Heart of Dallas Bowl

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Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl logo.jpg
Stadium Cotton Bowl
Location Fair Park
Dallas, Texas
Operated 2011–present
Conference tie-ins Big Ten vs. Big 12 (2013)
Big Ten vs. C-USA (2014)
Payout US$1.2 million
TicketCity (2011–2012)
PlainsCapital Bank (2013)
Zaxby's (2014-present)
Former names
Dallas Football Classic (2011, working title)
TicketCity Bowl (2011–2012)
Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank (2013–Jan 2014)
2014 matchup
North Texas vs. UNLV (36-14)
2014 matchup
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (Louisiana Tech 35–18)

The Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl (formerly the TicketCity Bowl) is an NCAA post-season college football bowl game. The inaugural game was played on New Year's Day (January 1), 2011, at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park in Dallas, Texas.[1] This game physically replaced the Cotton Bowl Classic, which moved from its longtime eponymous home to AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington in 2010. The conferences are scheduled to receive a US $1.2 million payout for the teams' participation.

The bowl's full name is the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. Zaxby's took over as title sponsor after PlainsCapital Bank withdrew; It was announced that Zaxby's will become the primary sponsor for the 2014-15 season.[2]


The game was tentatively called the Dallas Football Classic until TicketCity, an online reseller of sports and entertainment tickets, agreed to be the title game's first title sponsor.[3]

The Northwestern Wildcats of the Big Ten Conference faced the Texas Tech Red Raiders of the Big 12 Conference in the inaugural game.


Main article: Cotton Bowl (stadium)
2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl banner over the Cotton Bowl entrance

The Cotton Bowl stadium opened in 1932. Originally known as the Fair Park Bowl, it is located in Fair Park, site of the State Fair of Texas. Due to the immense crowds that SMU running back Doak Walker drew to the stadium during his college career in the late 1940s, the stadium became known as "The House That Doak Built." The Cotton Bowl Classic called the stadium home from the bowl's inception in 1937 until the 2009 game, after which it moved to what is now AT&T Stadium. The National Football League's Dallas Cowboys called the Cotton Bowl home for 11 years, from the team's formation in 1960 until 1971, when the Cowboys moved to Texas Stadium.


The Heart of Dallas Bowl has tie-ins with the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, and Conference USA.

For its first four playings, the Big 12 and C-USA alternated bids with the Big 12 receiving the bid in odd-numbered years and C-USA in even numbered years while the Big Ten was contracted to send a team to all four games. The 2011 game featured Texas Tech of the Big 12, the 2012 game featured Houston of C-USA, the 2013 game featured Oklahoma State of the Big 12, and the 2014 game featured North Texas of C-USA. The Big Ten sent Northwestern, Penn State, and Purdue for the first three years. The conference could not fulfill its obligation to the bowl in 2014 as it did not have enough bowl eligible teams, so the selection committee chose an at-large team, UNLV from the Mountain West Conference, to take their place.

Beginning with the 2015 playing, the arrangement will be modified so that a C-USA team plays in all four bowls and the Big Ten and Big 12 alternate.

After having been played on New Year's Day since its inception, the Heart of Dallas Bowl is moving to a late December date beginning with the 2014 season.

Season Tie-ins Notes
2010 Big Ten Big 12
2011 C-USA
2012 Big 12
2013 C-USA

Game results[edit]

Date played Winning team Losing team Attendance Notes
January 1, 2011 Texas Tech 45 Northwestern 38 40,121 notes
January 2, 2012 Houston 30 Penn State 14 46,817 notes
January 1, 2013 Oklahoma State 58 Purdue 14 48,313 notes
January 1, 2014 North Texas 36 UNLV 14 38,380 notes
December 26, 2014 Louisiana Tech 35 Illinois 18 31,297 notes


Year MVP Team Position
2011 Taylor Potts Texas Tech QB
2012 Case Keenum Houston QB
2013 Clint Chelf Oklahoma State QB
2014 (Jan.) Derek Thompson North Texas QB
2014 (Dec.) Houston Bates Louisiana Tech LB

Appearances by Team[edit]

Rank Team Appearances Record
T1 Houston 1 1–0
T1 Louisiana Tech 1 1–0
T1 North Texas 1 1–0
T1 Oklahoma State 1 1–0
T1 Texas Tech 1 1–0
T1 Illinois 1 0–1
T1 Northwestern 1 0–1
T1 Penn State 1 0–1
T1 Purdue 1 0–1
T1 UNLV 1 0–1

Wins by conference[edit]

Conference Wins Losses Pct.
C-USA 3 0 1.000
Big 12 2 0 1.000
MWC 0 1 .000
Big Ten 0 4 0.000


ESPNU has had coverage of the first two games.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]