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Which bowl game will Temple football play in?

There are three bowls that are considered among the frontrunners, but Temple could have other options before Sunday's bowl selection.

Ryquell Armstead runs past a USF defender during the Owls' win earlier this month.
Ryquell Armstead runs past a USF defender during the Owls' win earlier this month.Read moreH. Rumph Jr / For the Inquirer

Less than a week before the bowl bids are extended, Temple appears to have several options.

Things are likely to remain that way up to Sunday's announcement of bowl bids. The surest bet is that Temple will play a Power Five school.

This will be Temple's fourth straight bowl game and, in that time, the lone Power Five opponent has been Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons beat the Owls 34-26 in the 2016 Military Bowl. Last year, Temple beat Florida International, 28-3, in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

As noted on Saturday, the three bowls leading the conversation are the Military, Birmingham and Independence Bowls. A source close to the situation said that is still the case at this point, but the conference championship games this weekend could significantly impact the situation.

When asked about possibility of Temple facing Baylor and former Owls coach Matt Rhule in a bowl, the source said, "not likely."

In the selection of a bowl, the AAC has more say than the school in placing a team in bowls, according to a person familiar with process, although the wishes of the schools are considered.

The AAC has seven bowl-eligible teams, and the conference also has direct tie-ins with seven bowls, but it's not that simple.

Here are the seven AAC bow tie-ins:

Cure Bowl – AAC vs. Sun Belt, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m. Orlando.

Boca Raton Bowl – AAC vs. Conference USA, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., Boca Raton, Fla.

Frisco Bowl – AAC vs. at-large, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 8 p.m., Frisco, Texas.

Gasparilla Bowl – AAC vs. Conference USA, Thursday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m. St. Petersburg, Fla.

Birmingham Bowl – AAC vs. Southeastern Conference, Saturday, Dec. 22, noon, Birmingham, Ala.

Armed Forces Bowl – AAC vs. Big 12, Saturday, Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m., Fort Worth, Texas

Military Bowl – AAC vs. Atlantic Coast Conference, Monday, Dec. 31, noon, Annapolis, Md.

The AAC has secondary partnerships with the Liberty Bowl and the Independence Bowl. These bowls could need teams if the main affiliations can't fill their slots:

Independence Bowl — SEC vs. ACC/Notre Dame, Thursday, Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m., Shreveport, La.

Liberty Bowl — Big 12 vs. SEC, Monday, Dec. 31, 3:45 p.m., Memphis, Tenn.

This doesn't mean that AAC teams can't appear in other bowl games that they aren't affiliated with. Openings occur all the time, and so do deals.

Much of the AAC pecking order and and placement will depend on the winner of its championship game on Saturday between Central Florida and Memphis.

Temple would benefit from UCF winning, because the Knights would earn the Group of Five slot in a New Year's Six bowl game (the top Group of Five team in the final College Football Playoff rankings would earn the spot).

Last year as the top Group of Five school, UCF beat Auburn 34-27 in the Peach Bowl.

There is also incentive for the AAC to match its top teams against Power Five schools because of money allocated to Group of Five schools by the College Football Playoff pool. The better a conference does — not just in bowls, but throughout the entire year — the more money their individual teams earn. The results of the bowl games figure into the rankings.

"We want our top teams matched against [Power Five] conference teams, and clearly Temple is one of our upper teams," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a phone interview on Monday.

Aresco said there are several reasons for wanting to win games against the Power Five schools.

"Those games mean a lot to us in form of prestige," he said. "Those bowls tend to be our higher-tier bowls and they like to see our best teams, and it does have an impact on the merit pool."

Many prognosticators have picked the Military Bowl for Temple, but it remains to be seen whether those predictions matter, as well as the fact that the Owls were in the game only two years ago.

A Military Bowl source on Monday said that "several" AAC teams are still being considered.

Owls notes

Temple's Isaiah Wright was named the AAC special teams player of the week for the second straight week. Wright had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Owls the lead for good in Saturday's 57-7 win at Connecticut.