|Temple's $10 million addition to its $7 million practice facility nears finish line.|
It's a great week to be a Temple Owl.
Not only did Temple Board of Trustees member Lewis Katz (and two others) get a bargain-basement price on the two Philadelphia newspapers, the Temple football team has been practicing pretty much injury-free in front of a palatial $10 million addition to an already relatively new $7 million football facility.
That facility should be done by the start of summer practice.
A few weeks later, a thorough beatdown of Villanova should be done as well.
The Philly papers went for $500 million in 2006 and Katz purchased the same property (same printing presses and massive River Road property in Conshohocken but less a few employees, your humble correspondent included) for $55 million Monday.
Not a bad time to do some numbers crunching with regard to Temple's football prospects in the Big East this fall.
News flash: While the Big East is a significant step up for Temple, the Owls are not joining the SEC.
According to the two best indicators of team strength in college football, Temple is coming into the league pretty near the top end of the remaining members.
Sagarin (USA Today) had Temple finishing the 2011 season ranked No. 30 in the country, with only Cincinnati (No. 28) ahead of it and the Owls finishing ahead of Rutgers (37), South Florida (47), Louisville (64), Pitt (68), UConn (73) and Syracuse (83).
Realtime RPI.com had Temple ranked No. 37, behind only Cincinnati (24) and Rutgers (30). Louisville was 53, Pitt 64, 'Cuse (83, again) and UConn 89.
I think Temple will be significantly better this year. The Owls have nine guys returning who have started games on defense in the past. That, and the superb coaching of defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, will keep them in every game. Explosive plays downfield by players like quarterback Chris Coyer, RB Matty Brown, WR Deon Miller and TE Alex Jackson should put enough points on the scoreboard. It's going to be hard to replace defensive end Adrian Robinson and linebacker Stephen Johnson, but a good program does those kind of things routinely.
Temple has proven to be a good program over the last three years by the only numbers that matter (won/loss ratio) and there is nothing in the numbers going forward that suggest a change any time soon.
While the competition will be a little better than the MAC, the hard numbers by unbiased sources like Sagarin and Realtime suggest it is nothing the Owls can't handle.