- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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So this is it, Temple. You are now officially in the Big East.
How does everything look to you from the outside? Shiny and new?
Well, come take a look inside.
You probably already know there has been some housecleaning since the last time you came around these parts. Oh, who are we kidding? There has been a lot of housecleaning. Some of the old tenants said the house had fallen into disrepair. Too much infighting. Too old-fashioned. Too many basketballs in the garage and not enough footballs. Whatever that means.
They said they wanted a bigger place to stretch their legs -- like 100 yards and not 94 feet. Yes, all that comes with just a teensy bit more money in their pockets. But none of it comes with the rivalries they built and forged in this house. Or with the friends they made. Or with loyalty or camaraderie. Sigh. It is so tempting to say good riddance for the way they turned their backs on family. But all that bravado hides the truth.
Losing them hurts. Badly.
But onward and upward, right? They were old fuddy-duddies, anyway. Out with the old guard, in with the new guard! Change is good! Reinventing yourself is even better! No sense in looking backward. Plus, there would be no room for you in the house if they were still here. And everybody is so thrilled to have you back. You do look so much better than you did eight years ago. Reinvigorated. You have a healthy, winning glow.
So, let's begin the tour. Put on this construction hat. Ignore the jackhammering. Watch that "Pardon Our Dust" sign. And the other that says, "Set to be completed: July 2015." Ah, the sights and sounds of expansion.
Good news, as you can see. The framework of the house is still standing. Check that. The framework of the house is BIGGER and still standing. What do they say in Texas, again? Right! Bigger is better. In this case, seven additions are being put into the house. Seven! Really strong ones, too, from places like Boise, Houston, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego and Memphis. Combine that with what is already in place, and you have a house made of championship-grade material.
Think about all the huge, metropolitan cities from which this house is being constructed and remember that "bigger is better" mantra. The house is bigger (i.e., better!). The appeal is bigger (i.e., better!). That ought to impress everybody on the block.
The best part of all -- there are no favorite tenants in here. Nobody jumping to the top of the house year after year to separate themselves from the pack. Top to bottom and up and down the tenant list, you will find unparalleled competition. Seriously, look at Rutgers. When you left in 2004, Rutgers was right there with you at the bottom of the house.
Now, Rutgers is right near the top! Right with Louisville, which was at the bottom just three years ago! And Cincinnati, which joined the year after you got kicked out! (Again, 1,000 apologies on that. You understand.)
That is what makes this house so great. Upstairs, downstairs = no bad views! So you are sure to fit right in, no matter where you decide to unpack your bags.
What's that? Oh sure, there are people who think the house has fallen victim to the real estate crash. Underwater on its mortgage, little chance for survival. Property value has plummeted. Tenants looking around for a more stable home. Let's see, what else have they said?
Even with a bigger framework and new tenants, the house is not among the biggest, best five in the neighborhood. Because the new tenants are not as good as the old tenants. And expanding cannot hide the cracks in the foundation, cracks that may soon grow into major breaks and cause the house to come crashing down into a pile of rubble.
Tell those doubters this house is not falling apart. This house is just as good as the house next door. You know, the one with soon-to-be five tenants that used to live here.
This house is bigger.
This house is better.
Hope you enjoy your stay!