The Cotton Bowl hosts a New Year's Day bowl game, and it's not, well, the Cotton Bowl. UNLV and North Texas play at the historic site in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, with television coverage starting at noon ET on ESPNU.
This is the first bowl game for North Texas since 2004, and the first for UNLV since 2000. The Mean Green started the year 2-3 with a key win over Ball State (and losses to Ohio, Georgia and Tulane), before winning five in a row, including a victory over Rice. A loss to UTSA knocked them out of contention for the conference crown, but it's hard not to consider it a successful season for North Texas.
UNLV began the year with losses to Minnesota and Arizona before winning its next four games against easy competition. The Rebels lost three of their next four games, only defeating Nevada, putting their bowl hopes in jeopardy. UNLV ended the season with wins against Air Force and San Diego State, punching its bowl ticket and earning Bobby Hauck an extension.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. The Rebels went 7-5, finishing third in the MWC West with a 5-3 conference record. The Mean Green sport an 8-4 record, with a 6-2 conference record good for a second-place tie in the C-USA West. UNLV has won all four games in the all-time series between the two schools.
Vegas: North Texas is a 6.5-point favorite. The over/under is 54.5 points.
Weather: Mid 50s.
Three names to know
Brandin Byrd. The North Texas running back topped 1,000 yards on the regular season and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Brelan Chancellor. An explosive playmaker for the Mean Green, Chancellor also has great hands and is averaging nearly 150 yards of all-purpose offense per game.
Devante Davis. This game will actually sport two of the top wide receivers in the non-power conferences, as UNLV's Davis caught 77 passes for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season.
Two things at stake
UNLV is 3-0 all-time in bowl games, with one appearance in each of the last three decades.
North Texas is on the right track, and a win here in its home state would be tremendous positive momentum for next season.
How to witness
TV: noon ET on ESPNU
Radio: ESPN 1100 for UNLV. For North Texas, try KHYI 95.3 FM and KNTU 88.1 FM.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Location: Fair Park, Dallas, Texas
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Oklahoma State 58, Purdue 14
Last year's attendance: 48,313
Last year's TV rating: 0.5
Last year's payout for each school: $1.2 million
Team with the most all-time appearances: Six teams tied with one
Team with the most all-time wins: Three teams tied with one
Head to Mountain West Connection for coverage of UNLV's conference.