Random Ponderings: Temple, Buffalo, The Big East & the MAC

Sometimes the message is right but the messenger so wrong.

In this case Temple is the messenger so I'm going to go ahead and kill the messenger.

I'm not saying Temple is wrong, I'm saying Temple did it wrong.

We shared problems with Temple: fan engagement, sub-par facilities and lack of money. Temple has not been particularly dominant in the MAC or the A-10 but they have shown greater fan commitment, strengthened programs and better facilities. However, they can only go so far in the MAC. Because they care more about status than wins.

Buffalo created there own problems by going FBS too soon, not having the political power to get more money from the state (where's our Carrier Dome) and not winning enough to keep casual fans. The question is will we EVER get where we want if we remain in the MAC? Yes, because all we want is a winner.

Random Pondering: I wonder if conference realignment occurred in 2008, would UB be in the Big East? Between 2006 and 2008:

Overall Record:
UB 15-23
Temple 10-26

Head To Head Record:
UB 3-0 vs Temple.

Conference Championships:
UB - 1
Temple 0

The new Big East, works well with our Alumni Base. California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are our top 4 states outside of New York. They are all represented in the new Big East, none are represented in the MAC. The MAC exposes us to 10,237 non-New York Alumni. The new Big East, 40,248. A game between Rutgers at Yankee, Citi Field or the Meadowlands would help both teams tap into large alumni networks, and stake claims to the New York media market.

More Random Pondering: I wonder if said game at the Meadowlands would bring all our football oblivious but otherwise deep pocketed socialites out. If we lost to Rutgers, 38-3 like the last time we played Rutgers, maybe those alums would be embarrassed into donating a few million to UB for an indoor practice facility.

But then I think, what has the BCS done for people like us? It has done nothing for Washington State, nothing for Duke, nothing really for Kansas or Uconn, nothing much for Syracuse, Indiana or Tennessee.

So what does BCS conference affiliation do? It acts as a de-incentive for winning, because you get paid either way.

The most successful teams in the BCS era have been established greats, teams with rich oilmen on their sidelines and mid-major powers: Boise State, TCU, Houston and Utah. Those teams won a lot of games and fought for the extra paychecks so they could improve facilities and afford the ever rising cost of blue turf paint.

The mid-major solution is simple.
Recruit good people and teach them to play your system ( a.k.a. coaching.)
Retain your coaches, and promote from within.
Win home games.
Win consistently
Win the conference

In the last 3 seasons Temple:


Did wonders with their local talent.

They did not promote from within, but hired someone willing to work with the system in place.

They were 16-4 at home.

And they won 26 times.

Temple was close, very very close. And now much to my happiness I think they have ruined their own momentum. Temple played 3 teams ranked in the final top 40 last year; Penn State, Ohio and Toledo and went 0-3 in those games. In Big East play, they will (eventually) face 7 teams ranked in the top 60 last year (Boise, Houston, Cincy, Rutgers, SMU, Louisville, SDSU). 5-7? If...IF you beat Villanova.

Boise is an elite team in a small conference. Their move to the Big East is about championships, the statue with the detachable crystal ball.

Temple's move is not about championships, it is about status. We hated Temple because they decided they won the MAC forever in 2009...They went 7-1 in the MAC but lost the (for all intents) MAC semi-final game at home then lost to UCLA in a practical home game in DC. That was how they earned their status.

Going to the Big East was the right move...but Temple should have applied to be the 14th member in 2015, not the 12th in 2012. Temple is an above-average team in an average conference. Their move to the Big East is about feeling better...not being better on the field of play. They define success [I'm not sure as hyperbole or as true feelings] as going 6-6 and getting a "better bowl bid". They will most likely fail to do even that.

Buffalo has:

Recruited diamonds out of the rough in the local area and nationally.

Did not retain Turner Gill, nor replace him with someone internal or of similar philosophy

Buffalo won 4 home games in 2008...they won 6 since...luckily 3 last year, so we are improving.

After 3 straight years of 5+wins, we have won 5 in 2 years. Trending down.

We have 1 conference championship.

Lots of work left to be done.

What do we need? Besides wins and consistency at head coach... We need a rival, and an appreciation in what we have in the MAC.

1)

Boise had Idaho, TCU had SMU, Houston had Rice and Utah had BYU. We have rivalry musical chairs.

Rutgers - UConn - Syracuse - Bowling Green - Ohio - Temple - Army...did I miss any?

None really ever had the feel of a real rivalry.

So as long as we are at 12 or 13 teams, we should push for a SUNY, (Albany, Stony Brook or both) to join the MAC. Give us our game in the Meadowlands...create some ugly Empire State themed trophy and give our 120,000 Alumni in New York bragging rights in the state.

Random pondering 3: I say 12 or 13 because I am not sold on UMass...they look like Temple... MAC football, A10 basketball, NFL stadium. No real connection to the MAC, but obvious connection to the Big East. If UMass were to leave in less than a decade I'd hope we just embrace it and rename our conference the Big SLC, or the GBEC: The Big Stepladder Conference or The Gateway to the Big East Conference

2)

I'd say the MAC Sun Belt and maybe the SEC are the only conferences where you could realistically roadtrip to every game.

I love that UB provides buses and cheap student tickets to the MAC Basketball Tournament. I hope we'd explore options to do the same for football games a few hours away in Ohio and Michigan.

At the conference level, I've always wanted to harness the energy of the basketball tournament via a conference wide football event. Pick one of our great cities, say Cleveland and play 6-7 conference games over one weekend in Cleveland. You could have one game at each field (Jacobs field and Cleveland Browns stadium) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

More importantly all 12-14 schools would have fans in the same place at the same time. A massive tailgate to forge friendships and rivalries, so we can really feel like a conference should.

Somehow, we need our fans active involved and in attendance.

So where does that leave us as a 3-9 team? Should we look for our next conference? We could get hot, win the MAC and go to bowls, in 2013, and 2014 and Quinn will be praised as the best coach of all time.

The Big East will call, do we pick up the phone? As much as I'm tempted to say yes, I think we say no. We take 2.5 - 6 million dollar buyout and invest it in our coach and our facilities. We don't need the status. We just want the wins.

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