Last Impression

A year later, an 8-4 record was good enough. A year later, it was Western Kentucky — looking for the first bowl bid in program history with a 7-5 record, 7-1 mark in the Sun Belt and a loss to LSU its only blemish in its last eight games — that got snubbed. A year later, Temple held the bowl selection celebration it was hoping for in 2010.

A year later, an 8-4 record was good enough.

A year later, it was Western Kentucky — looking for the first bowl bid in program history with a 7-5 record, 7-1 mark in the Sun Belt and a loss to LSU its only blemish in its last eight games — that got snubbed.

A year later, Temple held the bowl selection celebration it was hoping for in 2010, while Western Kentucky and 6-6 Ball State were the only teams left out of the bowl season.

Owls coach Steve Addazio talked confidently in recent weeks that an 8-4 record would certainly be enough to put Temple in a bowl — it achieved the mark and is going to New Mexico to take on Wyoming.

There was still certainly some hand-wringing by anyone who lived that brutal Sunday in 2010 when a team with eight wins and victories over the Big East Conference champ (Connecticut), FCS semifinalist (Villanova) and bowl-bound Army was left home.

But this year, the games involving bubble teams the Saturday before the Selection Show went the Owls' way where last year there were multiple teams securing bids at the last minute.

This year, Temple finished with a three-game winning streak and moved itself clearly into position as the No. 4 team in the Mid-American Conference — last year it finished with a two-game losing streak and a conference resume no better than fifth in the MAC.

"They never remember September, they sometimes remember October, they always remember November," said first-year Temple coach Steve Addazio. "We played well in November, had some incredibly great games. The MAC is very, very strong.

"We have some marquee players and we're an exciting team. There's a tremendous buzz around Philadelphia and around Temple right now. People want to see us play and that's evident."

Senior linebacker Tahir Whitehead agreed finishing strong eased his concerns. When the Owls were 8-2 a year ago, it seemed there was no way they could miss the postseason — but hesitation developed when they closed the regular season with nationally-televised losses to Ohio and Miami (Ohio).

"We got that eighth win this year (in the finale against Kent State), we were confident we were going somewhere," said senior linebacker Tahir Whitehead. "Obviously we finished the season strong and that put us in a good predicament to go to a bowl game."

Senior defensive end Morkeith Brown didn't lament being snubbed in 2010. He felt the Owls didn't do enough to take care of business.

"We didn't get a chance to go last year, getting to go this year and the emotions after last year are really built up right now," he said. "I'm just ready to play a bowl game, because I didn't get a chance last year.

"We didn't do what we were supposed to do last year to get to a bowl game and now we're locked in and ready."

But senior center John Palumbo admitted he was a little restless until receiving the final word on Sunday.

"Last year, obviously was a really tough time," said Palumbo. "You have eight wins and take that for granted you're definitely going to get a bowl game.

"I think we were a little more skeptical this year, so hearing from (athletic director Bill) Bradshaw was definitely a sigh of relief."

While breathing his sigh of relief, he could certainly sympathize with the sighs of a different nature coming from Bowling Green, Ky.

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