Times are good for Temple football. After posting just one winning record from 1985 through 2008, the Owls have gone .500 or better in five of their past seven seasons – including a 7-1 mark this season that saw a nine million people tune into see Temple battle Notre Dame in front of a packed Lincoln Financial Field house.
Matt Rhule’s bunch needs a win over USF Saturday to clinch a spot in the inaugural AAC championship game, and a win there could send them to the Peach or Fiesta bowl.
Temple president Neil Theobald (now if that isn’t a perfect university president name) would like to capitalize on his football program’s momentum by securing funding for a new stadium.
A new, on-campus stadium would break the Owls away from the likes of Pittsburgh, Miami, South Florida, Georgia State and a handful of other FBS programs that borrow facilities from their NFL neighbors and into a club with Tulane, SMU, Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati (for all intents and purposes) among AAC programs to recently construct their own stadiums.
“Bringing football home would create a completely new experience for our alumni, students, faculty, staff, and fans. It would attract alumni to campus — maybe for the first time in decades — so they can see what an amazing renaissance has taken place,” Theobald writes in an essay for Philly.com. “We’re showing students what it means to be part of the ‘Temple Made’ network. Experiences that started at the Linc — the team fly-in, social activities for families, the band performing before entering the stadium — will take on new meaning as the excitement starts at the Bell Tower and moves west to the stadium. Most of all, we’re building a spirit of pride in being part of a growing, enthusiastic community.”
Theobald estimates the cost of a new stadium at $100 million – $20 million less than Houston spent on TDECU Stadium and $25 million more than Tulane surrendered for Yulman Stadium. He writes that money already raised by the university is only available if earmarked toward a new stadium, and the money spent renting the Linc would go a long way toward covering a new stadium’s mortgage check.
In all, Theobald paints an optimistic yet realistic picture of what a stadium could do for the entire university. “As they consider the future of Temple football,” he concludes, “I have no doubt the city and our trustees will make the choices that offer the best possible future experiences for our students, alumni, and neighbors.”