PHOENIX (WOOD) — It doesn’t matter what the coaches say, it doesn’t matter what the players say, it even doesn’t matter what the betting experts say: The fate of the Fiesta Bowl lies in the hands of a rhino at the Phoenix Zoo.

Chutti, an 8-year-old rhino, was a little camera shy at first, but after some hesitation he confidently picked the Wolverines.

It worked like this: The zookeepers put peanut butter in and scents on two cardboard boxes, one with the Michigan block M and the other with the Texas Christian University logo. The box Chutti interacted with first was declared his projected winner.

A rhino at the Phoenix Zoo used these two boxes to pick a winner of the Fiesta Bowl. (Dec. 30, 2022)
A rhino at the Phoenix Zoo used these two boxes to pick a winner of the Fiesta Bowl. (Dec. 30, 2022)

“I say it’s going to be really accurate,” zookeeper Stevie Merner said. “(Chutti) knows what he wants. He’s a sure man.”

Mener said that if you plan to place bets on the game, “Go with Michigan. Definitely.”

Chutti picked the Michigan box first, then went back to have the TCU box for dessert. He tore TCU’s box to shreds. You can decide for yourself if that’s any indication on how he thinks Saturday’s game with shape out.

“I think this rhino, he seems really special,” Michigan fan Matthew Leightman said. “He seems like he knows what he’s doing.”

“He put the TCU box in the water, so I feel like he’s pretty correct on his prediction,” Mason Hart, another Michigan fan, said.

If you’re a superstitious Michigan fan, this could mean good news — though Chutti is 0-1 for Fiesta Bowl predictions. Last year, he predicted Notre Dame to beat Oklahoma and got it wrong. We’ll see if he redeems himself this year, with the game carrying much higher stakes because the winner will head to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Fiesta Bowl kicks off at 4 p.m. ET Saturday. It airs on ESPN.