The University of South Florida football program apparently will be making its first trip to Philadelphia this fall.
Temple University was announced Wednesday afternoon as the latest member of the ever-changing Big East Conference, after the league's presidents gave their approval during a meeting in New York. The Owls will join for football only in 2012, then become an all-sports member in 2012-13.
The Big East will assist with Temple's $6 million exit fee to leave the Mid-American Conference, its football home since 2007. Temple's other sports are in the Atlantic 10 and another exit fee will come into play next year.
Temple's addition prevents a scheduling nightmare for the Big East's football playing schools, which would have been scrambling to find a 12th game. The Big East now has eight football members for this fall. Temple will effectively replace West Virginia, which jumped to the Big 12, on the Big East's roster. It's expected that Temple will plug into West Virginia's spot on the schedule, which would put USF at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field for a date with the Owls this fall.
The Big East is expected to announce its complete football schedule later this month.
So to summarize:
Temple was an original football member of the Big East from 1991-2004, but it was kicked out of the league, essentially for not being competitive. The Owls have since turned around their football fortunes under Al Golden (now at Miami) and current head coach Steve Addazio, the former Florida offensive coordinator.
The Owls have gone 26-10 in the past three seasons with two bowl appearances.
"We have a football program. We have a real football program,'' said Lewis Katz, a member of Temple's board of trustees and chairman of its athletic committee.
In men's basketball, Temple has 29 NCAA tournament appearances, including five trips to the Elite Eight and two to the Final Four (1956, 1958). The Owls were a No. 1 seed at the 1988 East Region.
Temple's addition comes with the public blessing of Villanova, another Philadelphia school that is located just 12 miles away. The Temple-Villanova basketball rivalry should heat up even more. Marinatto said the Big East is exploring whether Villanova could one day be promoted to the Football Bowl Subdivision level, leaving a possibility of it joining the league in all sports.
BIG EAST BREAKDOWN
2012 FOOTBALL (EIGHT TEAMS): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, USF
2012-13 BASKETBALL (15 TEAMS): Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Syracuse, USF, Villanova
2013 FOOTBALL (14 TEAMS*): Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, Syracuse, Temple, USF
2013-14 BASKETBALL (20 TEAMS*): Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Houston, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, SMU, Syracuse, Temple, USF, Villanova
(*) Assuming Syracuse and Pittsburgh remain until 2014