"I've been to all of the stadiums in the country and I can say without hesitation and reservation that there is not a nicer, more spectacular, stadium in the country than Lincoln Financial Field." _ Philadelphia Eagles' announcer Merrill ReeseWhen you get as old as I am today, with (except in the rarest of cases) more years in back of you than in front of you, the things that make you happy aren't necessarily the same as those 20 or so years ago.
That's why Steve Addazio's birthday gift to me today made me smile.
The verbal of Matt Barone wasn't necessarily a gift intended for me, but something I've been harping on for the past few years or so. If Temple wants to play football with the big (BCS) boys, it better start stealing recruits from BCS schools. So I will take the gift in a nice package with a Temple T on top.
Al Golden did that when he "stole" Kee-Ayre Griffin from Boston College and Kadeem Custis and Evan Rodriguez (a transfer) from West Virginia and Big 33 MVP Adrian Robinson from Pitt, among others.
I's OK to target projects, but that must be tempered by winning recruiting battles. It's not really stealing because the verbals are open to everyone until signing day.
I think a verbal should be able to sign early, but that's a problem for the NCAA to solve.
Temple is in a very good position to do exactly what Addazio did today. It plays in the nicest stadium in the country, the $521 million palace called Lincoln Financial Field.
"I've been to all of the stadiums in the country," said Eagles' announcer Merrill Reese, "and I can say without hesitation and reservation that there is not a nicer, more spectacular, stadium in the country than Lincoln Financial Field."
If Merrill says that, I believe him.
"We can now say that nobody plays in a stadium nicer than ours," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said.
I agree with Bill, too.
It's on us, the 270,000 living Temple alumni and the 39,000 full-time students, to make it even nicer by filling it.
Winning Big East championships will go a long way to solving that long-vexing problem.
Temple is within EASY driving distance of 46 percent of the nation's population, giving parents a real affordable option to see their sons play even if they want to send them away and also giving Temple a deep pool of talent to draw from.
The on-campus facilities have been upgraded.
Peter J. Liacouras' dream of a "Temple Town" has been realized, with 13,500 students soon to be living on campus in a safe setting.
Temple, unlike most other BCS schools, plays in a vibrant, exciting, world-class, city and, according to most surveys, a great majority of students prefer an urban college experience these days over a rural one (unlike 20 years ago). Also unlike 20 years ago, these students are active in supporting Temple's football team, with over 10,000 traveling via the subway to the Villanova game and 12,500 showing up loud and proud against Penn State.
It has a charismatic head coach who plans to stay for a long time.
So the stars are aligning in Temple's favor.
It is time for Temple to do big things. That light talked about for the new $10 million practice facility addition could be symbolic as well as it will be real.
Fortunately, some coveted recruits are beginning to be drawn to the Temple light.