It took a little while for things to settle, but the Temple Owls finally know where their 2017 season will come to an end.
Temple will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to square off against the FIU Panthers on Dec. 21 in the Gasparilla Bowl at Tropicana Field.
The announcement came late in the afternoon after many reports that the Owls would play Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic Owls in the Boca Raton Bowl. Both Florida bowls have an affiliation with the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA teams.
Sources: FIU vs. Temple in Gasparilla Bowl; Owls were projected for Boca Raton but moved to St. Pete— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 3, 2017
It was a rough start for first-year head coach Geoff Collins, but a change at quarterback was the spark in the second half of the season to get the Owls to 6-6 and back into postseason play. With Frank Nutile under center, Temple won three of their final four games, two of which were on the road, to qualify for a bowl game.
Temple became bowl eligible with a 43-22 win over Tulsa in their final game of the regular season. This is the third consecutive season in which the Owls have gone bowling, having lost at the Boca Raton and Military Bowls the last two seasons.
Florida International is bowling in Butch Davis first season as head coach since leaving North Carolina in 2010. The Panthers (8-4) are one win away from breaking a school record for most wins in a season and can accomplish that in their second appearance in the Gasparilla Bowl. The Gasparilla Bowl was previously known as the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl, which the Panthers played in 2011.
This will be the first meeting between the two programs, but there is some familiarity between them. Collins was the FIU defensive coordinator for the 2010 season before moving to Mississippi State and Florida for the same position.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN.