Friday, September 05, 2014

These Eleven Bodies Are A Temple

Because I'm not putting a picture of an owl up here, damnit.
The most important thing to happen in college football thus far in the young season is this:

Temple beat Vanderbilt.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Huh?" You may be saying "What's the big deal?" You may even be saying, if you're a particular sort of snotty college football elitist who decries how the Yankees win the pennant every year but won't even considering paying attention to a team unless it plays in a practice facility that cost more than the GNP of Burkina Faso, "Temple has a football team?"

But yes. Temple has a football team. And last week, they beat Vanderbilt, and it was special.

Why? Not just because last year Vandy went 9-4 in the mighty SEC and Temple went 2-10 in the AAC, also known as "the conference in the tupperware in the back of the fridge that's all that's left now that you've eaten all the leftover Chinese food and pizza".  Not just because Temple forced a team that's made "playing smart" its bread and butter into 7 turnovers. And it's not even just because Temple absolutely clobbered Vanderbilt, 37-7, with the Commodores playing so badly in their vaguely-legal uniforms that their only score came on a botched Temple punt? It's not even because Temple intercepted as many passes in this one game as they did all season last year.

Nope. It's because this was the first time since 1938 - when the team was coached by Pop Warner - that Temple had beaten a team - any team - from the SEC. Not during the brief flash of the Al Golden years. Not back in the Paul Palmer days. Not when Bruce Arians - yes, that Bruce Arians - was the coach, or that brief shining moment when Wayne Hardin took them to the Garden State Bowl. 1938. 76 years. Until last Thursday night.

It may be another 76 years until Temple does it again. The increasing stratification of college football, the one-foot-out-the-door autonomy the staggering NCAA granted the "Power Five" conferences, the gob-smackingly huge differentials in resources that SEC schools can apply to football that places like Temple can't - all of these argue against another upset any time soon.

But that's OK. That's tomorrow's problem, or perhaps the day after tomorrow's - at this point, there are no SEC teams on Temple's schedule through the 2023 season, at which point global warming may ensure that half the SEC's home fields are under water anyway. So a new streak's started - Temple is unbeaten against the SEC since last Thursday, and they're going to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.

Somewhere, Pop Warner's smiling.

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