When the Big 12 Conference voted the other day not to expand, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco felt a tremendous sense of relief.
That's because a number of AAC schools were considered candidates if the Big 12 expanded. For now, the AAC, which has 12 teams in football and 11 in men's basketball, - the two major revenue sports - can stay intact.
Temple was among the AAC schools that had contact with the Big 12, but the Owls were never considered a major candidate.
And now Aresco and the conference can briefly exhale.
"Obviously a weight was lifted from our shoulders," Aresco said before Temple's football game against South Florida Friday at Lincoln Financial Field. "I am glad it is over and glad the conference is intact, and it is terrific for us."
Of course in the ever-changing world of college athletics, the AAC can't relax for long.
"We have a lot of work to do, but we have a chance to do it, and it looks like we will have some stability for a while to get it done," Aresco said.
One thing Aresco said he will look into is attempting to renegotiate the TV deal for football and men's basketball with ESPN. He said the football deal expires after the 2019 season, and basketball ends after the 2019-20 season
"Absolutely," he said about wanting to renegotiate. "They may not want to do anything at this point, but we will be talking to them."
Temple senior Khiry Lucas made his first career start at free safety in place of Nate L. Smith, who suffered an undisclosed injury in last week's 26-25 win over South Florida.
Smith, from Archbishop Wood High School, entered the game in the first quarter. But Lucas returned in the second quarter, and the two alternated throughout the first half. Smith was the starter to begin the third quarter.
When Temple sophomore Ryquell Armstead scored on a 76-yard run in the second quarter, it was not only the longest run of the season for the Owls but tied for the eighth longest (from 1971-present) with Scott McNair.
The longest occurred last year when Jager Garnder went 94 yards in a 60-40 win at SMU on Nov. 6.