For the second postseason in a row, an undefeated UCF team must settle for college football's version of a consolation prize.
This year, it's an all-expense-paid trip to Glendale, Ariz. Thanks again for playing, Knights.
Bypassed for a College Football Playoff berth yet again, the Knights (13-0) will face LSU in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
It marks the second consecutive year in which UCF will play an SEC team on New Year's Day. UCF clinched a 13-0 season (and Colley Matrix national title) with a 34-27 victory against Auburn in last season's Peach Bowl.
A 56-41 winner Saturday against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game, UCF finished eighth in the CFP rankings released Sunday, four spots higher than it did in 2017.
Shortly after topping Memphis, both Knights coach Josh Heupel and athletic director Danny White lobbied for UCF — on a 25-game win streak — to get a playoff spot, but all for naught.
In the end, it couldn't even get the intriguing bowl matchup —against Florida — for which many fans were clamoring. On Sunday, CFP chairman Rob Mullens said geography had much to do with sending UCF to Arizona and Florida to the Peach Bowl (to face Michigan).
"As we looked at those four slots that we were gonna fill, Michigan being ranked No. 7 obviously deserved to stay closest to home, so that's what placed them in Atlanta," Mullens told ESPN. "Obviously UCF had played in Atlanta last year, so that kinda set them in the Fiesta Bowl."