The BIG EAST Conference officially welcomes Temple football to the league effective July 1, the culmination of an amazing transformation for the Owls over the past five years.
Temple enters the BIG EAST after coming off of three consecutive winning seasons,including a 9-4 record and a 37-15 win over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl in 2012. Temple had not registered a season above .500 since 1990 prior to its recent upswing.
Last year’s Owl squad ranked third nationally in scoring defense (13.9 ppg) behind only Alabama and LSU – the two participants in last year’s BCS National Championship game. By the end of the year, they were receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
“Temple is clearly one of the fastest growing football programs in the country,” said BIG EAST Sr. Associate Commissioner Nick Carparelli. “After winning nine games in 2011, including its first bowl victory since 1979, we expect Temple to be an immediate factor in the BIG EAST.”
The program’s progress is also exhibited on the Owls’ increased presence in the NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson became its first first-round NFL Draft pick in 2011 and the Owls had three players selected in the 2012 draft.
The excitement around Temple has extended to the ticket window as well. The Owls average attendance in 2011 was 70% higher than it was in 2004. Temple plays in the state-of-the-art Lincoln Financial Field – also the home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Additionally, the university is in the middle of a $10 million expansion and renovation of its on-campus football facilities.
“They bring a top -four television market, play in a state of the art stadium, have made a significant investment in facility upgrades and have one of the most dynamic football coaches in the country,” Carparelli said. “It will be exciting to see what the Temple football program can achieve over the next few years.”
Temple will open its BIG EAST schedule in 2012 with an October 6 tilt with USF. The Owls will play USF, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Syracuse at home and make trips to Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville in league play.