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Bowl Selections: Five Teams The BCS Standings Ignored

Five teams left out of the final regular-season BCS standings have legitimate shots at attaining national rankings following their bowl games.One of them is headed to the Fiesta Bowl as one of the most overmatched opponents in BCS history. One won their conference and can't even crack the top 25.

• UConn Huskies

Where They're At: 8-4, 5-2 in the Big East. No. 25 in the AP Poll; first unranked team in the Coaches' Poll. Conference "champions" after Saturday's win over South Florida. As such, have accepted a bid to play Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day. Suffered a 30-16 loss in Week 3 to Temple, a team that also went 8-4 and was shut out of the bowl bids entirely.
What Went Wrong: UConn doesn't appear to be a Bad Team, exactly, but they haven't beaten a ranked opponent all season and their four losses are not pretty ones: Michigan, Temple, Rutgers, and a 26-0 shutout by Louisville.
What's Next: A month of wags wondering loudly whether this is the worst BCS matchup of all time, followed by a gruesome loss in Arizona. Any sort of respectable play should net them some numerical love from the human voters, at least, if only for appearances' sake.

• UCF Knights

Where They're At: 10-3, 7-1 in Conference USA. First unranked team in the AP Poll; No. 24 in the Coaches'. Conference champs after a 17-7 win over SMU. Bound for Memphis to play Georgia in the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.
What Went Wrong: The Knights are a solid team, particularly on defense, but you know what happens in the polls to mid-majors who lose games. After early-season stumbles against Big Six foes NC State and Kansas State, UCF won five in a row before losing one more to conference opponent Southern Miss.
What's Next: SMU is not what you'd call "good" at protecting their assets, but allowing the Knights to sack Kyle Padron five times on the Mustangs' final drive of the C-USA championship game speaks volumes about UCF's defense. Georgia's fielding a talented but young quarterback in Aaron Murray, and his utility against the Knights' front seven will be the key matchup of the game.

• Miami RedHawks

Where They're At: 9-4, 7-1 in the MAC. Grudging recipients of eight votes in each major poll despite winning their conference, and trailing the team they beat, Northern Illinois, in both. We are reminded that being an AP or Coaches' Poll voter must be the bleakest task ever, since one is clearly not allowed to watch football.
What Went Wrong: The RedHawks sustained three losses to BCS conference teams and one to the Ohio Bobcats before putting together a five-game win streak to close out the season.
What's Next: The ignominy of the Bowl, a palatable destination in locale only. Maybe if they get to ten wins (highly likely given opponent MTSU's 2010 flails), somebody with a vote will notice, someday.

• Northern Illinois Huskies

Where They're At: 10-3, 8-1 in the MAC. The team everybody thought would take the conference championship in a stroll got beat up by the RedHawks and then lost their coach. Not a good week to be a fan of a sled dog-based football team.
What Went Wrong: The Huskies were actually sniffing some ratings love before tumbling out of both major polls thanks to their abovementioned loss to Miami. After losses to Big Six teams in Weeks 1 and 3, they reeled off a nine-game win streak that lasted through to the end of the regular season.
What's Next: Hate Illinois in the winter? Try Idaho! (Seriously, it's beautiful. The now-coachless Huskies will travel to face Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl on the first day of bowl play, December 18.

• Maryland Terrapins

Where They're At: 8-4, 5-3 in the ACC. Finished second in the Atlantic Division behind Florida State. Second team waiting in both the AP and Coaches' ARV pools.
What Went Wrong: Four evenly-spaced losses throughout the 2010 season, only two of them to even low-ranked teams, put paid to conference championship hopes.
What's Next: About the closest thing they could possibly get to a home game: The Terps will play the charmingly defenseless East Carolina in the inaugural Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumann.

For more information, browse our complete 2010 college football postseason schedule.