North Carolina was all but set to head north to Washington, D.C., for the Military Bowl.
But a Bowl Championship Series shake-up that saw Virginia Tech grab an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl rejiggered the ACC bowl order.
So instead, the Tar Heels football team will head south to Shreveport, La., to face Missouri in the Independence Bowl the day after Christmas.
Interim coach Everett Withers said Monday that while North Carolina had plans for the Military Bowl, he also made a contingency plan for Shreveport and feels no disappointment in the Tar Heels' destination.
"I'm excited to be playing in the postseason," Withers said. "There are a lot of teams that aren't. I'm excited to have a chance to continue to practice and get better, and to go play for a bowl ring and a bowl championship."
North Carolina will play a Missouri team that went 7-5, and 5-4 in the Big 12. The Tigers will make their seventh consecutive bowl appearance, playing in the Independence Bowl for the third time since 2003.
North Carolina (7-5) is making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance and is one win away from its fourth straight eight-win season. Repeating the past seasons' success is something the Tar Heels have their eye on.
"We definitely had some ups and downs and went through a lot of things that most teams didn't have to go through," quarterback Bryn Renner said, alluding to the NCAA investigation of the program and the firing of coach Butch Davis on the eve of preseason practice.
"The last three years we were 8-5, so it's huge for us as a team just to reach 8-5 again, and that's our goal."
To pick up that eighth win, North Carolina will have to battle potential distractions as the coaching search begins to heat up.
Withers said he officially interviewed for the full-time job last week.
"Yesterday was 130 days since I took this job, and I haven't let it be a distraction for 130 days, now 131," he said. "I plan on coaching the bowl game, but football coaches are day-to-day."
Renner said he doesn't expect it to cause too large a distraction, citing how well Withers has managed the issue. The coaching search might not be the only distraction present for the Tar Heels.
Withers said Shreveport is a bowl destination that is sure to provide a fun atmosphere. According to the Shreveport-Bossier City Convention and Tourist Bureau's website, it's an atmosphere that includes boardwalk shopping and casinos along the Red River.
"It's a fun town with a lot of things to do - adult things to do," Withers said. "We'll have to be careful, but we'll have fun. We'll make sure it's a fun time for our kids."