Florida will play in the Birmingham Bowl to begin the Jim McElwain era, even if he won't be leading the team.

The Gators will face East Carolina in the Jan. 3 game at Legion Field. Defensive coordinator and interim coach D.J. Durkin will coach Florida in the game.

McElwain plans to be at the game and will attend bowl practices to evaluate players.

East Carolina and Florida, which could have an entirely new staff, will play next season on Sept. 12.

McElwain was introduced as the Gators coach on Saturday after leading Colorado State to a 10-2 record.

East Carolina is 8-4 after losing to UCF on a desperation pass in the regular season finale.

The Pirates had rallied from a 26-9 deficit in the fourth quarter.