Wyoming and Temple will kick off the bowl season Dec. 17 in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.

The Cowboys (8-4) of the Mountain West Conference make their second postseason trip to Albuquerque in three years. They won the 2009 New Mexico Bowl in double overtime, beating Fresno State 35-28.

"Two years ago, we had a great experience at the New Mexico Bowl," Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said. "We are honored to receive this invitation. Our team has worked extremely hard this season, and this is a great reward for our players, coaches and fans.

For Temple (8-4), it's also the second bowl game in three years, but that 2009 game — a 30-21 loss to UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington — was the Owls' first bowl in 30 years.

"We wanted some place different (than D.C.), it's pretty good that we get to show our talents someplace else," said Owls defensive end Adrian Robinson.

The Mid-American Conference East runners-up were glad to get a call from the New Mexico Bowl because last year, Temple stayed home despite an 8-4 record. The Owls, then coached by Al Golden, now at Miami, were the only bowl-eligible team with more than six wins that didn't go to one.

"Last year, obviously, it was a really tough time, because you think that you're definitely getting a bowl game," Temple offensive lineman John Palumbo said. "So I think this year we were a little more skeptical, and (hearing it) was definitely a sigh of relief."

Wyoming finished third in the Mountain West behind No. 16 TCU and No. 8 Boise State. The Cowboys beat Colorado State 22-19 on Saturday for their eighth win. Earlier this season, Wyoming beat MAC member Bowling Green 28-27; Temple lost to Bowling Green 13-10.

"They played Bowling Green, so I got a chance to take a little sneak peak at that," said Steve Addazio, who succeeded Golden as Temple's coach. "They're a wide-open team, they're a quality team, an exciting team, and I think it'll be a heck of a football game."

Addazio, who was an assistant on Urban Meyer's two national championship teams at Florida that closed out bowl seasons, can't wait to get to Albuquerque and get started on this one.

"I think it's awful cool to kick the bowl season off. People are excited to see the first games, it's on national TV. We're getting a chance to go out to a whole new bowl venue, play a great Wyoming team, so I'm really thrilled to death."