By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Golden 2.0?
Seriously, the similarities between the last Penn State alum turned hot commodity in the college football coaching ranks to bolt Temple and the latest one just reek of something … or just reek, period.
Ahh, the school along North Broad is just a springboard to something … well, what we’re really not sure – because reality and perception are not necessarily intertwined.
Miami 2010 better than Temple? Baylor 2016 better than Temple? Hmmm …
Honestly, not really sure what Matt Rhule was thinking when he opted to leave an Owls program he had just built into an American Athletic Conference champion. Maybe he …
Didn’t wanna pass on another Power 5 coaching opportunity?
Felt this was the best time to take a chance at a big move?
Believed Temple had reached the tipping point of its potential?
Frankly, the last one seems the most likely. Considering the Owls just posted their best back-to-back campaigns in school history, capped by a school first with a major-conference title, and the most acknowledgement they could muster was second-fiddle status to his alma mater’s Big Ten title by the media and a general ho-hum from fans in Temple’s own town, that makes sense.
A year ago, Rhule flirted with Missouri, which, ironically enough, not only is a member of the same conference as Baylor but employed the same athletic director who currently runs the show in Waco, Texas, Mack Rhoades. He chose to remain at Temple, perhaps to bolster his resume, perhaps to claim a championship he thought had slipped through the Owls’ grasp in 2015.
Whatever. Mission accomplished either way.
What makes little sense at this point, though, is him taking the gig at Baylor. Not only does that decision drill a multitude of holes in Rhule’s statements of allegiance to Temple and the city of Philadelphia and city living in general, it takes a shot at his common sense. With seats heating up from South Bend, Ind., to Knoxville, Tenn., and all the way out to L.A., the vacancy landscape at his disposal in the coming weeks or, say, next year could have included the likes of UCLA, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
All would be better opportunities than Baylor, short term and long term.
The Bears are hardly the rags to national-contender riches story of a few years ago anymore. They’re a program on the downturn with scandalous actions in recent years likely setting the stage for NCAA-imposed sanctions. Kinda sounds a lot like the Miami job Golden jumped into, and later regretted once sanctions came down.
The latter lasted 4.5 years in Coral Cables, Fla., before getting canned. Almost have to wonder if a similar fate isn’t awaiting Rhule in the future.
Temple? It gets to start from scratch all over again, after experiencing another marriage filled with promises that ultimately will never be realized.