North Carolina Tar Heels: Ranking ALL the Bowl Games

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Apr 19, 2014; Columbia, MO, USA; A Missouri Tigers football helmet is seen on the field during the Black & Gold Game at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

29. 2011 Independence Bowl

This was easily the most disappointing bowl game that I was personally at. There were not many fans who made the trek out to Shreveport, Louisiana, but I was there. The weather was ugly, but somehow let up right before gametime.

The 7-5 Heels were in the interim season of Everett Withers, who had put into that position with the firing of Butch Davis over NCAA issues at the beginning of the year. Withers piloted the team to an okay season despite still having a defense loaded with Davis recruits. Two of the losses were to top ten Clemson and Virginia Tech.

The Tar Heels lucked out by getting Missouri as an opponent rather than some fill-in school. That gave the game some more meaning. The Tar Heels scored first when Bryn Renner threw a bomb to Dwight Jones.

That was as good as it got. Missouri quarterback James Franklin proceeded to tear the North Carolina defense apart with his arm but also his legs. The Tar Heels frankly looked lost on defense. For someone who watched the whole thing, it seemed inexplicable.

Later we found out why. Withers had found out the team was not retaining him as head coach and instead had offered the job to Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. So Withers did not put much effort in bowl preparation and it showed.

As the Tigers fans could sense victory they began to chant “SEC” as Missouri was moving to that conference the next year.

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