Missouri, UNC meet in Independence Bowl

December 25, 2011 - 1:12 PM
Independence Bowl Football

North Carolina coach Everett Withers speaks during an NCAA college football news conference for the Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La., on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Val Horvath Davidson) NO SALES MAGS OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT: SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Big changes are coming for the football programs at Missouri and North Carolina. Before they happen, there's one more football game to play.

The Tigers and Tar Heels meet on Monday in the Independence Bowl, and both teams have become quite experienced at juggling questions about their long-term future with the upcoming matchup. Players and coaches are adamant the focus will be squarely on the field.

Not that there aren't reasons to be distracted. North Carolina is in the midst of a coaching change, while Missouri is preparing for its move to the Southeastern Conference after an acrimonious exit from the Big 12. Both teams enter the game with 7-5 records.

Missouri takes a three-game winning streak into the game, while North Carolina has lost four of six.