Central Florida's bid for a second straight self-proclaimed national championship goes through the desert.
Snubbed by the College Football Playoff for the second straight season, the seventh-ranked and undefeated Knights will face No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.
UCF (12-0) also went undefeated last season and proclaimed itself the national champion while the official title went to playoff champion Alabama.
The Knights closed out another undefeated regular season and stretched their unbeaten streak to 25 games with a 56-41 win over Memphis in Saturday's American Athletic Conference title game. The CFP selection committee tabbed Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma for this year's playoff, slotting UCF eighth in Sunday's final rankings.
LSU (9-3) appeared to be in the CFP playoff hunt until losing to No. 22 Florida in early October. The Tigers knocked off then-No. 2 Georgia, but were blown out by top-ranked Alabama and lost a wild seven-overtime game to No. 21 Texas A&M to close out the regular season.
UCF's streak includes a Peach Bowl win over another SEC school, Auburn, last season.