The Owls basketball program has enjoyed a tremendous run in the Atlantic 10 under both fomer coach John Chaney and current coach Fran Dunphy.
But the move to a "major" conference will give them that much more to sell to recruits, especially when coupled with a new practice facility the school is building. For the first time, the very best Philly kids will have a choice when it comes to playing in a power conference.
"This allows Temple to eliminate the nemesis of not being in the Big East," said Norm Eavenson, a West Chester-based scouting associate for Bog Gibbons All Star Sports.
"The lure of the competition, television exposure and numerous at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament will impact Temple's recruiting. Despite being one of the Top 10 winningest programs in college basketball history, Big East were two words that haunted the Owls.
“Temple will now have more leverage recruiting the best Philadelphia area players. There should be some interesting recruiting battles with Villanova to keep Philly's best at home … Few cities can boast two BCS-level schools. Fans should be excited."
And yet, it won't be the same Big East. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia are all leaving, while others—such as Louisville and Connecticut—are looking to do likewise. At some point, the Big East might not even remain a BCS conference, depending how all the football stuff shakes out.
Or the basketball schools, as some have speculated, could eventually decide to go their own way. At this point nothing's a certainty. But for the time being, it's still the Big East. Madison Square Garden, Big Monday, Dick Vitale. Things the A-10, for all its success, can't offer. Kids see that. And it makes a difference.
"We're still trying to get the best kids we possibly can," said Dunphy. "I think we'll get in with some that maybe we weren't in with before because of the perception of the Big East. But I don't think the process will change what we do, the kind of program we have.
“With some kids, they may not previously have given Temple the same level of attention as they might now. But we still have to work hard, continue to do what's made this program so successful.
“I think the greater good will be served, and Philadelphia will be that much better for it. That's the real winner in all of this. Both can certainly co-exist. Hopefully the rivalry between Villanova and Temple is even further increased as a marquee game."
For Temple, there doesn't seem to be any downside. But that's not the case with Villanova.
In this year's recruiting class, Villanova got a fall commitment from local big man Daniel Ochefu (who played at Westtown School but has since transferred to Downingtown East). Temple was involved in the process—before it got into the Big East.
Who knows how much it would have entered into Ochefu's equation had it already been in the conference?
Eavenson says that in the Class of 2013, both schools are involved with a good number of the same players. Among them are Rondae Jefferson, a forward from Chester whose brother Rahlir will be a Temple senior, and Rysheed Jordan, a point guard from Vaux. Both are ranked in the top 50 nationally. And in 2014, they're both in the hunt for for St. John Neumann combo guard JaQuan Newtown.
The only certainty in this turf battle is that the old ground rules no longer apply.
"There's nothing we can do about that," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "We've always had to compete against the top national schools coming in here to recruit. We've never been afraid of that. The challenge was always to get them to stay home. The negative for us is, now those kids have another choice if they do. I don't want to be unrealistic about this, but I'm hoping it can become a positive and that we can help each other that way. But there's no doubt we will lose a kid to Temple.
“I mean, we've lost Philly kids to Pitt and Syracuse. Then you wind up playing against them for four years. But you never worry about the guys you don't get. It's the guys you get, if they're not good enough. They're the ones that hurt you. If you go after enough of them, you're going to lose some battles …
“The ones that bother you more are the ones that go away. Look at (Wayne) Ellington and (Gerald) Henderson. They went to the ACC (North Carolina and Duke) and played against each other. You could've had one go to Villanova, and the other to Temple. I'm hoping that's the kind of stuff that happens.