Why Won't Temple Play Out of Conference Games?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Temple should have scheduled out of conference football games. There was plenty of money to be had and plenty of people who would be willing to watch the team play at least 2-3 more games. Plus, the team would get a nice tune-up for their in-conference schedule, which looks to be as difficult – if not more – as any in recent memory.

If the university and the athletic department are just starving for cash (let’s be honest, they probably are), then playing a few extra games for more TV exposure would have been the right thing to do. Right now, there are no SEC (doesn’t kick off until late September), Big Ten, or Pac-12 games being played, which takes a significant number of games and competition straight off of TV. The college football slate each Saturday is far less crowded than usual, opening up a golden opportunity for Temple to play or host a game in a coveted TV time slot with increased viewership. Right now, ESPN is airing some games that have certainly benefitted from a lack of competition for viewership; who really wants to watch Texas State vs. UTSA on Saturday at 3:30 pm? If Temple had decided to play out of conference games, they could have secured an excellent time slot on ESPN or ESPN2.

I assume one of the reasons Temple decided not to play out of conference games after all of theirs were canceled is the logistical issues with traveling. However, I would have really enjoyed to see Temple battle more local schools, like Pitt, Syracuse, and Virginia. Even if they had to travel to each of these locations, Temple would not have needed to go very far to get there. Plus, those are matchups that I am sure people would be interested in seeing and would be far more competitive than Pitt vs. Austin Peay or Virginia vs. Abilene Christian.

At this point, what do any of these universities have to lose? As long as the teams are safe and healthy, I don’t see the problem with scheduling these more competitive games. Temple was playing a very soft out of conference schedule to begin with, and beefing it up a bit would look good for the university and could potentially look good for Temple if they were to win a few of those games (wishful thinking after every ACC team besides GA Tech in the past 3 years has absolutely demolished us). I can’t imagine Pitt badly wanted to play Austin Peay and hand them a nice check for their one out of conference game before heading into ACC play. Playing a “cupcake” game in a 10-game schedule isn’t going to excite the fanbase, nor is it really going to boost a school’s resume for a CFP spot. Now, many of these ACC teams likely had contracts with Austin Peay and other schools well in advance of the 2020 season, but even playing other Group of 5 schools would have been preferable to sitting out the season until October.

Imagine Temple battling Appalachian State. Or Temple facing Louisiana or Arkansas State. These would ideally be good, close matchups that are far more preferable than sitting at home until October 10th! Again, I understand that these teams may have had contracts with out of conference opponents. But surely there are a few teams – just like Temple – who were scrambling for out of conference games once the Big Ten and the Pac-12 and the SEC all decided not to play them.

The bottom line is, Temple choosing not to play these extra games hurts the level of exposure that the university might have had if they had arranged some at the last minute. It also potentially hurts their chances heading into the 8-game conference schedule. Navy will have already played 3 times when October 10th rolls around; ideally, Navy will be in midseason form and Temple is going to have to come out strong, which is not easy to do after not playing any real football for 10 months.

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