They will join the Big East as a football member next season, a season earlier than planned. The moved was hastened by the league’s upheaval.
“I’m sure there are people in other conferences that might use it against us,” said Huskies coach Randy Edsall, who sells recruits more on the school and program than on the conference. “But the truth is nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
Temple, not doomed?
One program that sees a upside to the Big East downsizing is Temple. The Owls, who have not had a winning season in the past 13 years, were voted out of the league in 2001. The Philadelphia program was given a reprieve and won’t be evicted until after next season.
The Owls hope that will change based on the current predicament of the Big East. Temple knows staying in a weakened league would be better than floundering as an independent.
“In less than a year we were voted out, then the next year, we were told we could stay for three more years,” Temple coach Wallace said. “Things change so fast now you never know what’s going to happen.”
The school hopes its location — in one of the nation’s largest markets — and its home stadium — new Lincoln Financial Field — make it attractive.
“That’s really the advantage Temple has as far as the shifting of the sands in [Division] I-A,” Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said. “That is going to be an important piece of the puzzle for someone. You’re looking at the fourth largest market with 5 million TV sets.”
In the meantime, the Owls have become creative in their lame-duck approach. They abandoned the traditional building of a long-term program and are playing as if there are two seasons left in their football lives. The Owls are a who’s who of junior-college stars.
“They can come to Temple and play in the Big East their entire career,” said Wallace, who has an unheard of 19 JUCOs in the new class. “I couldn’t do that with a high school kid. … About a year ago, we said, ‘Let’s go junior college.’ We ended up signing eight first-team All-American junior college kids.”
The early results have been typical Temple: an 0-2 record after losing to Division I-AA Villanova.
The waiting game
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said in July the Big East would have a plan for the future in place by the end of September. That deadline was pushed back to November. The league will decide whether to split into two conferences — one with Division I-A football programs and another with basketball-oriented programs — or expand as a coalition.
The latest delay won’t help shore up concerns by recruits.
“I don’t know how the Big East is going to be,” said DeMatha guard Edwin Williams, who was offered a scholarship to Maryland. “The Big East was good a couple years ago. They’ll be good this year. After that, I don’t know. They have Miami and V-Tech. After that … really.”