Bowl Destination Becoming Clearer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina's potential bowl destination is now down to just two options -- the Independence Bowl and the Military Bowl – following Miami's decision on Sunday to not participate in a postseason bowl game in light of its NCAA investigation.

Miami released a statement detailing the news and indicating that both the NCAA and the ACC had been informed of the decision. Players were told on Sunday morning after beating South Florida on Saturday to qualify for a postseason appearance.

Miami's removal from bowl consideration further narrows UNC's options. With Wake Forest's victory over Maryland on Saturday, the ACC now has seven teams that are bowl eligible. N.C. State can become the eighth ACC team on that list with a win over Maryland next Saturday.

Due to the ACC's "one-win" rule, which states that the bowl next up in the order of selection must pick a team within one win of the team possessing the best available conference record, there are six ACC teams that are required to be chosen before UNC (currently 2-5 ACC) – Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Virginia. Therefore, the Tar Heels are automatically out of the running for the Orange, Chick-fil-A, Champs Sports, Hyundai Sun, Belk and Music City bowls.

That leaves the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. on Dec. 26 against the Mountain West Conference's No. 3 team (currently Wyoming) and the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 28 against a Conference USA opponent. Navy was slated for a spot in the Military Bowl against an ACC school but failed to qualify this season.

North Carolina's bowl fate will largely rest in the hands of rival N.C. State. If the Wolfpack loses to Maryland next weekend, UNC will play in the Independence Bowl as the ACC's No. 7 team.

If NCSU beats the Terrapins, then the Tar Heels' game against Duke will factor into the equation. If UNC loses on Saturday and N.C. State wins, then the Tar Heels will play in the Military Bowl due to the "one-win" rule. If UNC and N.C. State both win, then Wake Forest becomes a factor.

While North Carolina cannot be chosen above the Demon Deacons due to the "one-win" rule, N.C. State could be given its 4-4 conference record. In that scenario, Wake Forest could fall to the Independence Bowl due to its small traveling base and UNC would be relegated to the Military Bowl. If the top-six bowl committees select the top-six ACC teams, then the Independence Bowl would choose between UNC and N.C. State and the other team would fall to the Military Bowl.

Bowl Dates and Times

Dec. 26 -- Advocare V100 Independence Bowl Shreveport, La., ESPN2, 5:00 pm

Dec. 28 -- Military Bowl, Washington, D.C., ESPN, 4:30 pm

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