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Weekend Winner: 70 Football Schools Not Named Temple

Illustration for article titled Weekend Winner: 70 Football Schools Not Named Temple

First, let me establish my homer credentials: I am a proud graduate of Temple University, class of '06. Now, my opinion on Temple getting shafted for a bowl game: I'm pretty OK with it.

That picture up there was one of the only ones I could find of the Owls looking dominant. It's from their first game of the season against FCS school Villanova. Most programs consider that first FCS opponent a cupcake, a tune-up, but this was the game circled on Temple's calendar, because they had lost to the Wildcats last year.

My point is, Temple's not very good. But the fact that there's anyone out there getting upset over a crummy-to-mediocre program not getting picked is a great way to highlight the vagaries, the business interests and the all around strangeness of college football's postseason.


I vaguely remember a Bowl Game, capital B capital G, meaning something, though it might just be a legend passed down by my grandfather. These days it takes just six wins to become bowl eligible, and only five against FBS schools. There are 35 bowls, with openings for 70 teams — well over half the number of schools playing football at that level. That makes the NBA look stingy in the number of teams it lets make the playoffs.

A lot of things had to break just so to keep Temple out of the bowl picture. They were penciled in for a matchup against a fellow MAC school until Middle Tennessee State pulled out a win against FIU to move to 6-6 on the season, making them eligible and allowing the Sun Belt Conference to fulfill their bowl game obligations. Why does the Sun Belt have bowl obligations? Why does the MAC, for that matter? (Western Michigan was the only other bowl eligible team to get snubbed.) Who's rushing across the country to watch Florida International, or Troy, or Miami of Ohio play in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl or the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl or the bowl?

While we're on it, is anyone flying to Glendale to see UConn in an actual BCS Bowl, because the Big East used to be good once? Yes, the UConn with the same record as Temple, who lost by two scores to Temple. (Traina puts the spreads for all the BCS Bowls at 3, except for Oklahoma -18.)

Bitter? Not really. My team was No. 71 out of 70. That can't compare to the bitterness felt by MSU or LSU or Boise State, who were Nos. 9, 10 and 11 out of 10, but missed out thanks to conference guarantees. And even they can't compare with the bitterness felt by TCU, who as No. 1B, doesn't get a chance to prove themselves against 1 or 1A.


And therein is the best argument against the BCS. The defense that "one team would still be left out" in a playoff is ludicrous. No one's going to weep for the school that just misses out on an eight-team playoff, just as no one's weeping for the school that just missed out on a 70-team bowl system. But TCU, or whoever the undefeateds happen to be each year that don't make the BCS Title Game? That's very different.

So I'm quite cool with Temple not making a bowl, and not just because last year I froze my dick off in DC just to watch them lose to a .500 UCLA team. I said it last night, but it bears repeating: if you live and die with Temple football, you likely killed yourself long ago.


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