Today's Rootability index helps the uninvested fan decide who to pull for in a contest where they have no clear interest. The game: The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl (5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2) features the ACC's North Carolina Tar Heels against the Big 12's Missouri Tigers, who are soon to become the SEC's Missouri Tigers. In other words, it's your last chance to watch Mizzou before they move from Midwestern charming to Southeastern insufferable.
ROOTABILITY FACTORS. Both schools would prefer that you look to their future rather than take a peek at what they're both sweeping under the carpet faster than you can say "I'm not a scumbag."
Inexplicably, Butch Davis entered 2011 still in the employ of the University of North Carolina. He did so in spite of a mountain of violations so high, they'd make any man blush, assuming that man hadn't already run the Miami Hurricanes football program.
Davis would not make it to opening day and in stepped Everett Withers. A 7-5 record might not sound like much, but Withers spun so much gold that it earned him a seat at Lord Urban The First's table in Ohio State. High praise indeed.
Before they put on their new Fedora next year, the Heels will cap the 2011 season the way it inevitably needed to be...in a cloud of wary confusion over an NCAA violation so obviously dumb it's impressive that it was committed in the first place.
Senior WR Dwight Jones got in a bit of trouble for letting his image grace an invitation to a New Year's gala that looked like a lot of fun, at least for the first 24 ladies in the door, all of whom had the chance to receive "up to $500 cash" in giveaways.
That Jones was reinstated a day after being deemed ineligible is the perfect coda on this ridiculous roller coaster that Butch Davis built from blueprints he found in Barry Switzer's desk drawers. The team's leader in receiving yards and TD receptions gets one more chance to raise his Q score in time for a Valentine's Day soiree you won't want to miss, especially if you're one of "the ladies."
Meanwhile, we're already almost five years removed from Gary Pinkel's Wild Ride (the first one) that saw the Tigers come within a whiff of the national title. A Missouri-Kansas game with national implications wasn't something long for this world.
After 17 seasons, Missouri is leaving the green pastures of the Big 12 for the even greener pastures of the SEC, even if that means they won't be the biggest Tiger in the cage anymore. Or even the second-biggest for that matter.
Consider this game in Shreveport, Louisiana a warm-up for what's to come. Not that playing an exhibition game on a Monday afternoon in Northern Louisiana is quite like playing under the lights in Death Valley. Though I suppose it's akin to Starkville.
If you enjoy perseverance, the Tigers are your team. They've overcome a bevy of injuries and a 4-5 start to make it here. Dead in the water at the beginning of November, Mizzou called on their inner SEC to start rattling off impressive wins over Texas and Texas Tech as well as an not-that-impressive-but-nonetheless necessary win over Kansas.
Speaking of perseverance, it's a bit of a miracle that Pinkel himself made it to the game, given his indiscretions. In the wake of his DWI, Missouri froze Pinkel's salary for a year and threatened that if he so much as sneezed in the direction of a Johnny Walker Blue bottle, they're just gonna leave him in Bossier City when this is over.
LEAN: The Tar Heels. It's probably worth your time to root for the Tar Heels since there's a good chance they won't be playing another bowl game anytime soon. Meanwhile, Missouri's move to the SEC guarantees they will play for the national championship by this time next year, so, they don't need your courtesy cheers anymore.