UCF clinches BCS bowl bid thanks to Louisville win, but where's it going?

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Knights will play in a BCS bowl game for the first time ever, and they're the first team to lock up a spot this year.

Thanks to Louisville's 31-24 Thursday night win over Cincinnati, the 10-1, No. 16 UCF Knights clinched the first trip to a BCS bowl in school history. Depending on how the rest of the BCS landscape shakes out, UCF could be looking at an appearance in either the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

The result of Northern Illinois' MAC Championship Game against Bowling Green will likely determine UCF's final BCS destination. The Huskies would clinch their own BCS bid with a win, meaning a likely Sugar Bowl trip for the more attractive Knights. An NIU loss would likely send UCF to the Fiesta Bowl.

An Alabama-UCF Sugar Bowl is possible.

If it's the Sugar in New Orleans, UCF will almost certainly be matched up against an SEC team. Should the winner of Saturday's SEC Championship Game between Auburn and Missouri advance to the BCS title game, either via jumping an undefeated Ohio State or a Buckeyes loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, it's possible that Alabama could be picked as a replacement. If Ohio State and Florida State play for the national championship, the SEC's winner will meet the Knights.

But if UCF ends up in the Fiesta Bowl, it will have a date with the Big 12 champ. The conference title will be decided this weekend when Oklahoma State plays Oklahoma and Baylor meets Texas. If the Cowboys win, they'll advance to Glendale, Ariz., and if they lose, the Bears-Longhorns winner will take the Fiesta bid.

Our current bowl projections have the Knights playing Missouri in the Sugar Bowl, which would actually be a rematch of a 2012 regular-season game won by the Tigers.

The Knights entered the season unranked and picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference, behind heavy favorite Louisville, plus Cincinnati and Rutgers. They first made waves by taking down the juggernaut Cardinals, 38-35, on Oct. 28, and while UCF didn't play the Bearcats in 2013, it blew out the Scarlet Knights, 41-17, on Nov. 21. The Knights' only loss came at the hands of South Carolina, 28-25, a game that UCF led 10-0 at halftime. That blemish is nothing to be ashamed of, considering the Gamecocks are No. 8 in the latest BCS standings.

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