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Temple is better fit for Big East than Villanova

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published September 15. 2010 4:00AM   Updated September 15. 2010 4:57AM

The theory goes that the more an idea is repeated, the more likely others will believe it. It's called Argumentum Ad Nauseam. Argument to nausea. An idea that gets repeated enough so we're all sick of talking about it.

The latest example: Villanova would be a great fit for Big East football.

So sayeth league coaches and league poohbahs.

The idea that a small, private school with no suitable on-campus facility, a need to make a massive financial commitment in a bad economy and no football tradition in a professional sports market would somehow enhance the league is dumber than bunting with the cleanup hitter.

Villanova isn't even the best choice in Philadelphia.

The best choice in Philadelphia is UConn's opponent this week.

Now hold the phone, you say. Temple? Temple??

Temple.

No longer can you ask "who?" when discussing the Owls. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Al Golden, the bright, young coach, has energized the program, upgraded its talent and even got Temple to a bowl game last year for the first time since 1979.

'Nova, of course, already belongs to the Big East in basketball. Temple does not. It's a significant distinction. But does it outweigh how Temple - not 'Nova - has the contract with Lincoln Financial Field to play its home games in a legitimate facility?

Does it outweigh how Temple is far more cable ready than 'Nova in virtually every aspect of big-time football?

Or that Temple is competitive with Big East programs right now?

Nobody who follows the Big East better look down at Temple. The Big East hasn't exactly distinguished itself nationally this season. And before the apologists' inevitable knee-jerk response ("oh yeah, well what about the ACC?") let's stop right there. The ACC stinks, too. ACC schools, especially the ones ranked in the preseason Top 25, have soiled themselves this season in spotlight games.

But, alas, this is not about the ACC, which has 12 football schools and a new, fat television deal that has doubled revenues to its member schools.

This is about the Big East, whose potential list of schools for expansion doesn't make many of us hyperventilate. And not that Temple is this huge draw, but it brings the Philadelphia market into football with a school already ready to compete.

And bypassing Temple for a Football Championship Division school that Temple just defeated is a slap.

Golden was asked about it Tuesday by UConn beat writers.

"I don't get involved in that. I've got enough to worry about with our program," he said. "I'm proud of our program and I'm proud of our university and the things that we're doing."

Give Golden a gold star for diplomacy. Here, however, is what a source close to the Temple program said:

"I think Golden is pretty heated behind closed doors about that," the source said, alluding to Villanova's possible invitation. "I've heard from a few people that the reason that Golden chose to sign the five-year contract extension (last) year was because he wanted to grow the program and get back into a BCS conference.

"In the past two offseasons, he has turned down offers to go to UCLA, Cincinnati and Syracuse but he chose to stay because he wanted to finish what he started at Temple. For now he wants to grow the program to the point where they are a favorite every year to win the MAC. … If Golden does stay for the duration of his contract, expect that Temple will make a push to get into a BCS conference."

All of this makes for a delicious storyline for Saturday's game. Imagine if Temple wins. It certainly could (and almost did at Rentschler in 2007). The Owls would have victories this season over the school the Big East apparently wants ('Nova) and the school some are picking to win the conference (UConn). A marketing guy with a sinister sense of humor should have the "Temple Owls, 2010 Big East champs" sign ready for the big message board at The Link just in case.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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