With no national championship on the line, this game isn't for all the Tostitos, but with a huge payout and BCS prestige, it's definitely worth at least a few Tostitos.
Date and time: Jan. 1, 2014, 8:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Glendale, Ariz.
Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium (78,600)
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Oregon 35, Kansas State 17
Last year's attendance: 70,242
Last year's TV rating: 7.4
Last year's payout for each school: $17 million
Team with the most all-time appearances: Penn State, Arizona State, Ohio State, Nebraska (6)
Team with the most all-time wins: Penn State (6)
Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)
Through mid-November, Baylor looked absolutely unbeatable, repeatedly putting up at least 70 points in dominating wins over their first nine opponents. Their first seven contests came against unranked opponents, with Buffalo and Kansas State the only squads who finished the regular season with winning records. On a Thursday night game in early November, the Beras faced a top-ten opponent in Oklahoma and blew the Sooners out of the water with a 41-12 victory. The next week, Baylor easily handled Texas Tech, 63-34, passing the second test of their brutal second-half schedule.
The third test didn’t go quite so well for the Bears, as their national title dreams died in Stillwater with a 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State. Baylor had to hope for an Oklahoma State loss and take care of business in their final two games, and that’s exactly what happened. The Bears beat TCU and Texas, and the Cowboys lost to Oklahoma on the final day of the season, giving Baylor the Big 12 title.
The Bears sport an explosive and balanced offensive attack, led by quarterback Bryce Petty, running backs Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood, and wide receiver Antwan Goodley. No offense in the country has a greater ability to make big plays, and Baylor will attempt to ignite some fireworks with the ball.
Last bowl game: 2012 Holiday Bowl vs. UCLA, 49-26 win
Last year without a bowl: 2009
All-time bowl record: 10-9
Head coach's bowl record: Art Briles, 2-4
UCF (11-1, 8-0 AAC)
In the preseason media poll, UCF was picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights made it apparent from early in the season that they were going to be a force to be reckoned with by beginning the year outscoring Akron and Florida International by a combined score of 76-7 and defeating Penn State in Happy Valley. UCF did eventually fall to South Carolina a week after topping the Nittany Lions, but it would be their only loss of the regular season. They went undefeated in AAC play afterwards, including a victory over Teddy Bridgewater and then-eighth-ranked Louisville.
The team is led by junior quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles is building on a strong season last year. He has 3280 passing yards with a 68 percent completion rate to go along with 22 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. His is averaging 9.6 yards per passing attempt and is also the team's second-leading rusher behind running back Storm Johnson. Bortles has run for three touchdowns and 148 yards on 69 attempts for the season.
Johnson, for his part, has 1,058 rushing yards and 1,319 total yards from scrimmage. He has scored 14 touchdowns on the season; three in the air and the other 11 coming on the ground.
The defense for the Knights isn't that far behind the offense. UCF's scoring defense tied for third in the AAC only 19.6 points allowed per game.
Last bowl game: 2012 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl vs. Ball State, 28-17 win
Last year without a bowl: 2011
All-time bowl record: 2-3
Head coach's bowl record: George O’Leary, 4-5