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CFT Previews: Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl


WHO: Utah (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5)
WHAT: The seventh Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Cotton Bowl in Dallas
THE SKINNY: The postseason game at the Cotton Bowl stadium that isn’t the Cotton Bowl game is the second all-time meeting between the Utes and Mountaineers. The first was the 1964 Liberty Bowl, which was played then in Atlantic City, N.J.

As for this game, Will Grier and running back Justin Crawford will not play. Still, the Mountaineers will have an array of wide receivers that includes 1,000-yard receiver Gary Jennings, 975-yard receiver Ka'Raun White and the nation’s leading touchdown-maker in David Sills.

Utah booked its 6-6 record while going 4-0 against non-bowl teams and 2-6 against bowl-bound opponents. Utah significantly out-ranked West Virginia defensively — 42nd in scoring to WVU’s 92nd — but allowed 30.3 points a game to teams with winning records.

While you can look into the past to draw conclusions for the future, so much of this game will be impossible to predict: Who will come out motivated to play in an afternoon game before a mostly-empty stadium on the day after Christmas?

THE PICK: West Virginia 35, Utah 24