WRITTEN BY: MELISSA BELLERJEAU
Temple’s football team has had a historic season. Their accomplishments include earning the first place ranking in the East in the American Athletic Conference, selling out Lincoln Financial Field for their games against Penn State University and Notre Dame, and most importantly, getting Philadelphia fans and Temple Owls near and far excited about college football.
This year is the fifth time in Temple football history that the Owls have had bowl eligibility. This year was the first time in thirty-six years that Temple’s football team has been nationally ranked.
Temple Men’s Basketball has upheld a longstanding tradition of excellence. They have the sixth most wins in NCAA history.
Are Temple fans so focused on having a nationally ranked football team that they have allowed their attention to be diverted from basketball?
Sophomores Mackenzie Lederer and Katrina Buckland attended Temple’s home basketball game against Fairleigh-Dickinson University on December 2. When asked whether Temple’s football success has affected people’s enthusiasm for basketball, Lederer said, “Yeah, I think so. I think it’s changed in a positive way.” Buckland said, “I would definitely agree. I think people definitely have more pride for Temple now.”
Buckland noted the presence of the crowd at the game against Fairleigh-Dickinson. “There were more people than I expected,” Buckland said. “I didn’t think this was going to be a big game at all.”
Fans at the game were full of Temple pride and spirit creating an electrifying environment. The Owls won the game 79-70.
Scott Walcoff, Associate Director for Temple’s Athletic Department, stated, “We’ve averaged around 1,000 students for the first two home basketball games. Keep in mind, the first game was over Thanksgiving weekend (students were just returning to campus). The second game was not against an attractive opponent. We are confident that the student section will be rocking for the game against Saint Joseph’s on 12/13. Similarly, students return to campus in mid-January just when our Conference schedule is heating up. We expect attendance to increase.
“The success of the football team has affected the overall school spirit in a positive manner,” Walcoff said. “While it is true that more people are thinking of football rather than basketball at this point, once we get into the heart of basketball season (mid-January), attendance is expected to pick up……especially with games against UConn, SMU, Villanova, etc.”
If Temple’s basketball team plays with the same grit and passion that has captivated Temple sports fans this season, high student attendance and student overall excitement is to be expected.