Temple coach Matt Rhule said he never weighed the impact a potential win on Saturday over Cincinnati, tied for the conference lead, would have had as opposed to one next week over struggling Tulane when it comes to securing a bowl bid.
At 5-6, Temple will become bowl-eligible with one more win, but there is no guarantee the Owls will receive a bowl invitation with a 6-6 record.
"I don't believe [beating Cincinnati] would have" made a difference, Rhule said after his team's 14-6 loss to the Bearcats. "I believe we have a good team, and I feel like we can play anybody in the conference, compete against them, and probably win the game.
"We had opportunities to win the game, but we just have to come back and win next week."
The game marked the final home contest for eight Owls. That group includes wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick, running back Kenneth Harper, tight end Wanemi Omuso, defensive lineman Obi Onejeme, wide receiver Brett Pierce, quarterback Connor Reilly, defensive back Anthony Robey, and fullback Marc Tyson.
"It was a bittersweet feeling," Harper said. "Playing at Lincoln Financial Field was a little emotional because it has meant playing a lot for Temple. It's bittersweet moving on to whatever life has next for me. I know we will all miss playing with the team. We've still got one more game to play."
Rhule took full responsibility for his misuse of timeouts on Saturday.
He burned two in the first quarter and two in the third. The two in the first half ended up not hurting the Owls, but Rhule said the two in the third quarter were inexcusable.
On its final drive of the game, Cincinnati used up almost seven minutes before punting the ball away with just 14 seconds left in the game.
"I put that squarely on me," Rhule said. "The mismanagement of the clock and of the timeouts, those are the things that the coach has to be responsible for, and it hurt us. The defense played a heroic game, and we didn't have a chance to stop the clock when we needed to. I feel awful for that, and I told the guys that."