West is Best

Looking at how difficult it will be for the 2012 Owls to become bowl eligible with a schedule which includes zero easy wins in-conference, it makes next year's placement in a proposed Western Division a positive development.

When Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw told me the football program was destined for the Western Division of the Big East Conference in 2013 back in March, I viewed the placement as a huge negative.

But I've had an epiphany on the matter, especially looking at how difficult it will be for the 2012 Owls to become bowl eligible with a schedule which includes zero easy wins in-conference.

While my initial thought is Temple would be best served being situated with other Eastern schools Rutgers, Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida and Central Florida, there is certainly good reason to look at the positives of going West.

The schedule will be easier.

The five schools in the East are 23-16 and likely will be joined by 8-0 Louisville, which geographically seemed to be the team that should be slotted West and not Temple.

The record of Memphis, SMU, Boise State, San Diego State and Houston – the five teams the Owls will likely join in the West – are 22-19, and while that doesn't seem like a dramatic difference, consider that all of those teams are playing in conferences with less of a pedigree than the Big East.

Those teams have been able to beat up on the likes of UAB, Southern Miss, UNLV, Hawaii and Wyoming. – teams with one win or no wins in Conference USA or the Mountain West.

No team in the Big East has fewer than two wins, and South Florida is the only team with less than three – needing a spectacular collapse Saturday to not reach their third at that.

All five of the other West teams will be joining the Big East and starting the process of recruiting to the league much like the Owls will.

So instead of fighting an uphill battle against established programs, the Owls will now be in the same boat against their competition.

And if they happen to get Boise State at home, that should make for a decent crowd.

So while Bradshaw concluded not being in the East – which could change when Navy joins in 2015 – was a concession the Owls had to make being a newcomer and football coach Steve Addazio declared the division matter trivial, maybe they both took the positive view.

The Big East West might not be geographically appropriate. But with some easier competition and other joining teams - maybe the proper term should be Big East New - it is the right place to be for the Temple football team.

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