North Carolina and West Virginia are set to face off Wednesday evening in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. This will be the third meeting all-time between the two teams, with all three occurring in the postseason. Despite sharing the Southern Conference from 1950-53, UNC and WVU had never played one another until the 1997 Gator Bowl. 

They later had a rematch in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl, which is now known as the Duke's Mayo Bowl. West Virginia evened the all-time series at 1-1 with a narrow 31-30 victory. 

The Mountaineers are coming off their best season yet under fifth-year coach Neal Brown, who entered 2023 on the hot seat after a 5-7 record a year ago. At 8-4, West Virginia posted its best regular season since 2018 and won four of its last five games to build considerable momentum entering bowl season. 

North Carolina's season followed an opposite trajectory, though one similar to its path in 2022. The Tar Heels started hot with a 6-0 record, led by star quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Drake Maye, but a loss to Virginia on Oct. 21 caused the year to spiral. North Carolina went 2-4 over its last six games and lost its last two games by an average of 15 points. 

How to watch Duke's Mayo Bowl live

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 27 | Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium -- Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
For a limited time, new subscribers can save $20 on Fubo's Pro, Elite and Premier plans.

North Carolina vs. West Virginia: Need to know

Conner Harrell gets his shot: North Carolina will be without quarterback Drake Maye, who opted out of the Duke's Mayo Bowl in preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft. That means Tar Heels fans will get a good look at redshirt freshman Conner Harrell, who has played sparingly this season as Maye's backup. The former three-star prospect attempted just six passes while appearing in four games and logged 71 yards passing and one touchdown. While Harrell might not be the quarterback of the future in Chapel Hill, as the Tar Heels are bringing in Texas A&M QB transfer Max Johnson for the 2024 season, he does have a great opportunity to make an impression and at least give the coaching staff something to think about moving forward. 

WVU dealing with key injuries: West Virginia will be without two of its most important players on offense as both starting center Zach Frazier and leading rusher CJ Donaldson will not play due to injury. The good news for the Mountaineers is that they have freshman running back Jahiem White, who came on strong to end the regular season, to handle the load with Donaldson out. White rushed for at least 100 yards in three out of West Virginia's last four games and came just seven yards short of surpassing Donaldson as the team's leading rusher. He also averaged more than eight yards per carry in that same span of games. 

Hampton could feast: With North Carolina breaking in basically a brand new quarterback and playing without top receiver Devontez Walker, star running back Omarion Hampton could be in for quite the workload. He had at least 15 carries in all but two of UNC's games this season, including six games with at least 20 total touches, and finished the year with 1,442 yards and 15 touchdowns. Now he gets to go against a West Virginia defense that finished dead last in the Big 12 allowing 234.3 yards per game. North Carolina should lean on him early and often. 

Duke's Mayo Bowl prediction, picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus

North Carolina will be without Maye, Walker, its best defender and leading tackler Cedric Gray and starting center Corey Gaynor, all of whom opted out. Top tight end Bryson Nesbit and key secondary player Alijah Huzzie will miss the game due to injury. In total, North Carolina will be down at least seven starters. The Tar Heels probably aren't going to win this game, but they can keep it close. Hampton should have a big day against WVU's susceptible run defense. That's a recipe for a fairly close game. Take WVU to win, but North Carolina should cover a touchdown-plus spread. Pick: North Carolina +6.5

Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.