There were 72 bowl-eligible teams, for 70 available spots. For whatever reasons, Temple was one of those that didn't make the cut.

This isn't the way things were supposed to unfold, going forward, for a squad that was picked to win the Mid-American Conference but instead finished third in the East Division.

So the Owls, who lost their last two games to end up 8-4 (5-3 in the league), will not make consecutive bowl trips for the first time in program history. Nor will they have the chance to win a bowl for the first time since 1979 (and second time ever).

It also means fifth-year coach Al Golden won't get the advantage of the extra practice time that comes with a postseason appearance.

A year ago the Owls went 9-3, which represented their best season in three decades, then lost to 6-6 UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C.

In September they beat Connecticut by two touchdowns in South Philly. The Huskies are headed to a BCS bowl, either the Fiesta or Orange, as Big East champions.

The Owls lost at home to Ohio on Nov. 16, 31-23. That took them out of contention for a spot in the MAC title game. The next week they lost at Miami of Ohio, 23-3. If they had won either of those games, chances are they wouldn't have been left out.

Miami beat Northern Illinois, which also beat Temple at home, in Friday's conference final.

A source very familiar with the situation said that it appeared Temple was headed to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26, to play fellow MAC member Toledo (the two had not met this season). But Middle Tennessee State scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to win by a point at Florida International and get to 6-6. That gave the Sun Belt three eligible teams, and allowed that conference to fulfill its back-up commitment to the Little Caesars. So FIU wound up in Motown against the Rockets (8-4) instead.

That's how precarious all this stuff can be sometimes. And Toledo is only an hour away from Ford Field.

Three other MAC teams are headed somewhere. Northern Illinois (10-3) will play Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl (Boise, Dec. 18). Miami (9-4) plays Middle Tennessee in the Go Daddy.com Bowl (Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.). And Ohio (8-4) plays Troy (7-5) in the R&L Carriers Bowl (Dec. 18, New Orleans).

That's three MAC-Sun Belt matchups, if you're keeping track.

Western Michigan (6-6), which also plays in the MAC, was the other team that didn't get an invitation.