(December 8, 2013) No. 6 Baylor has completed its turnaround with a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against No. 15 Central Florida.
Once the perennial patsies of the Big 12, the Bears (11-1) won their first conference title since 1980 by knocking off Texas on Saturday.
Baylor became a national-title contender this season behind the country's most prolific offense and will be playing in its first BCS bowl after winning 11 games for the first time.
Waiting for the Bears will be Central Florida (11-1), which received the American Athletic Conference's automatic BCS bid.
The Knights earned the AAC title with Louisville's loss to Cincinnati and closed out the season by holding off SMU in icy Texas on Saturday to earn their first BCS bowl spot.
"Baylor Nation and our football program are honored and energized by the invitation to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl,” director of athletics Ian McCaw said. "This is the culmination to a very special year for Baylor football, and we look forward to a great football game on New Year's night.”
Baylor, ranked sixth in the AP poll and playing in its program-record fourth straight bowl, will face American Athletic Conference champion UCF (11-1, 8-0 AAC) when the Fiesta Bowl is played at 7:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 1. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN.
““Our goal heading into Saturday’s game was to be able to decide where we would go bowling, and fortunately we had that opportunity and we took advantage of it. We’re thrilled to be able to represent the Big 12 Conference at the Fiesta Bowl,” head coach Art Briles said. “This bowl is a great matchup between the champions of the Big 12 Conference and the American Athletic Conference. Both universities are deserving and this will set up for a great bowl game.”
Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) concluded its most successful season in school history by compiling a school-record 11 wins, topped off with a 30-10 victory over 23rd-ranked Texas Saturday. That win gave Baylor its first Big 12 championship and the automatic berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Bears feature the nation’s best offense, which averages 53.3 points per game and 624.5 yards per contest, and a stingy defense, which ranks in the top 20 nationally in both total defense (17th, 344.0 ypg) and scoring (19th, 21.2 ppg).