Mack Brown's return to the North Carolina Tar Heels started with back-to-back wins, but the ACC side struggled after that and finished 6-6.
UNC needed a win in its regular-season finale to become bowl-eligible, and the 41-10 victory over NC State landed the Tar Heels a spot in the Military Bowl alongside the Temple Owls.
Temple won three of its last four games to earn an 8-4 record under first-year head coach Rod Carey.
The Owls are 1-3 in their previous four bowl appearances, with two of those losses coming to ACC schools.
North Carolina has experienced similar shortcomings, as it has a single bowl win in its last five appearances, the last of which came in 2016.
Military Bowl Information
Date: Friday, December 27
Start Time: Noon ET
Odds (via Caesars): North Carolina -5; Over/Under: 53.5
Neither defense boasts impressive numbers, but they are in some of their best form heading into the Military Bowl.
Temple allows 23.5 points per game, but it held its last four opponents to a combined 60 points, including 15 to the Cincinnati Bearcats in a two-point loss November 23.
The Owls' front seven is one of the best in the Group of Five, as four defensive linemen have four or more sacks and three linebackers earned over 60 tackles.
Quincy Roche, who leads Temple with 13 sacks, could be the main difference-maker in Annapolis, Maryland, after he produced 10 sacks and a forced fumble in November.
North Carolina's offensive line has been susceptible to pressure. Freshman quarterback Sam Howell has been brought down 36 times, with eight coming in two of the last three outings.
If Roche and the other pass-rushers thrive Friday, it could prevent damage being done to a Temple passing defense that concedes 212.5 yards per game.
The combination of a strong interior push and linebackers not allowing extra yards could keep the Tar Heels' possessions to a minimum.
If that occurs, the Owls would take away the impact of 947-yard receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, who have 19 of UNC's 35 touchdown catches.
In the loss to Cincinnati, Temple followed this formula by holding the Bearcats to 62 passing yards, but they were gashed for 142 on the ground.
This is where North Carolina may find the bulk of its production through Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, who both have over 150 carries and 840 rushing yards.
If Howell struggles to develop a rhythm, the Tar Heels could force the issue versus an opposing rushing defense that allows 152.3 yards per game.
However, there could be concerns about the ACC's side ability to pull away and cover the spread since half of its six wins were by four points or fewer.
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo should play a role in keeping the game tight, as he is coming off three straight 200-yard outings with a completion percentage above 55.
As long as the junior avoids interceptions, he should push the ball down the field and counter what Howell stirs up. Russo has been picked off in four of the last five contests.
Russo also has a pair of standout wide receivers to work with in Jadan Blue and Branden Mack, while running backs Re'Mahn Davis and Jager Gardner combined for 1,485 rushing yards.
Since this matchup appears to be even, a tight margin is expected, which trends in Temple's direction for a spread bet.
Each of the last six Military Bowls have gone over 50 points, so between that trend and the weapons on each offense, the total of 53.5 points should go over.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.