Christmas might be over, but the bowl games are just kicking into gear. The bowls resume today with a matchup of two teams in transition in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. The SEC-bound Missouri Tigers play their last game as a member of the Big 12 Conference against the ACC's North Carolina Tar Heels, which will welcome a new coach after this game.
It has been a strange season of conference wrangling for Missouri, as it had been rumored that the Tigers would be leaving the Big 12. On November 6, the Tigers' move to the SEC for the 2012 season became official. Coincidentally (or not?), Missouri did not receive an invitation to one of the bowls with a Big 12 tie-in. Instead, Missouri heads to Shreveport to play in its school-record seventh consecutive bowl game.
Meanwhile, North Carolina is also a team in transition. The Independence Bowl will be the final game at North Carolina for interim head coach Everett Withers, under whom the Tar Heels went 7-5 following the firing of Butch Davis. Ex-Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora will take over as UNC coach after today's game while Withers is reportedly headed to Ohio State to join new coach Urban Meyer's staff.
This is your Independence Bowl open thread. Talk about all the action right here. Heck, talk about AdvoCare V100 and beautiful Shreveport, too, if you want.
Missouri Tigers (7-5 overall, 5-4 Big 12) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5 overall, 3-5 ACC)
Players to watch:
- Missouri QB James Franklin: The sophomore completed 63.2% of his passes, throwing for 2,733 yards and 20 TDs. Franklin also scored 13 rushing TDs and is Missouri's second-leading rusher with 839 yards.
- Missouri RB Henry Josey: Unfortunately, we may not get to watch Josey, as he missed the last two regular season games with a knee injury. Before he went down, though, Josey rushed for 1,168 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per carry for the Tigers.
- North Carolina QB Bryn Renner: The sophomore completed 68.8% of his throws on his way to a 2,769-yard season. Renner threw for 23 TDs.
- North Carolina WR Dwight Jones: Jones, a senior, caught 79 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 TDs this season.
- North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard: Bernard set a UNC freshman record with 1,222 rushing yards and 12 TDs.
Enjoy the game.
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