6 1/2 before taking the under.
I just hope none of the Owls drop the Native American Clay Pot, which is the very fragile trophy that goes to the winner and one I'm sure they'll be reaching for, ohh, about 5 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday.
Maybe they should put the hands' team in for the trophy-hoisting ceremony.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wyoming-TU: The view from out West

Some interesting comments from the TV guys.

Todd Bowles is believed to be the first Temple grad ever named a head coach in the NFL and that came late this afternoon. Congratulations to Todd, the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Chad Smith runs Wyoming Football Forever, a Temple Football Forever equivalent in a parallel universe.
Only kidding about the name, though.
Smith's blog is here, the 7220 report, and it covers all things Cowboy football.
With the Wyoming vs. Temple game only a few days away, we thought this would be a good time for a question exchange.
My questions are in white type and his answers are yellow below:

1) I wonder if you heard any more from Wyoming fans watching ESPN and noticed them laughing when our bowl came up and what was the reaction there?

Wyoming fans surely took notice of this and thought it was a slap in the face to both the Wyoming and Temple football programs. This type of reaction just reinforces the ESPN-ization of college football; that being if you are not a BCS school you basically no longer matter in college football. What makes this reaction even more bizarre is the fact that ESPN actually owns the New Mexico Bowl! So they were in fact mocking their own product. Great work “world wide leader”!

2) Sum up your personal off-the-field experiences from the New Mexico Bowl two years ago, both highlights and lowlights?

The New Mexico Bowl may be only five years old but I can assure you it is a first class operation. They know that they are low in the pecking order in terms of bowl prestige and history but have a goal of being the most hospitable bowl out there. They put on some great events with luncheons, dinners, a pep rally (with fireworks!) and the pre-game fan party outside the stadium. The activities and the southwestern food are all top class and made for an enjoyable experience. There weren’t really any lowlights in terms of experience the only negative thing is out of the Bowl’s control as the weather in Albuquerque isn’t all that warm this time of year.

This clay pot is the trophy the Owls hope to hoist Saturday.

3) What is it about Albuquerque, the town itself, that surprised you the most in 2009?

There wasn’t much that surprised me in 2009 because with the University of New Mexico being in the Mountain West, I’ve been to Albuquerque more than a few times for both football and basketball. The first time I went there I was surprised by two things. First, I thought the city was a little dirty (in a dusty type of way) but hey what city in the high desert isn’t? Secondly, I found there to be a wide variety of different things to do (shopping, museums, outdoor recreation etc.) and was something I did not expect. Most surprising to me was downtown Albuquerque although not big in size, there are some nice cafes, bars and restaurants along Central street. I think Temple fans will enjoy the city.

4) Is your freshman QB mostly a drop-back passer or a mobile quarterback who can throw?

Brett Smith is definitely not a pure drop back passer and he isn’t a run first type of quarterback either. I would say your moniker of a mobile quarterback who can throw is the best description. That is what has impressed me the most about him in his true freshman season. He is a very good runner but he always looks to throw first before running. Most QB’s with his skill set take off and run right away when things break down but Smith always keeps his head up and is looking for an open wide receiver down field first.

5) Who are the players on the Cowboys will might play on Sundays and who are the other players to watch by the numbers come Saturday?

There aren’t any sure fire NFL prospects on this team but the two players who have the best chance that I know NFL scouts are looking at are defensive back Tashaun Gipson (4) and defensive end Josh Biezuns (44). Gipson is a four year starter who is good at making plays on the ball. He started the first three years at cornerback but switched to safety halfway through this year to help the team. Biezuns is a little undersized at 6-2 and 245 pounds but he has a non-stop motor and is always near the ball which is amazing for a defensive lineman and could be a good fir in a 3-4 defense as a OLB. The two other key players temple fans should watch on defense are linebacker Brian Hendricks (8) who is a tackling machine in the middle and defensive tackle Gabe Knapton(52) who you will see lineup on the inside and outside of the defensive line. Offensively the playmakers are quarterback Brett Smith (16), running back Alvester Alexander (32) who is your classic one cut runner and true freshman wide receiver Josh Doctson (89) who has emerged as a speed threat on the outside.

Friday, December 9, 2011

One week to the New Mexico Bowl

Temple fans' home away from home in Albuquerque is the Owl Cafe, 10 minutes
from the team hotel.

Heck, it's one week to the New Mexico Bowl and back in August I was off in dreamland thinking it might be another month until the Temple Owls got on the field again by the time December rolled around.
You know, beat Penn State, beat Maryland and then run through the entire MAC to finish 12-0.
Then win the MAC title game to go 13-0.

"I ain't lettin' you go to the NFL because we're going
to be 14-0 next year with you," Deon Miller seems to
be telling Datboy Nard.
Then I woke up with a minute to go in the Penn State game.
Temple never found an answer to its quarterback woes until three games remained in the season (too late) so that dream was busted.
The only other things I needed was Penn State to win the Big 10 and Maryland to win the ACC.
Walla, national title game.
When Maryland opened up with a 32-24 win over Miami (Fla.), I thought that just might happen.
Heck, if UConn, a team that lost by two touchdowns to Temple last year, can really make it to the Fiesta Bowl after that, then I can dream of a national title shot for Temple.
Then they tanked it and Penn State got hit by the Jerry Sandusky scandal and that fell apart.
So no national championship game for Temple, shockingly. No cover of Sports Illustrated featuring Bernie and the Bug. No shot of  Steve Addazio giving Florida fans the finger.
There's always next year.
No Temple and LSU.
It'll be LSU and  Alabama instead.

By going 14-0, Addazio could have
given his Florida critics this finger.
Wyoming and Temple (Saturday, Dec. 17, ESPN, 2 p.m.) will kick off the bowl season instead and that game will be pretty much as important as the 34 other non-championship games.
If Temple wins, the Owls get to take a bowl trophy home for the first time in 32 years.
The Owls can win their own little championship before a sizeable crowd in New Mexico and on TV since they will be the only FBS football on television that afternoon.
I'm cautiously optimistic.
I think the Owls can win by following the Addazio plan (play great defense, run the football, make a difference on special teams and use the play-action pass for explosive gains downfield). I think defensive coordinator Chuck Heater will whip up a pass rush scheme that rattles Wyoming freshman quarterback Brett Smith. He won't let him sit back and pick the defense apart.
I think No. 20, Kee-ayre Griffin, will jump one route and get a pick six. He has that kind of athletic ability.
Wyoming, though, is not a team to be taken lightly and I don't think the Owls will.
Seeing the kids celebrate around the Gildan New Mexico Bowl trophy would be a great way to frame this season after starting with a Mayor's Cup trophy.
It wasn't the dream I started with, but it's the one I have now and it is within this team's grasp.
One week and three hours away.

A special message from Hooter follows:
Create your own Animation

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Temple and the Big East in layman's terms

When I think of Temple's courtship of the Big East, I think of the classic romantic movie "Say Anything" starring John Cusack as Lloyd Dobbler and Iona Skye as Diane Court. John Mahoney is the overprotective and general sleazebag father.
In the iconic scene, Dobbler raises a boombox and plays Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and Court eventually sees the two were meant to be together.
In the Temple football courting Big East version, playing the role of overprotective father and overall sleazebag is Villanova. Playing the role of the Mid-American Football Conference has been every other girl Dobbler has met up until that moment who paled in comparison to Court.
Temple was all set for a Big East invite in October until Villanova lobbied the other Catholic schools in that conference to keep Temple out.
In the movies, Temple's boombox moment would have been its football TV ratings (tops in the MAC and among the best in the nation, rising attendance figures in football and its world-class basketball program). Seeing all this potential in its backyard, the Big East would have rolled out of bed into Temple's arms.
It's a wrap.
In this Temple reality version of Say Anything, the dirty dad (Villanova) tells the daughter he'll cut her off if she's got anything to do with the new guy and she makes the incorrect decision of doing what her dad tells her to do and not following her heart.
She then goes all over the country looking for the perfect man, wishing she could find someone as perfect as the guy in her backyard with the boombox. She spents the rest of her life regretting that decision and withers off and dies. That pretty much sums up the Big East and Temple these days.
On Dec. 7, 2011, a day that will live in Big East infamy, the Big East traveled 3,000 miles to get the Temple of the West (Boise State) and a San Diego State football program that averages far less in attendance and TV ratings than the Owls do. Not to mention SMU and Houston, so we won't.
Temple has a world-class stadium, a football program that has averaged more than eight wins in each of the last three seasons, and is within easy driving distance of the original Big East footprint.
Sadly, the boombox moment appears to be over and this Big East girl does not want Temple. Time to move on to someone (Conference USA, perhaps) who will appreciate Temple and help the Owls realize their full potential. The other girls, the MAC, will understand.
If the Big East withers off and dies, and it will, that's their loss.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TU vs. Wyoming shows how much has changed

Laramie, Wyoming, the site of the last Temple vs. Wyoming game.
Turnovers costly for Owls
By Mike Bruton
LARAMIE, Wyo. (9/2/1990) — If Wyoming was expecting an embattled opponent haunted by last season's failures, it didn't find one in Temple yesterday. What it found was a most generous adversary.
Jerry Berndt's Owls had no intention of making things easy for the Cowboys and, in fact, made things rather rocky for them for nearly three quarters before succumbing to its own mistakes and losing, 38-23, before a crowd of 17,564.
The game at War Memorial Stadium was pockmarked by turnovers, but the Owls hatched six of the eight that occurred, their last three propelling the Cowboys to victory in this, the season opener for both teams.
Complete story from Sept. 2, 1990 editon of Inquirer is here for your edification.

As I write this, the temperature in Albuquerque, New Mexico is 12 degrees.
Here in Philadelphia, it's 62 degrees.
So much for warm-weather bowl destinations.
It could be worse.
According to an email I received from Wyoming, it was 21 degrees when the man started his car in the morning there on Monday.
That's minus-21.
Much can change in 10 or so days and hopefully that temperature inversion will.
College football is like the weather that way.
A short 20 years ago and Temple was playing Wyoming in an unlikely matchup in Laramie.
A lot has changed since:
  • The Big East WANTED Temple;
  • A high school head coach named Steve Addazio was in his second year working toward the first of three  state titles in Cheshire, Conn.;
  • Temple had a good, professional, competent football announcer in Dave Sims;
  • There was no BCS (and therefore no BS in college football);
  • Teams actually had to have WINNING seasons to earn a bowl bid;

What hasn't changed are the precepts of the game itself.
The team that blocks and tackles the best and limits the turnovers usually wins the game.
Such was the case in 1990 when Temple dropped a 38-23 game in Laramie, based on turnovers.
In fact, Temple head coach Jerry Berndt used the term "ball security" way back then.
Some things never change.
Addazio's plan to win at Temple has the ball security issue right at the top of the sheet.
Limit turnovers, play great defense, run the ball, make a difference on special teams.
If Temple doesn't do anything crazy like turn the ball over 127 times (exaggerating for effect here), like it did the first time these two teams played, it should come away with its first bowl win since 1979.
That would give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, whatever the temperature is on Dec. 17.

Monday, December 5, 2011

World Soccer: August 1971

Some time ago I decided to search eBay for old issues of World Soccer magazine, the much-loved football magazine, now in its 51st year. I wasn’t sure how many I’d find (if any at all) but I’m pleased to report there were quite a few to choose from, one of which was from the month and year of my birth.

And so it was that I purchased the magazine in question and installed it in my personal collection of football memorabilia. What’s curious to note in this printed snapshot of the global game from 1971 is that this was unquestionably a time of arrivals and departures.

Red Devil Frank

Inside we heard from reporter Eric Thornton on the appointment of Frank O’Farrell as manager of Manchester United, a move which was looked upon as something of a gamble on the part of the Old Trafford club. Having led Leicester City to the Division Two title, he replaced Wilf McGuinness in the United hot seat, and it was suggested by Thornton that his football experience at all levels of the game would probably see him in good stead. As it turned out, his first season there wasn't bad, but his second started badly and he was dismissed from his post only 18 months after he'd first arrived.

Don Howe, understudy to manager Bertie Mee at Arsenal, was on his way out of Highbury to take charge at West Bromwich Albion. What made this something of a notable story at the time was the fact that his predecessor at The Hawthorns, Alan Ashman, heard about his sacking well after most of the British public. The story was leaked from Highbury and soon appeared in national newspapers while Ashman was enjoying a holiday in Greece.

Pele to Europe?

Leaving the international scene was none other than Pele, as reported by Roger MacDonald in ‘World Diary’. Pele’s playing career with Brazil had come to an end in a recent friendly against Yugoslavia, but it was his club career at Santos that had come under the spotlight in the summer of 1971. Newly-formed French club Paris Saint-Germain were said to be offering the World Cup legend around £680,000 to play for them at the time, but Pele was in no mood to switch allegiances having already turned down similar offers from Juventus, Inter and Real Madrid. How ironic to think of PSG buying their success in such a way...

Also retiring - this time from football altogether - was Spanish legend Francisco Gento. Norman Cutler reported that his departure from the club where he'd become such a popular captain and outside-left was strangely muted. His last match was the European Cup Winners Cup Final replay against Chelsea in Athens that year, after which Real simply released a statement showing which players would not be retained for the following season. Gento's name was on it, and that was all that was said.

As it is, Gento had not been at his peak for some time due to injury problems and the Bernabeu club had finally decided to release the Spanish international. Rightly enough, he was granted a much-deserved testimonial some time later, thereby allowing Real's fans the chance to give him a proper send-off.

World Cup '74

Elsewhere in the August '71 issue of World Soccer, there was the full draw for the qualifying competition of the 1974 World Cup. There had been a record 98 entrants for the qualifiers and with only 16 places available in the Finals, the South Americans were upset at only getting three of them - so much so that they staged a temporary walk-out at the draw when they hadn't been allocated the four spots they'd asked for. As it is, they were lucky - the 24 competing African countries were fighting over only one place, something Joao Havelange would seek to improve during his FIFA presidency.

Eric Batty, meanwhile, bemoaned the lack of imagination at the recent handing out of the Footballer of the Year and Manager of the Year awards. Both prizes went to Arsenal after their double-winning season; Frank McLintock and Bertie Mee being the respective recipients. Batty argued that TV, the media and popular press had been caught up in the wave of universal appreciation for The Gunners' achievements at the expense of more deserving subjects. In Eric Batty's view, players like Colin Bell, Martin Peters and Ralph Coates might have been better placed to win the player's award.

In other news...

In this issue, we also heard about Canada's struggle to draw decent home crowds for their international matches, the growing interest in soccer over in Texas - contrasted starkly with the lack of goals and excitement in the NASL, and the introduction of a new competition called the UEFA Cup (a replacement for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup won by Leeds United that summer).

Eric Batty was also on hand with a player profile on a new young talent called Johan Cruyff. The Ajax centre-forward had already caught the eye in a European Cup tie against Liverpool in 1966 by scoring one goal in the 5-1 home leg in Amsterdam and both for Ajax in the 2-2 return leg at Anfield. "If one man personifies the new standards of Dutch soccer, that man is surely Johan Cruyff" commented Batty.

Finally, Andrew Dettre reported on a tour of Australia that had recently been undertaken by an English FA representative squad. Though the players returned with a 100% success rate on the field, the tour itself was deemed far from satisfactory, largely due to the wealth of unknown names making up the squad. Big crowds failed to materialise at most of the nine matches leaving the Australian FA with far less money than they hoped for to fund a world tour for their own national side.

Front cover  (top): Italian champions Inter walking out onto the field at Selhurst Park to play an Anglo-Italian Cup match against Crystal Palace.

Back cover (right): Team picture of Blackpool, winners of the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1971.

Steve Earl's Football Programmes

Since I first bought a copy of Shoot! for 42p (a price rise of 2 pence on the previous week’s issue I found out later...scandalous!), I have always been drawn to the adverts section near the back of football magazines. The promise of football-related goodies, often in full colour, tempting me all these years. 

Looking back on 25 years' worth of ads, it’s funny how some things have changed and others not. The ads aimed at kids have changed dramatically, moving with the times, as one would expect. Pastel shaded drawings of rosy faced children in England pyjamas (the ad was for football pyjamas, I'd like to point out) replaced with the headache inducing ‘LOOK AT MY AWESOME STUFF IT’S SO AWESOME AAAAAAAARGH!!!!!’ style adverts prevalent in today’s brain mush kids’ football rags.

Adverts aimed at the older end of the age spectrum have changed little; their sober, informative format giving the consumer just what they want – information about what the product is, what it does, how you can obtain it and, in the ‘olden’ days, the standard line about allowing 28 days for delivery.

One specific advert that never seems to have changed is the one that always caught my eye as a lad and still does now.  That of Steve Earl’s Football Programmes.

Advert from Shoot!, July 1986
When Saturday Comes, January 2012

The same goofy, child-bearing-hipped football fan – arm still raised aloft, still giving that curious thumbs up, possibly referring to the FREE programmes (NB: in these hard economic times, this is now just a free programme catalogue) the ad’s strapline has always carried and still clutching a handful of programmes. This figure has been invading my conscious mind for over 21 years and yet, despite this apparently excellent marketing device, the crucial piece of info missing from my memory when I came to research this was... who the hell is this advert for? For as much as I could remember the cartoon, that it was for football programmes and that it offered FREE programmes, I had no idea who was selling / giving them away.

In truth this is probably down to me not really being into football programmes, so I never felt the need to read past the first few lines. I did consider sending off for some free ones back in the day, the offer of free things by post having a very strong allure to a child whose only real post up until that point had been the limited edition Star Wars figures (send 3 names / proof of purchases from the backing cards).

Upon further research (reading my old copies of Shoot! after a trip to the garage), I discovered it was for the aforementioned Steve Earl.  I also discovered, to my disappointment and mild horror as it almost torpedoed the whole angle of this post, that in the copies of Shoot! from 1990, the advert had shrunk to only a few lines and more importantly, Mr GoofyProgrammeMan wasn’t there!!!  Rising costs and an imminent recession obviously took their toll and poor old GPM was laid off. It also now cost a whopping 50p, albeit in unused stamps, to obtain the desired free, sorry, FREE programmes. 

1990 - FREE Football Programmes still available, but no Goofy Programme Man?

Thankfully, despite worldwide economic meltdown, Steve seems to have fully embraced the value of solid branding and restored good ol' Goofy to his rightful place...just to the left of the title.

One more thing I love about this advert is that, through all the years, the font may have changed, GPM may have taken a sabbatical, colour may have arrived, but one thing that has remained constant is the address.  Broad Street, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1AH.  I can just picture it now...actually, with Google Maps and street view I can do just here it is...

The Promised Land!

Steve Earl's Football Programmes, I may never have sent off for your enticing offer, but you have been a steady rock in my turbulent life for two and a half decades and for that, I salute you!

The Big Match: Golden Goals 1980

Everyone remembers Match of the Day's 'Goal of the Month' competition, but fewer people recall that ITV's The Big Match had its own version called called 'Golden Goals'.

Here's the last thrilling installment from the 1979/80 season, and note an early example of product placement on the advertising board behind the goal for Glenn Hoddle's first effort.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A good night at the LC

Wyoming rushes the field after its last NMB win in 2009.

I got a chance to shake Bernard Pierce's hand and wish him luck in the game. If any of my running ability rubbed off in the handshake, Bernard should finish with 27 yards. Or maybe minus 27. So he's going to have to go for 227 to save me a guilt trip.
Watched a little of the start of the Bowl Selection show at the Liacouras Center with former Temple great running back Sheldon Morris and we were both looking for the fast forward button on TV remote.
Neither of us had the remote, but Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw took the microphone during the first commercial break and broke the suspense.
Temple vs. Wyoming, New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 17.
You know what?
Both Sheldon and I and about 90 to 92 percent of the other season-ticket holders won't be able to make it in body (we don't have deep enough pockets) but we will be there in spirit.
It was a surprise in a sense.
Both Sheldon and I (and about 90 to 92 percent of the other season-ticket holders) would have been able to make it to D.C., but it just wasn't meant to be.
Most of the players thought the nation's capital would be the destination as of about 5 p.m. (At least those at the E-O with my text number) so this pairing comes as a surprise.
Disappointment might be a little strong because any bowl is a good one but this announcement could have been better from my perspective.
Disappointment would have been the word I would have used if Temple was left out.
Temple should take care of business and move the program forward with the school's first bowl win since 1979.
For a week, the talk had been of a Temple bowl rematch with Cal (1979 win) or UCLA (2009 loss).
Wyoming will be a rematch of sorts, too.
The Cowboys handed visiting Temple one of its only four losses during the 1990 season (28-23). Dick Beck, the current North Penn head coach, was the captain of that Temple team.
Still, I would have preferred to see Temple put a Big East team on its ass.
I would have liked to see Temple play Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl, but nobody asked me. SMU will play Pitt in Birmingham, Ala. instead. Temple vs. Pitt would have made a better storyline.
The TV show itself could have been better.
College football probably will never figure out a way to harness the suspense in its bowl selection show that college basketball has when announcing the brackets, but everyone got a chance to go home early.
I met a lot of the parents and I can now understand why this is a solid group made up of good and humble young men. They are all very nice people. I could not be prouder of a group representing Temple than this football organization and that goes from Steve Addazio through the players through the video and managerial staff.
I got a chance to shake Bernard Pierce's hand and wish him luck in the game. If any of my running ability rubbed off in the handshake, Bernard should finish with 27 yards. Or maybe minus 27. So he's going to have to go for 227 to save me a guilt trip.
There were plenty of Temple fans there and plenty of Temple fight songs played by the band.
All in all a good night at the LC.
Spare me of the endless Alabama vs. LSU talk.
These other schools deserve some love, too.
Temple football got some love at the LC, if not on the TV.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Owls holding breath for that bowl bid

New Mexico Bowl and Military Bowl remain the likely destinations for Temple.
If you are a Temple fan, disappointment is a familiar word.
A couple of years ago, I watched a pre-game college basketball show from my neighborhood gym and the two guys were debating whether or not Temple's 29-win basketball team was a two or three seed.
"I think Temple's done enough to move up to the two line," Doug Gottlieb said.
What happened?
The Owls slipped to No. 5 and had to play a 27-4 Cornell team in the first round.
I did not find that out until attending the selection party at the Liacouras Center that night. Driving down, I was whistling Gottlieb's No. 2 tune.
Most people's reactions:
You know what those three letters stand for, so I won't elaborate.
Last year, they had a bowl selection party scheduled for the LC but had to cancel it at noon.
"Guys, we're done," were the famous three words uttered by Al Golden in a team meeting at the E-O.
If there is a WTF moment on Sunday, Temple should pursue all avenues to escape from the MAC immediately. Conference USA would accept Temple in a heartbeat and that's really where the Owls belong anyway

Back in September, Temple officials were telling Owl fans that joining the Big East would happen "in a matter of days, not weeks" at the wine and cheese pre-game tailgate against Maryland.
Then Villanova stepped in and cried like a baby on the phone to its fellow Big East Catholic schools for three days and suddenly that situation fell apart, too.
So there's a party scheduled for the LC Sunday night.
I remain optimistic that the Owls will receive an invite to the bowl party but I've seen too many funky things happen to Temple to be absolutely sure.
As I write this late Saturday night, no official bowl invitation has been received by Temple. In fact, two websites (College Football News and NBC sports) have the Owls projected out of the bowl picture entirely.
One has a 7-5 MAC team, Western Michigan, with no TV ratings and a smaller fan base, projected against Cincinnati in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Ridiculous is one word.
WTF is three words.
Heck, even Florida International University has received and accepted its bowl invite (Beef O'Brady's, St. Pete) but not Temple.
If there is a WTF moment on Sunday night, Temple should pursue all avenues to escape from the MAC immediately.
Conference USA would accept Temple in a heartbeat and that's really where the Owls belong anyway.
Hopefully, we will all be breathing a sigh of relief at 8:15 p.m. but it never should have come down to the last moment nor should it ever again.
Temple's athletic administration should see to that no later than Monday morning.