Temple Football Soon to Be Asked to Leave Country

Mike Gibson@paprepsCorrespondent INovember 29, 2009

It seems there aren't a whole lot of people out there who can deal with any Temple football success.

Earlier this decade, a few weeks after Temple beat then fellow Big East conference member Rutgers for the fourth-straight season, the Owls were asked to leave the Big East for being "non-competitive."

Conveniently, Rutgers being non-competitive with the non-competitive team wasn't an issue then.

Now, after the first season in which Temple won nine straight games in its history, the Owls are being asked to leave the country.

Don't worry.

This time, unlike the last, it's a good thing, not a bad one.

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw appeared late Saturday afternoon on the Bob Rovner radio program on a Philadelphia station for a two-hour guest stint (WWDB-AM) and much of the talk centered on Temple football.

In it, he hinted strongly that Temple will be asked to leave the country only because it will be extended an offer to the International Bowl in Canada shortly.

The delicious irony is this:

One of the three possible opponents Bradshaw mentioned was Rutgers (the other two were South Florida and West Virginia).

"You might think WIP and 950 are the sports radio stations in town, but we talk more Temple sports here on my show than anywhere else," said Rovner, a former state senator and Temple grad.

Although the show is ostensibly a political one, Rovner wasn't kidding. Co-host Frank Rizzo Jr. was away, so Rovner got to play sports talk show host for a day. The show talked Temple sports, mostly football, for two hours.

Bob Bernardo, a former Owl linebacker who played for the last Temple team to win nine in a row, was a call-in guest.

The meat of the show centered on bowl scenarios.

Bradshaw also hinted (strongly) that the university might be forced to turn down an Eagle Bank Bowl Invitation for that International Bowl berth.

He speculated that Central Michigan would go to the GMAC in Mobile and Ohio to the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit, leaving Toronto and a Big East foe on the table for the Owls. There was another option, he said.

He noted the Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington, D.C. was tricky because it would be the last invitation extended and it would be contingent upon Navy beating Army.

But that Army-Navy game is set for Dec. 12, a week after all the bowls are offered.

Should Army pull off the unlikely upset, the team accepting that contingency bid would be left outside of the bowl picture. Temple is at the top of the contingency list, he said.

Temple officials aren't likely to roll the dice on Eagle Bank, even though the odds are stacked in Navy's favor. That's why the Owls will likely accept a bowl invitation, if tendered, by the International Bowl committee when the initial offers are extended on Dec. 6.

"We might have that kind of choice," he said. "I should know more around 3:30 on Monday afternoon after we have a conference call with the MAC."

The Eagle Bank Bowl would be tempting in that considerably more Owl fans would be able to make the trip.

Despite forecasts to the contrary in 1979, Temple traveled very well to its last bowl game, drawing over 55,000 its 28-17 win over California in the second Garden State Bowl.
Temple could travel very well to D.C., not nearly as well to Toronto.

The allure of Toronto, though, could be playing a team from a conference that kicked the Owls out.

The interview between Rovner and Bradshaw will be rebroadcast on WWDB in one week.
By then, though, the Owls and their fans will probably be applying for passports.


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