How to explain the Temple Owls head coaching job...
Imagine a job in one of the toughest sporting towns in the nation that no one really cares about. Sure, they will show up when you are winning, but Philadelphia does not live and die on Temple's play like with other teams.
You also have to mention the nomadic history of the program. For a team in a hotbed like Philadelphia, it would make sense for conferences to want Temple. That has not been the case as Temple went from 1984-1957, 1970-1990, and 2005-2006 as an independent. It hit a low when the Owls got booted from the Big East during a 15-41 stretch.
Things are looking much better for the Owls after joining the AAC, getting a great coach in Matt Rhule, and earning a trip to a bowl last fall.
How does the Temple head coaching job stack up versus other jobs in the AAC?
- Lots of local talent. Just this year alone, Temple signed 10 in-state players and another seven from New Jersey.
- A long leash. Since 1960, every coach at Temple has stayed at least four years other than Steve Addazio. Its not like they are doing well during that time. Bobby Wallace was there eight years and had a .211 winning percentage.
- An NFL stadium. Sure, there is talk of an on-campus stadium one day, but Lincoln Financial Field is not a dump. The Linc is consistently ranked as one of the top ten stadiums in the NFL.
- Interesting coaching history. "Pop" Warner spent his final six years coaching with Temple. Bruce Arians made a stop here, as did Al Golden before Miami, Steve Addazio before Boston College and now Matt Rhule.
- Lack of a successful history. In a history that dates back to 1884, Temple has a grand total of seven bowl berths. They have a grand total of two 10+ win seasons in school history (1979, 2015)
- Support is an issue. For a school with an enrollment over 37,000, Temple rarely breaks 30,000 fans per game. 2015 was an outlier with 44,159, but the five year average is only 28,928. That is good for ninth in the AAC.
- Few quality teams visit Temple. 2015 was an odd season with Notre Dame and Penn State both making the trip to Philadelphia. Penn State is the only Power Five conference program to make multiple trips to Temple since 2010.
Making the case for why it should be ranked higher/lower: Evan Reier, Houston writer and lover of winged creatures.
A great man once said,
"In west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days."
The man goes on to talk about an altercation at a neighborhood in Philly.
"When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
She said 'You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air'"
And you know who those guys were?
The Temple Owls returned to relevancy in 2015 thanks to an excellent campaign spearheaded by head coach Matt Rhule and a defense that impressed, holding Penn State and QB Christian "FUTURE FIRST OVERALL DRAFT PICK" Hackenberg to 10 points in the opening week.
That victory ensured Temple’s legacy as the greatest football program in Pennsylvania history. However, Temple also understood the need to retain their underdog status, which explains this:
Plus, their loss of steam at the end of the season allowed Philadelphia-based sports fans to engage in their favorite activities: booing and cursing.
Temple is Philly, Philly is Temple. Hell, if you threw on a nice layer of Cheez Whiz over the Temple logo, it’d be hard for anyone to turn down a bite or two.
Temple needs to be the top job on this list because:
- Will Smith’s entire music career (including this)
- Philly Cheesesteaks
- The mascot being an Owl, easily a Top 5 creature with wings
- They’re going to get to rock Penn State in Happy Valley in 2016, AND they play Rutgers every season from 2020-2023.
If you were playing NCAA football in an online dynasty...
You are an old school player that loves to play tough defense, run the football and go over the top occasionally. You like this job because it isn't flashy. You don't want that offense that can go out and score 40 on any day.
If you pick Temple, you like the idea of winning a game 6-3 on a last second field goal and never winning any awards on the game. The idea of struggling through on what seems like the hardest setting is what makes the game fun for you.
If you choose this job in real life...
You notice that the potential is there for a solid program with the right coaching staff. Sure, there is a long history of poor play, but the last couple of seasons have shown that you can make it work in Philly if you find the right mix of a great defense and a just good enough offense.
Also, this is one of the few head coaching jobs in Philadelphia with a long leash. No one expects Temple to do well so you are playing with house money just by making the occasional bowl.
Taking the job at Temple allows a head coach to recruit the underrated recruiting hotbed of Pennsylvania, live in Philadelphia, and coach in a very good NFL stadium. Sure, the tradition and regular support are not there, but very few coaches look at Temple as a destination program. Addazio and Golden were out the door as soon as P5 schools came calling.
It is tempting to jump this up to a top six job, but we have to look at the long term. This is only one year of great success. If Temple is able to string together 5-6 seasons of excellence, it could easily compete with some of the top jobs in the ACC one day.