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Can Surprising Temple Win The AAC?

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The Owls are off to a better start than anyone foresaw. So now what can we expect from the Owls?

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

It's fair to say that prior to this season, the expectations for Temple weren't exactly high. Look where we had them ranked in our American Athletic Conference power rankings to start the year. After roughing up Vanderbilt, hanging tough with Navy, and picking up another two wins against Delaware State and UConn, it's time to adjust expectations for the Owls.

Can they win the American?

This is quite the leap for them to make in one season. Last year they were a team that showed flashes of offensive explosiveness, but lacked the ability to close. They've improved on that this year, by actually beating their FCS opponent and smoking UConn and Vanderbilt.

But, winning the conference might still be out of the question for the Owls. In the American's hierarchy, ECU is probably in a tier by themselves. Taking down Virginia Tech, a ranked Power-Five opponent, on the road, has earned them serious credibility within the conference. Following that victory by hanging 70 in a win over North Carolina cemented it. While anything is possible, it's tough to see Temple leapfrogging them this season.

The rest of the American is fair game, however. There's nothing that I've seen in any of their opponents that suggests that Temple can't take them down. This isn't to say that the rest of the American is doomed to be stomped by the Owls, but simply that ECU is on their own plane right now. So, despite Temple looking much better than most anyone outside their locker room could have expected, I still don't think they are going to win the conference--yet. Football is still pretty weird, so you never know.

So a bowl bid is on the table?

Of course.

Then again, this is the same school that went 8-4 and didn't get a bowl invite. Their resume that season (2010) included a two-score victory over Big East champion and Fiesta Bowl participant, UConn. So, it's reasonable that Temple fans keep their guard up whenever bowl bids come into question.

There are six automatic Bowl tie-ins for the American this season: Birmingham, Bitcoin, Miami Beach, Military, Armed Forces, and Bahamas. Given their fast start, it's hard to imagine Temple falling into the bottom half of the American's standings. And, given the way most of the American is playing this year, it's hard to imagine them trotting out more than six bowl eligible teams.

Where do you see them headed?

I think this team is fully capable of finishing in the top three of the American. Finishing below .500 after this start can qualify it as a disappointment for Owl fans. If they do finish where I expect, whatever bowl game they end up in is anyone's guess. Personally, I'm rooting for the Bahamas Bowl. Maybe then I could sweet-talk my way into SB Nation chipping in to send me down there to cover it. Nice dream, right?