By Mike DeNardo

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A caravan of five buses carrying the Temple University football team left campus Thursday afternoon, headed for Tuesday’s Military Bowl in Annapolis, MD.

As the pep band played and cheerleaders yelled, the D.C. bound buses pulled away just after noon, with the American Athletic Conference Champion Temple Owls on board.

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Senior cheerleader Gia Ervin said Temple football has gone from also-rans to champs.

“The growth, it’s just nice to see how they’ve built every year. And this is like, the top.”

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Of course, head coach Matt Rhule left for Baylor right after the conference title game. Interim head coach Ed Foley remembers Temple’s 2009 trip to a frigid EagleBank Bowl, as it was called then.

“We must have had 15 or 20,000 people down there on that day,” Foley said. “And this day’s going to be gorgeous, and I can’t want to see our fans down there and I expect them to come out in droves.”

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Foley said there will be some free time, but he’s setting up the next few days as a business trip with one goal: beat Wake Forest.