Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Temple could be in the BE tomorrow

O'Connor presides over important call.

Call it a coincidence or symbolism, but on Hump Day of Leap Day of Leap Year, Temple athletics is poised to make a Bob Beamon kind of leap and get over a hump that has seemed to block any progress for almost a decade.
If you don't remember the Olympic triple-jumper, think former Temple wide receiver Willie Marshall and his 37-inch vertical leap.
Hump Day/Leap Day/Leap Year 2012 could be the biggest day in the history of Temple sports thanks to some visionary leadership provided by Temple University Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick J. O'Connor.
Heck, I've always had a soft spot for  O'Connor.
Despite the fact that he graduated from Villanova, the Chairman of the Temple University Board of Trustees is a likeable guy and a loyal Owl. He happens to have the same last name as maiden name of my mother, who passed away on Jan. 14 of last year.
Plus, he's always proven to be a Temple guy at heart and knows the mission of the school and he's always moved the school forward and not backward or sideways.
The second reason is why I'm more convinced O'Connor will guide the Board of Trustees in the right direction in the most important conference call in the history of Temple University when they vote on accepting a Big East offer tomorrow.
According to this excellent story by Michael Bradley on CSNPhilly.com, O'Connor said that Steve Addazio and Fran Dunphy are great coaches and deserve a national stage at Temple.
They can't get that stage in the MAC or A-10.
While we sports fans know you don't get two better coaches than Daz or Dunph, it is nice to know that the guy at the very top feels the same way.
The Big East isn't perfect, but in the national college football game of musical chairs, once the music stops the Big East will be able to find a seat at the BCS table.
The MAC won't.
It's not personal.
It's business.
I think by the time a packed house sends the remarkable senior men's basketball class off at the Temple vs. UMass game (good tickets still available by clicking on the banner above this story but not for long), the day will take on a festive party atmosphere unlike anything at the school since the road hoop win over No. 1 Cincy in 2000 or the hoop win at North Carolina in 1988 that made the school No. 1 in the AP poll for 11 straight weeks.
Still, as big as those days were, hump day this week could be the best-ever because of the implications for the school's two major teams.
Imagine, if you will, Temple winning the Big East title in 2012. It's not a dream. Al Golden and Steve Addazio have built the talent level at Temple to compete in the upper tier RIGHT NOW. If all things break right (no Matty Brown injury, for instance), Temple could win this league right away.
Picture the kind of pub Temple would get on a national scale if that happens. No amount of money can buy that kind of advertising.
If the board accepts the Big East invitation, it will be the greatest day in the history of Temple sports and maybe one of the greatest days in university history as well.
I can't think of another opportunity in any endeavor to promote the Temple brand nationally than this provides. This will have positive implications for the school that goes well beyond the realm of sports.