Although college football expansion is nowhere near the frenzy it was a year ago, things have been consistently active this offseason. The latest university to be the focal point of this conference chess game is Temple, whose football team will be a part of the Big East starting in 2012.
The Big East is in the process of replacing West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh who have decided to take their talents elsewhere.
The Mountaineers, $20 million lighter courtesy of a hefty buyout, will be Big 12 bound next fall. It’s still undetermined when exactly Syracuse and Pitt will make the ACC jump, although CBS has reported that this could be as early as 2013.
To counteract these departures, the Big East has added Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, San Diego State, SMU, Navy and Memphis.
All of these schools, outside of Navy, will join the league in 2013. Navy will sign on in 2015. They didn't stop here, though.
Next on the recruitment docket was Temple, who had been rumored to have interest in joining for the past few months. These rumors came to fruition on Wednesday when it became official, and the Big East has already agreed to pick up Temple’s $6 million buyout. Just put it on their tab and they’re good for it, maybe.
To celebrate the joyous occasion, the Big East held a press conference to introduce Temple as their newest member. To the surprise of everyone, the Owls wasted little time ruffling some feathers. Feathers, owls, get it? Come for the analysis, stay for the forced bird humor.
Lewis Katz, who is the chairman of Temple’s athletic committee and apparently a fan of PG-13 WWE-type intros, offered up the following while embracing the introduction.
“We’re going to kick Notre Dame’s butt next year.”
The thing is, barring a change to the anticipated schedule, Katz is jumping the gun slightly. Temple and Notre Dame won’t meet in football until 2014 and Temple won’t compete in other athletics until the 2013-2014 season.
Regardless, his enthusiasm has been noted. Katz also threw the Internet a giant softball when he followed with:
“We’re going to give the Big East everything they deserve.”
Now, think about that sentence in its entirety for just a moment. Let it all set in while you begin mustering up your finest verbal jabs. Got one?
In actuality, however, the Big East could do much worse than Temple.
I won’t break off a significant basketball thesis, but Temple’s put together a sneaky impressive 79-20 record on the hardwood (albeit against weaker competition) over the past three seasons. Not bad at all, especially for a conference that prides itself on its hoops and needs to add quality with the losses of three solid basketball schools.
OK, enough basketball.
When it comes to the pigskin, Temple has gone 26-12 over the past three years and picked up a bowl win in 2011.
Head coach Steve Addazio’s play calling drew some criticism at times as the offensive coordinator at Florida (he was a really, really big fan of the halfback dive), but he put together a very solid season in his first year as head coach. He’s likely a guy that will receive some attention from bigger job openings if he keeps this up, but until an actual destination opens it is impossible to predict.
All in all, the football landscape at Temple looks stable and solid.
The school will now have more resources, aka money, and a bigger stage which should also help them a great deal. Although they’re taking a step up in competition from the MAC, it won’t by a significant leap. Big East football, especially with Pitt and West Virginia out of the equation, isn’t going to be a powerhouse conference in the near future.
The schools that will soon be joining have showed their worth in football, especially Boise State, but Temple has no reason to enter these foreign waters intimated.
While both parties appear pleased with the turn of events, make no mistake about it. These aren’t two of the world’s most attractive models exchanging nuptials. The Big East would obviously much rather be in a different position then they are in right now, but the expansion locomotive ran them over and didn’t look back.
For Temple, however, there really is no downside.
Although we don’t really know what exactly the Big East “deserves,” we do know that they’re getting a solid replacement in Temple. I suppose that’s a good place to start.