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Temple's Win Over Memphis Was a Win for the Fenway Bowl
With slim pickings on Northeastern schools, landing Temple could be huge for the Beantown Bowl
Four Top 25 teams lost to unranked foes this weekend, but upsets dotted the college football landscape throughout the country. One noteworthy upset was Temple’s win over Memphis.
After only mustering one win in a turbulent 2020 campaign, the Owls were an afterthought in the American with low odds at making a bowl. The outlook worsened with an embarrassing 61-14 loss to Rutgers in Week 1.
However, the Owls have gone 3-1 since then with wins over lowly squads in Akron and Wagner and a solid victory over AAC power Memphis. The Owls have three winnable games down the stretch in USF, Navy, and Tulsa, as well as a swing game against ECU, making a bowl appearance realistic.
One party that will watch the Owls’ situation closely is the Fenway Bowl. The projections for Massachusetts’ first FBS bowl (there have been D3 Bowls in the Bay State before) range from ECU, Memphis, and UCF making the long trip to Boston.
This is not ideal of course, especially in the case of UCF. It is unlikely fans would leave their warm, Sunshine State confines to see their team play a middling Power Five program again.
Of course, the Fenway Bowl had high hopes at its announcement in April 2019. After all, the American had three schools in the Northeast in Navy, Temple, and UConn. However, UConn left for the Big East two months later and Navy and Temple had rough 2020 seasons with Navy’s slide continuing to this season.
Bowls such as the Fenway and Pinstripe Bowl are hard draws in a day and age where the dream of a Northeastern FBS conference has met the fate of Jefferson’s vision of an America grounded by yeoman farmers, an outdated dream of days past.
Even the ACC faces this issue with only Pitt, Syracuse, and Boston College rotating between their three Northeastern bowls.
This is why it is so important for Temple to become eligible. The Fenway Bowl can build much-needed momentum in their first year with a matchup that is not only intriguing but geographically feasible.
Not only is Temple only a five-hour drive from Fenway, but they have connections with multiple ACC schools, particularly Pitt, BC, Miami, and Virginia Tech. The Fenway Bowl can appeal to Northeastern fans and nostalgia lovers alike by pairing Temple with old Big East foes. A Pitt-Temple or BC-Temple game in Fenway would be a breath of fresh air in the current environment of conference shuffling.
Along with the poor geography, few schools in the American offer that connection with ACC schools, aside from Memphis and Louisville, who were former Conference USA foes with 43 meetings between them.
While it will not be the end of the world if Temple does not make the inaugural Fenway Bowl, the bowl could miss out on the momentum needed to make it more than an afterthought in the New England sports scene.