WASHINGTON - It's been quite a cultural experience for Temple as the Owls prepare to face Wake Forest at Tuesday's Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md.

Temple is staying in Washington D.C. and practicing at St. John's College High School. The bowl organizers have kept the Owls busy touring the city during their first two days in the nation's capital.

It began Thursday night when Temple arrived and saw several monuments.

"It was really cool to see the monuments and to see the Martin Luther King Memorial," linebacker Avery Williams said. "It was amazing and a beautiful thing."

The team toured the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

"It was really good going to the Capitol," junior safety Sean Chandler said before Saturday's practice in the rain. "I learned a lot of history."

Team pictures

While at the Capitol, Temple got in some important team business: Their team picture on the building's steps.

Another highlight was posing the 26 players who have already received their college degrees together. The team brought caps and gowns that the players wore over their uniform jerseys.

Last year 25 players had their degree when Temple played its bowl game.

The scene with the graduates was much different this year. Last season Temple played in the Boca Raton Bowl and the players posed with their caps and gowns on a beach.

There was no beach this year, but it was still a special moment for a senior class that has produced consecutive 10-win seasons.

Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, who earned his degree in criminal justice, said when former coach Matt Rhule offered him a scholarship, the first thing he talked to him about was making sure his players got their degrees.

"At that moment when we were taking that picture I felt, wow, coach Rhule kept his promise to us as seniors, and now we have to keep ours to him and finish the season right," said Dawkins, who has been selected along with Owls defensive end Haason Reddick to play in the Senior Bowl.

Bowling with veterans

Temple will spend part of Christmas with some true heroes, military veterans. As one of the activities a few of the players will go bowling with veterans who are at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

@sjnard