Report: Temple ''Wants In" the Big East

Report: Temple ''Wants In" the Big East

As reported by the Daily News' Mike Kern earlier this morning, Temple University has made clear to conference officials its interest in potentially joining the Big East. Kern's report indicates that Temple's No. 1 preference would be to join as an all-sports member, but that the university might well be willing to settle for a football-only invitation.

And so, rather than sitting back and playing the waiting game, it seems Temple has gone out made its own intentions known. While the story has a "big feel" about it based on the barrage of media coverage surrounding the move over the past few weeks, it's nothing to get radically excited about just yet.

When it comes to Temple football possibly rejoining its former conference, clearly the Big East is a step up from the MAC, but its hard to say just how much of a step it really is, or will be. After all, the renewed interest between Temple and the Big East is largely motivated by the fact that the conference is hemorrhaging programs and needs new schools to hopefully stop further bleeding.

Though it is a BCS conference, its generally considered a step below the Big 10, SEC, PAC(whatever it is now, I don't know)-74, what for the time-being is still the Big-12 and now perhaps even the new ACC. On top of everything else, there's been rumors of the Big East potentially partnering up with remnants of the Big-12, assuming Texas and Oklahoma are on their way out, to possibly create a pseduo-super-conference of its own.

So, yeah, it is a step up from the MAC, but it remains to see just far of a step. In this case, there is an equal fear of becoming the next TCU and being the school burnt by inaction.

As for basketball, assuming the school could be admitted as full-member, its hard not to love the move for the Owls—assuming the conference can stay together for round ball. Let's approach this from the perspective of a best case scenario, since the worst case is evidently a wholesale dissolution of the current programs.

A program that has quickly regained some of the national traction lost under the final years of John Chaney, Temple would figure to inherit the "Big East" recruiting bump that Villanova has so enjoyed these past few years. Though the loss of Syracuse and Pitt have shifted the balance of power to the ACC, the Big East remains one of the premiere basketball conferences in the country.

For a Temple team that is "very good" and looking to become "great," the move could do wonders. One need look most recently to the Daniel Ochefu snafu to see evidence of what Temple has lost and could gain. Ochefu, a 6-9 center from Westtown, PA, was recruited heavily by Temple, but ultimately chose Villanova and a college career in Big East basketball. Leveling the playing field would make a great judge of talent like Fran Dunphy even more effective in landing desired recruits. Add to that membership in the Big East, home games in the Liacouras Center and a brand new multi-million dollar practice facility, and Temple starts looking like a real good destination for a kid to play his college ball—and just as good as, say, Villanova.

If you're a fan of Temple or 'Nova or just particularly interested in the future viability of the Big East, then keep an eye on the UCONN Huskies. UCONN has stayed relatively quiet nationally when it comes to its prospective future in the Big East, and its president has repeatedly indicated a desire toward protecting the stature of the school's current conference. The quality of that conference over the next few years could lie in whether the Huskies stay the course and remain loyal to their current commitment, or jump ship like near-identical athletic institutions Pitt and Syracuse.

Still, as was said up front, there is nothing to get excited about just yet. Temple is the one indicating its interest in the Big East; it is not the other way around...for now.

The Big East could use a school like Temple add some new blood and hopefully reassure its existing programs—specifically, UCONN—that times will be good after all. Because, right now, for all but a few top schools in the Big East and Big-12, it's hard not to get that "we were dead before the ship even sank" kind of feeling.

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Jordan Matthews will not play Sunday against the Bengals after missing practice all week with an ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Matthews is the Eagles' leading receiver with 57 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns. The team has called him a game-time decision.

Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor will reportedly be inserted back into the lineup. If Matthews doesn't play the Eagles will have only four healthy receivers active on Sunday: Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and undrafted rookies Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.