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A scenario that could lead to a Cotton Bowl berth for Temple

Before cheering on their team in Saturday's American Athletic Conference championship Saturday at Navy, Temple football fans will simply have this rallying cry when gathering around their television sets on Friday evening - "Go Bobcats."

That is because Temple's once improbable path to a berth in the Cotton Bowl realistically relies on two factors.

Temple (9-3 overall, 7-1 AAC), of course, would have to beat Navy (9-2, 7-1) in Saturday's noon championship game.

Before that, on Friday night, the Owls need Western Michigan (12-0) to lose to Ohio University (8-4) in the 7 p.m. Mid American Conference championship at Detroit's Ford Field

The Bobcats of Ohio U. won the East Division MAC title while Western Michigan is the West Division winner.

Like Temple and Navy, Western Michigan and Ohio U have not played this season.

The Cotton Bowl will take the highest rated Group of Five school (which means the top school not in the Power Five conferences). Last year, Houston of the AAC earned the berth in the Peach Bowl.

The Cotton Bowl is designated this year to take the highest ranked Group of 5 team and to be considered, a team has to win a conference championship.

This year's Cotton Bowl is Jan. 2 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex.

The other Group of Five conference that apparently was in the running was the Mountain West, but that championship has San Diego State (9-3) facing Wyoming (8-4) on Saturday evening.

San Diego State is coming off Saturday's 63-31 home loss to Colorado State. It would be hard to justify the Aztecs over the Temple-Navy winner.

What happens if Temple loses?

The Owls are intrigued about the Birmingham Bowl, Dec. 29 in Alabama, which pits has an AAC team playing against an SEC team.

A source on Sunday said that the Military Bowl, which is Dec. 27 at Annapolis, is still not out of the picture. The Military Bowl matches the AAC against the ACC.

The Military Bowl would have been Temple's first choice if the Owls weren't playing at Annapolis this week.

Still, the prospect of Temple playing at Annapolis twice in under four weeks isn't a dead deal, the source said.

There is still a lot up in the air

Yet the dominoes will begin falling on Friday, when Temple fans will wave their Bobcats pom-poms.