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Temple: What is this year's must win game?

After having a great 2015 season, the Temple Owls will look to capitalize on last season's success and turn it into an AAC championship.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Temple Owls had a fantastic 2015 season including winning the AAC east division, playing in a bowl game, and a total of 10 game wins. The Owls defeated their in-state rival, the Penn State Nittany Lions to open the season and defeated Cincinnati and Memphis later on.

This season is no different for the Owls as they know that if they want to repeat last season's success, they have to take control of their destiny early on.

Sept. 17 - at Penn State

This game is huge for the Owls as they will be looking to show the country that last season's 27-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field was no fluke. In last season's game, Temple's defense sacked quarterback Christian Hackenberg 10 times, while running back Jahad Thomas ran all over the Nittany Lions' defense to the tune of 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite Temple losing three key members of their defense, it still should be a fantastic game. The last time they played at Beaver Stadium on November 15, 2014, Temple lost 30-13.

Temple should be heading into this game 2-0, so it wouldn't necessarily be a must win, but it would be great to build momentum early on.

Oct. 6 - at Memphis

This matchup has trap game written all over it and I'll tell you why. To begin, this is a Thursday night game and the Owls will be coming off a two-game home stand against Charlotte and SMU. Hypothetically speaking those two games should be wins.

Therefore, the Owls should be coming into this game with a record of 4-1. Last season, the Owls had two weeknight games against East Carolina and SMU, defeating both teams by an average of 15 points.

Despite the Tigers not having Paxton Lynch under center, they still have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball with running back Doroland Dorceus and wide receiver Anthony Mills. Then on defense Memphis has linebackers Shareef White and Genard Avery roaming the sidelines.

The Owls will need to be ready as this is also a division game.

Oct. 21 - vs. South Florida

Finally, this game at Lincoln Financial Field could make or break the Owls chances of winning the eastern division. South Florida is a really strong team led by the backfield combo of quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack.

Last season the Owls got blitzed by the Bulls in Tampa losing 44-23. Temple's defense did not have an answer for the Flowers/Mack combo and they were able to go for 320 rushing yards and three touchdowns in total. The Bulls' defense contained Thomas as he only rushed for 65 yards.

This season's game promises to be exciting as the Bulls only finished one game behind the Owls. Whichever quarterback/running back combo comes to play on Friday night will have their team in the driver's seat to win the AAC East.

Verdict

Just like last season the goal for the Owls should be to win 10 games and capture the AAC East division crown. It will not be easy as South Florida stands in their way and unlike last season, they will be on the road against Memphis and UConn.

If Temple can use their game against Penn State as a launching pad like they did last season, then the sky is the limit for the Owls in 2016.