1979. 30 years ago. Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, was the President of the United States. Geeks everywhere lusted over Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s character in Ridley Scott’s monumental science fiction box office hit Alien. Disco superstars such as Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer led a powerful fiefdom over the billboards, at least until the Disco Demolition Night in Chicago precipitated the genre’s downfall. And it was the last bowl appearance for a Temple football team. The Garden State Bowl at that. 1990. Nearly 20 years ago. Truly a year of historical proportions. Bill Gates and company began their dominance in the computer world with the release of Windows 3.0. Buster Douglass knocked out Mike Tyson in Japan. Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in a South African prison. And, Temple football’s last winning season.
It’s safe to assume that for Temple football fans and mildly interested students, the seasons since have been unkind. It’s no wonder that after last season’s 5-7 campaign, Coach Golden has fan excited. We’re neophytes to this winning thing. Five wins shows promise or at least possibility. And for Temple fans, that’s enough to leave the Food For Less paper bags at home for once. This year, we simply wear oversized Ray Ban Wayfarers to hide our identities during losing spells. Entering his fourth season as Temple’s head coach, Golden is entering volatile territory. New studies show that the 7 year itch in marriages is a thing of the past, now replaced by the 4 year itch. Coach Golden, welcome to the 4 year itch. The season where Temple football climbs out of the cellar of MAC mediocrity and into MAC title contention or your job security is akin to that of an Oakland Raiders coach.
However, Coach Golden’s record has improved every year since he took over and this season has the promise to break the squalor of twenty years of consecutive losing seasons. In his fourth season, Golden is coaching the players he recruited. The players have had sufficient time to learn, practice and execute (how effectively is yet known) his playbook. Last season, six of the 7 losses were by an average of less than 5 points. Only the 45-3 drubbing by Penn State remains the game with seemingly no chance at victory. That means that if Temple could’ve found a way to win half of those close losses, they would’ve finished with a winning record. In the words of Jesse Jackson, “keep hope alive!”
With games against 7 teams with losing records last season and the inaugural Mayor’s Cup against D-1AA Villanova, the 2009 schedule affords Temple a strong chance at turning the page on two decades of losing. Along with an amiable schedule, Temple returns eight starters on defense including senior defensive lineman Andre Neblett, an Outland Trophy candidate. With hungry eyes only the truest of Eric Carmen (or Dirty Dancing ) fans could appreciate, Temple fans eagerly await the first winning season in 20 years. There’s no better way to usher in the Golden Era.