Murphy: Matt Rhule and Temple's quest to be a destination school
There are times when the tension between money and happiness is a legitimate part of the human condition. There are also times when it is a fictitious construction proffered by folks with interests invested in your believing it so. For love or for money: the last refuge of those who can't provide both.
Any rational cost-benefit analysis of the situation will conclude that Matt Rhule made the move he should have made when he accepted the head-coaching job at Baylor on Tuesday afternoon. This is true whether the measure is money, ego, exposure, or challenge. Material or abstract, the rewards are now greater than they were before. Baylor might be the Temple of Texas, but that's a hell of a lot better than being the Baylor of Philly.
That's true for all parties involved, but it is most true for the faithful who want the Big 12 on North Broad.
Though they represent a tiny portion of the school's enrollment, their relevance far exceeds their size. This is true of most fundamentalist sects, their beliefs fervent enough to withstand even the most lethal of doses of reason. Reality is no match for visions of a greater world; whether recent or otherwise, history has shown this to be true. For those who believe a nationally relevant football program is something a school of Temple's stature must strive to achieve, it will take a lot more than a coach leaving one year into a contract extension to suggest that such a thing is out of reach.
But the chief issue with Temple's pursuit of college football's grandest stage has never been feasibility, and any critique of the endeavor will unleash the evidence like articles of faith. The enrollment! The television market! Hark, the Boca Raton Bowl sings! A stadium on campus is all that we need! It'll make this university great, and we won't even have to pay!
In times like these, facts are trivial things, so don't bother with the budget and its pesky red numbers, or the comparisons to other colleges that have attempted similar things. Forget the feasibility, and focus on the wisdom of the endeavor.
When Rhule announced he was leaving for Baylor, what did you think? That it was a fine institution that any man would be proud to call home, a place that understands its mission, a beacon of light, incubator of minds, educator of citizens, trainer of this country's workforce of tomorrow? Is that what you thought? Or did you think: Baylor? Aren't they headed for probation? Didn't they fire their coach for looking the other way? Didn't they force out their president because he spent more time cheering for the students on the field than looking out for their well-being off it? Didn't they sacrifice their integrity to achieve football glory?
And he still left us to coach at that school?
Perhaps you sat back in your chair and looked at your diploma on the wall and said to yourself, "One day soon, that school could be us!"