The Mountaineers (10-2) will face the Hurricanes (8-4). WVU, rated 14th nationally, lost to #7 Oklahoma and #13 Oklahoma State, while unranked Miami dropped games to Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. All four of those losses came consecutively in October, meaning that Miami won its first four, lost its next four, then won its final four. The Canes' best win was probably its 51-28 victory over Pitt, which halted the four game losing streak. Three of the four losses came by a total of 11 points.
WVU finished third in the Big 12 conference with a 7-2 league record, while the Hurricanes were second in the Coastal Division of the ACC with a 5-3 league mark. That 5-3 record tied for fourth best in the league with Florida State, North Carolina and Pitt.
WVU is 3-16 all-time against Miami. The Mountaineers defeated the Hurricanes at home in 1993 (17-14, part of its last undefeated regular season), on the road in 1997 (28-17), and on the road in 1973 (20-14). Ranked Hurricane teams, in the height of their college football history, defeated WVU five consecutive times from 1999-2003. The Canes also upste #13 WVU in 1998, and have won the last six meetings between the two schools.
The Russell Athletic Bowl is in its 26th year of existence, having started as the Blockbuster Bowl in Miami in 1990. After stints as the CarQuest Bowl and MicronPC Bowl, it moved to Orlando in 2001, where it ran as the Tangerine Bowl, and then the Champs Sports Bowl before taking on the current Russell Athletics sponsorship.
West Virginia is 0-3 in the bowl, having lost to South Carolina (1995), Georgia Tech (1997) and N.C. State (2010). Miami is 2-2 in the contest, with wins over Virginia and N.C. State, and losses to Wisconsin and Louisville.