It's past the midway point of Temple's season, so college bowl talk is starting to perk up. The Owls, who lost to Toledo, 32-17, in last year's Boca Raton Bowl, have never played bowl games in consecutive years.
And, with a 4-3 record and 2-1 mark in the American Athletic Conference heading into Friday's showdown at Lincoln Financial Field against South Florida (6-1, 3-0), bowl games are the farthest thing from the minds of coach Matt Rhule and his players.
"I don't talk about it," Rhule said, referring to bowl games when asked about it Monday.
Temple has been named in several different scenarios in mock bowl articles. One bowl that intrigues Temple, according to a source familiar with the Owls' situation, is the Military Bowl. It is to be played on Dec. 27 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, and the AAC will play the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Another bowl that could be intriguing is in the Bahamas, where the AAC will play a team from Conference USA or the MAC.
Many other scenarios will emerge between now and bowl selection in the first week of December. Teams need to be .500 to be bowl eligible. The AAC has ties with eight bowls games. As long as eight teams are .500 or better, at least two-thirds of the 12-team league will earn a bowl bid.
Here are all the AAC's bowl ties for this season:
Cure Bowl in Orlando, Dec. 17: AAC vs. Sun Belt, 5:30 p.m.
Miami Beach Bowl, Dec. 19: AAC vs. Mid-American Conference (MAC), 2:30 p.m.
Boca Raton Bowl, Dec. 20: AAC vs. Conference USA, 7 p.m.
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl, Dec. 23: AAC vs. ACC, 11 a.m.
Bahamas Bowl, Nassau, Bahamas, Dec. 23: AAC vs. Conference USA/MAC, 1 p.m.
Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 23, Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 23: AAC vs. Big 12, 4:30 p.m.
Military Bowl, Annapolis, Maryland, Dec. 27: AAC vs. ACC, 3:30 p.m.
Birmingham Bowl (Alabama), Dec. 29: AAC vs. SEC, 2 p.m.
The AAC also has secondary partnerships with the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., and the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego as well as other ESPN-owned bowls.
Rhule said that safety Nate L. Smith, who left Saturday's 26-25 win at Central Florida with an unspecified injury, is questionable this week. Smith was replacing Sean Chandler, who remains out with a knee injury. Against UCF, Smith was replaced by redshirt sophomore Jyquis Thomas, the likely starter this week. . . . South Florida coach Willie Taggart was impressed with Temple's winning drive in Saturday's victory. . . . The Owls took over on their own 30-yard line with 32 seconds left and no time outs, and four plays later Phillip Walker hit Keith Kirkwood with the winning 8-yard scoring pass. "I saw a team that was determined to win a game, believed they would win the game," Taggart said. "Very impressive."