The final score of an intrasquad, spring football game is always of secondary concern, especially when some players just happen to play for both teams. Usually, events like these are an opportunity to gauge the development of individual players and to see how a given program is shaping up for its next season.
And though that's often the case, the main story in this instance wasn't so much on the field as it was just where that field was located.
The Cherry defeated the White, 17-10, Saturday in Temple's first spring football game ever held at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls have been playing their home games at the Linc since the stadium opened in 2003.
"It's a good experience," head coach Steve Addazio said. "You come to the Linc andyou're in a new environment, but, boy, I really loved that environment. It was fun. I think the kids loved it. It's a good experience that, all of a sudden, they're back in that setting again. It's different."
The scrimmage has previously been held at the old Temple Stadium, the school's Ambler campus, Geasey Field on main campus and, most recently, at team's practice facility -- the Edberg-Olson Football Complex.
But as the Edberg-Olson is currently undergoing a 10 million expansion that will nearly double its size by July 2012, the school was caught without a home to stage the annual Cherry and White game.
"We realized with all the construction going on over there that we were very limited with how many people we could actually fit inside the gate safely so that the team could operate and the coaches could. So we were going to have to limit the attendance," Temple athletic director Bill Bradhaw said.
Last year, Temple drew over 3,400 fans for its spring game. This year, with the EOC ill-equipped to host a crowd, the university's alumni association pulled together funds to rent Lincoln Financial Field for the day, donations for which Bradshaw said he and staff were "grateful."
That said, this might not have been a for-one-day-only affair. The Edberg-Olson facility exists in a confined space, meaning that as the facility expands, the extra space that could be used to house onlookers will diminish. As the spring game could now be forced away from the EOC in interest of the facility's advancement, Bradshaw admitted that the Linc "might be" the Cherry and White game's new home moving forward.
"It's going to be something we consider," he said. "I'm going to be talking to Vice President of Institutional Advancement David Unruh about that this week. We'll talk about the whole experience and how it went and whether it was worthwhile. We're going to go outside about tailgating and how many people showed up. So it could be a permanent move."
"We really hadn't considered this move previously because the Cherry and White day was part of Alumni Weekend and it was kind of a cozy little activity that was taking place during a number of other activities on campus. So that was really the center of that universe -- a game in the middle of Alumni Weekend."
Now Bradshaw says he'll be talking to Unruh and others to see whether the game should still be held during that weekend, and whether its more advantageous to do that on or off-campus, a decision he says they'll try to make within "the next couple of weeks." For reference compared to 2011, the university estimated that about 2,500 fans showed up Saturday at the Linc.
Adding to the move's intrigue is Temple's upcoming return to the Big East. After being thrown out of the conference as a football-only member in 2004, languishing as an independent for two seasons and finding a home to rebuild its image for the next five years in the Mid-American Conference, Temple accepted an invitation to rejoin the Big East as an all-sports member in March.
While the rest of the school's athletic programs will not make the switch until Fall 2013, the football team was able to fill an immediate scheduling hole for the conference created by the departure of West Virginia and will begin Big East play next season.
As the switch in conferences represents a move up for the program, so too does the move off-campus and into the Linc for the spring game. Addazio has often cited the ability to play home games in an NFL stadium as a selling point in attracting recruits to Temple since he took as coach last off-season. He's reiterated, as one would expect, a constant desire to grow the Temple brand.
Rather than the "cozy" game spring scrimmage has traditionally been, the coach seems to have something else in mind.
"When I was at Florida, we used to love that spring game, because the atmosphere down there was very game-like. And I remember many a time, you'd get a great sense of a guy who hadn't been on that stage yet."
"We used to like to watch guys in that stadium. And this environment today was great. It reminded me, we didn't have have the same crowd, but its still the same impact and it reminded me of that a little bit."
It surely wasn't Gainesville on Saturday, but that doesn't mean the coach is giving up on his desire to make the Owls a more prominent fixture in the Philadelphia sports market, regardless of whether or not the school decides to keep the game at the Linc .
"I thought today was terrific, but where the game is played is not really my decision," he said. "There's a lot of factors that go into that. But I'm just glad for today. I thought today was terrific. I really enjoyed it. And I'd really like to see us grow our spring game. I really think we could grow the spring game. And I see no reason why our crowds can't continue to grow."
E-mail Nick Menta at email@example.com