Two Plus Two Equals a 4 PM Start For Temple-Villanova
So I'm driving on I-76 today and thinking how it's too bad I don't have a digital camera.
It's raining like crazy on the Schuylkill Expressway and I see a Temple billboard that proclaims "Friday, Sept. 3" as the date of the home football opener with Villanova.
That called for a photo, but it had a deeper meaning as well. It meant only one thing.
Temple's "negotiations" with fellow Lincoln Financial Field tenant, the Philadelphia Eagles, over its preferred date, Sept. 2, fell through.
Then I put two and two together and came up with four.
Oddly enough, that's the starting time of the game, but it's not how this mostly mathematical equation was solved.
Two plus two equals 4 PM basically because Sept. 2, the date Temple AD Bill Bradshaw long sought as prime time for the game, was denied the Owls by the landlord Eagles, leaving four as the only logical time for the game.
The official announcement will be made tomorrow or next week, but you read it here, on Bleacher Report, first.
The game figures to draw the largest college football crowd in Philadelphia history (in games involving two Philadelphia teams) for three reasons, in no particular order:
1) It's the start of Bernard Pierce's serious run for the Heisman Trophy (a TV screen shot from ESPN comparing his freshman year to Adrian Peterson's is pictured here)
2) Villanova is coming off a national FCS championship
3) Temple is coming off its first bowl game in 30 years.
Temple could have played on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, when no one would have been in town. There's this thing called The Shore, and it's a phenomenon peculiar to Philadelphia, where the town virtually empties out the weekend of Labor Day, leaving only the homeless and poor behind.
Philadelphia is unique because The Shore (capital T, capital S) is only 50 miles away and Philadelphians see this weekend as their absolutely last chance to get away before a long, cold winter. The magnetic attraction of that to a region of six million people cannot be minimized.
So Saturday was out.
The Eagles have long given lip-service to their role in the Philadelphia "community" and how they do all of these charitable things.
The Eagles could have done the "community" a favor and moved their game to Sept. 3 and allowed Temple and Villanova to play on the date best suited for a big college crowd.
The Eagles being the Eagles could have gotten their 70,000 people on either date but, no, the Eagles had to put the screws to Temple and Villanova.
"We want to play Thursday night," was basically what Joe Banner told Bradshaw.
"But, Joe, you'll get your crowd either night...."
"No, we still want to play Thursday night. Good luck, though."
The Phillies are already scheduled for a Friday night (7 PM) game across the street against Milwaukee in Citizens' Bank Park.
Since two crowds in excess of 40,000 (hopefully for Temple, definitely for Phils) would be showing up at the same time, the Owls reluctantly were forced to pick 4 PM.
It's a stroke of genius, in my mind.
The Temple and Villanova fans get to arrive, say, at 2 PM for tailgating, taking all of the tailgate spots used by Phillies fans.
Phillies fans arrive at about four, then start frantically texting "WTF?" messages to their fellow 20-somethings.
If there's a silver lining to this scheduling nightmare, that's it.
Now it's up to Temple and Villanova fans to get a crowd large enough to steal all of their parking spaces.
Better yet, invite all the Phillies fans along for the all-sports-day party by allowing them half-price football access by just showing a baseball ticket stub.
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