There are two thoughts that come to mind when thinking about Temple’s bowl destination:
1) Beggars can’t be chosers
2) What difference does it make?
We won’t know for sure, but my gut is telling me that Temple’s bowl destination will be Boca Raton again.
Process of elimination.
Because Temple just scraped into being bowl eligible, it falls into the beggars’ category when it comes to the AAC pecking order. That means the more appealing bowls–at least to me–like the Birmingham Bowl and the Cure Bowl–will go elsewhere.
To me, the Birmingham Bowl would be the ideal destination for Temple because the Owls’ football brand is best advanced by beating a Power 5 team. The only possible Power 5 opponent would come in either two bowls, Birmingham or Military.
That’s where the “what difference does it make?” phrase comes into play. If the Owls are not going to play a Power 5 team–and it looks like they are not—what difference does it make if they play either a Marshall, a Georgia State, a FIU or an Appalachian State?
Since Navy, despite some rumblings down there to the contrary, is probably going to host the Military Bowl and since USF made known its strong desire to play a Power 5 school, the Owls are probably going to either St. Petersburg or Boca Raton again. The Owls have demonstrated a strong following in Boca Raton, so I think that’s where they will be slotted again. They drew a conservatively estimated 6,000 to Boca (after drawing 4,000 to New Mexico for the previous bowl), so they are a known commodity there. They might do as well or better in St. Pete, but bowl committees like a sure thing and Temple is far from a sure thing there.
The opponent is the unknown factor, but if it’s a Sun Belt or CUSA school, the reaction by “Joe Philadelphia” fans to will probably be a “meh.” Ideally, you’d like to see the Owls go against, say, an ACC team like Duke or BC in Birmingham but that chess move has been blocked by USF.
So, in my mind, it’s back to Del Boca Vista. This time, let’s hope Geoff Collins goes easy on the beach volleyball, air hockey and bowling and cracks the whip on the game prep because, while beating a CUSA or Sun Belt team won’t advance the Temple TUFF brand, losing would be worse.
Monday: Bowl Reality