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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Temple should zap its football team

Call it an omen.

A few years ago, I was leaving for work at the newspaper early one fall morning when I noticed a barn owl hanging upside down on a power line outside my home.

As near as I could tell, it must have chased one of the bats roosting in my neighbor's attic and hit the wire near the transformer, accidentally electrocuting itself.

Since then, whenever I read or hear someone from my alma mater, Temple University, talk about the potential for a winning football season I think back to that poor owl chasing the elusive bat.


The embarrassment this team brings alumni and fellow students every time it takes the field is as tangible as any electric shock. We're a national joke, an unfunny punch-drunk line when ESPN SportsCenter reports game scores, which are usually lopsided blowouts in favor of our opponents.

The 70-16 drubbing Temple took at the hands of Bowling Green on Saturday at the Linc was but the latest example.

The loss dropped Temple's record to 1-4 on the year (after going 1-11 last year). The official doormat of Division I-A, our lone win so far this season came against I-AA Florida A&M.

"I have a dream - a vision of a good Temple football team in a brand new $480 million stadium with 30,000 people there in a real college football environment," coach Bobby Wallace told the Temple Times, a university-produced PR publication, in 2001.

The stadium is now real. The rest isn't.

Wallace, the program's supposed savior, is now 18-55 in seven years at the helm of the Owls after posting an 82-36-1 record with the University of North Alabama. He replaced coach Ron Dickerson, who went 8-47 in five seasons at Temple, including an excruciating 4-31 mark in Big East Conference games.

We haven't seen the postseason since winning the now-defunct Garden State Bowl in 1979 and haven't posted a winning season (7-4) since 1990. That was one year before Temple joined the Big East, the same conference booting us out next year for being so bad.

It also was one year after I graduated from Temple.

In four years on main campus, I can only recall seeing Temple play football live once. It was on Cherry and White Day and I must have been pretty drunk because I can't remember much of the game.

Yet, I can still recall vividly the day my roommate, who happened to be Temple's soccer goalie and a guy we nicknamed "Teddy Bear," punched out the quarterback. The jerk was picking on a mildly retarded fellow student in the dormitory lounge and his teammates watched  with glee and even applauded my roommate.

I can also recall how two football players jailed on a rape charge from a dorm incident were bailed out in time to play in a game. Not to mention the loud thud one large Owl made outside my dorm room when he got drunk and fell out of a second-story window while trying to jump to a nearby tree, breaking his leg.

Those are the memories that came flooding back when a postcard from the alumni association arrived in the mail recently inviting me to Cherry and White Day, Temple's annual homecoming, this weekend.

I won't be going unless the university makes the announcement that it is finally giving up this football fantasy.

It's high time to stop this torrid Temple tradition. This legacy of losing. This institutionalized failure, which is draining the university's meager resources for scant moments of media exposure spent, more often than not, ridiculing founder Russell Conwell's college for poor but deserving students.

In short, we're NOT (clap your hands twice) Penn State! Nor should we even try to be.

The idea is not that far-fetched. Temple didn't have a football team in 1906 and did away with it again from 1918 to 1921.

While we're at it, Temple should also move its homecoming weekend to basketball season so at least the alumni would then have something fond to recall.


To read an opposing view point of Temple's football future, click here.

Dave Ralis is the sports editor for phillyBurbs.com and a 1989 graduate of Temple University. He spent two years living in the football dorm, Peabody Hall, and a year living next to former NBA players Tim Perry and Mark Macon (Temple's assistant basketball coach) in the Johnson tower. He can be reached at 215-269-5051 or at .