How surprised was North Carolina to find out they were going to the Independence Bowl? They had to cancel a teleconference to discuss it, because it would have tipped off everybody to how the BCS selection was going to go down.
You see, the ACC's bowl selection rules coupled with UNC's 3-5 conference record meant the Heels had to be selected after every other bowl eligible team in the conference (save Miami, who had already opted out of the postseason to appease the NCAA). This meant they were destined for the Military Bowl in DC, unless the BCS went and did something stupid like select Virginia Tech as an at-large team.
I should learn never to underestimate the level of stupidity the BCS can reach. The Hokies, overrated at 11th in the BCS rankings, were selected over Boise State and Kansas State – not to mention two SEC teams that were ranked higher but ineligible – for the Sugar Bowl against even lower-ranked Michigan. This in turn bumps everyone up one sport on the ACC bowl list, and send Carolina instead to... Shreveport, Louisiana. And I was actually going to be snag tickets to the game in DC.
Anyway, the Independence Bowl. Or to be more accurate, the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, the sponsor being a multivitamin that, it tells you seven times in an ad, has not been evaluated by the FDA. The game will be Monday, December 26th, and the opponent is Missouri, a 7-5 team riding a three-game winning streak. In fact, the Tigers have a very impressive resume. Three of their five losses came against BCS ranked teams Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State, and the other two were an epic 42-39 shootout against Baylor and an early-season overtime loss to Arizona State. They also have the best rushing offense in the Big 12, led by sophomore Henry Josey.
Also, their coach is on probation for the next two years for drunk driving. So the Heels could bring back Butch Davis and not have him be the most embarrassing coach on the sidelines.
The Independence bowl actually has a tie-in with the Mountain West conference, not Missouri's Big 12. But the team the Independence would have selected, Air Force, instead worked out a deal to play... the Military Bowl, as neither Army nor Navy qualified for a bowl. Carolina and Air Force, just two ships passing in the night. The Falcons will play Toledo in DC, so the Tar Heels definitely got the better opponent out of the machinations.
So as disastrous as the entire college football postseason is, I'm excited about this game. It should be good. It's just in a place I won't be traveling to, and the title sponsor is a bit embarassing.