The Heart of Dallas Bowl began three years ago as the TicketCity Bowl with a limited budget and shaky finances. After the Jan. 1, 2012 game, the bowl failed to make its payout to the University of Houston, and Conference USA assumed ownership of the game.
But give the bowl credit for this. It's had some decent matchups.
A Big 12/Big Ten matchup in Year 1: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern.
Penn State, amid the scandal of Joe Paterno's removal, in Year 2: Nittanys vs. Houston.
Another Big 12/Big Ten matchup in Year 3: OSU vs. Purdue.
But the bowl's luck has run out. Its tie-in with the Big 12 was not in effect this year, and the bowl wouldn't have received a Big 12 team anyway. The Big Ten didn't qualify enough teams for the post-season, either.
So the Heart of Dallas Bowl has to settle for North Texas vs. Nevada-Las Vegas in the massive Cotton Bowl stadium, with a New Year's morning kickoff on ESPNU.
Welcome to reality, Heart of Dallas Bowl. But maybe the bowl can take heart. It's the best bet for a January upset. North Texas is a 6 1/2-point favorite, but the Rebels are the better team. UNLV in its regular-season finale routed San Diego State 45-19.
Let's go with Nevada-Las Vegas in the upset.