The Latest: UCF gets a bowl in Orlando versus Arkansas State

Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis celebrates after the team defeated Ohio 29-23 on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in an NCAA college football game for the Mid-American Conference title in Detroit. (Bryan Bennett/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP)
Bryan Bennett/AP

NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on the College Football Playoff and bowl selection (all times local):

3:48 p.m.

CURE BOWL: Central Florida will be home again for bowl season.

Only this year, that's a good thing.

UCF will cap its remarkable turnaround this season with an appearance in the Cure Bowl against Arkansas State. UCF, which is in Orlando, Florida, will be playing in its home city. The game is Dec. 17 at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.

UCF went 0-12 last season before managing a 6-6 mark in the 2016 regular season under new coach Scott Frost. Arkansas State (7-5) finished tied for first in the Sun Belt Conference.

3:43 p.m.

DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL: Troy will meet Mid-American Conference runner-up Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl on Dec. 23 in Mobile, Alabama.

The Bobcats (8-5) are 2-7 all-time in bowl games but flirted with an upset of unbeaten Western Michigan in the league title game, losing 29-23.

Troy (9-3) became the first Sun Belt team to crack the AP Top 25 this season, but then lost two of its last three games.

3:40 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL: Southern Mississippi will face Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 17.

The Golden Eagles (6-6, 4-4 Conference USA) and Ragin' Cajuns (6-6, 5-3 Sun Belt) are familiar foes, facing each for the 52nd time. Southern Miss has a 39-11-1 advantage in the series.

Southern Miss is in a bowl for a second straight year and the 12th time in the past 15 seasons.

Louisiana-Lafayette won three of its final four games to earn bowl eligibility. It is the fifth bowl in six seasons for the Ragin' Cajuns.

3:35 p.m.

ARMED FORCES BOWL: Navy will play Louisiana Tech in the Armed Forces Bowl.

The Midshipmen (9-3) had a contractual agreement all season to play in the game on TCU's campus on Dec. 23, as long as they were bowl eligible. The only thing that would have changed that is if they had finished as the top-ranked league champion from the Group of Five conferences.

But Navy lost at home to Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game, while Western Michigan won the MAC championship to remain undefeated and earn the berth in the Cotton Bowl.

Louisiana Tech (8-5) lost to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday.

3:15 p.m.

OUTBACK BOWL: Florida and Iowa are heading to the Outback Bowl for the fifth time each, and for the second time against one another.

The teams split their first two Outback meetings, the Hawkeyes winning to end the 2003 season and the Gators prevailing two years later. They've only met one other time, and that was in 1983.

The Gators (8-4) are coming in on a two-game slide, including a 54-16 rout at the hands of No. 1 Alabama in the SEC championship game on Saturday. Iowa (8-4) has won its last three games, two of those over AP Top 25 teams.

3:05 p.m.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: North Texas has accepted an invitation to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Army.

The Mean Green improved from one win last season to 5-7 this season under first-year head coach Seth Littrell.

Since there weren't enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the spots, North Texas was one of the teams allowed to advance to a bowl based on Academic Progress Rate scores.

Army is 6-5 with its annual regular-season finale against Navy left to play next Saturday.

North Texas and Army have already played once this season. The Mean Green won 35-18 on Oct. 22 at West Point.

The Heart of Dallas Bowl, played in the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, is on Dec. 27.

2:55 p.m.

SUGAR BOWL: The Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners will face the Auburn Tigers in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans.

The No. 7 Sooners (No. 7 CFP) lost two of their first three games this season, but enter the Sugar Bowl on a nine-game winning streak. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has thrown 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns this season while completing more than 71 percent of his passes.

No. 17 Auburn (No. 14 CFP), which is in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season, emerged from a jumbled pile of candidates to be the second-highest ranked Southeastern Conference team in the CFP after top-ranked Alabama.

2:50 p.m.

COTTON BOWL: MAC champion Western Michigan, the only FBS team other than Alabama that is still undefeated, will play Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin in a matchup of teams making their first Cotton Bowl appearances.

Western Michigan (13-0), at No. 15 in the final CFP rankings, beat two Big Ten teams on the road early this season, Northwestern and Illinois.

Wisconsin (10-3) was No. 8 in the CFP and in the AP poll, where they were behind three other Big Ten teams. The Badgers had a six-game winning streak before the conference championship game, where they had a 28-7 lead before losing 38-31 to Penn State while giving up the most points they had all season.

It's the fifth time Western Michigan and Wisconsin have played, the first since 2000.

2:45 p.m.

ORANGE BOWL: Michigan has been selected to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

It will be the first appearance in the game by the Wolverines since Tom Brady four touchdown passes to beat Alabama and cap the 1999 season.

Florida State is in the Orange Bowl for the 10th time, and will play at Hard Rock Stadium for the second time this season – the Seminoles beat Miami there during the regular season after blocking a potentially game-tying extra point in the final moments.

2:40 p.m.

ROSE BOWL: Southern California will face Big Ten champion Penn State in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

The 103rd edition of the Granddaddy of Them All will match two venerable football programs that have emerged from bad times since their last trip to this postseason showcase.

USC (9-3) will meet Penn State (11-2) in a rematch of the 2009 Rose Bowl, won 38-24 by the Trojans.

2:35 p.m.

The next group of bowl selections are in, and Western Michigan is going to row its boat to the Cotton Bowl.

Mid-American Conference champion Western Michigan and coach P.J. Fleck – whose ''row the boat'' battle cry has become a signature phrase for his 13-0 team – will play Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. Western Michigan is one of two unbeaten teams left in major college football, with Alabama being the other.

The other New Year's Six matchups go like this: Michigan against Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Penn State against USC in the Rose Bowl and Auburn against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

The Orange Bowl is Dec. 30. The Rose, Cotton and Sugar bowls are all Jan. 2.

Also announced are the kickoff times for the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 31: Alabama plays Washington at 3 p.m. Eastern, and Clemson and Ohio State start at 7 p.m. Eastern.

1:45 p.m.

Washington coach Chris Petersen is about to get a really good look at Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Up close and personal, actually.

Petersen has never coached against Saban, and that will change on Dec. 31 when their teams meet at the Peach Bowl in one of this year's College Football Playoff semifinals.

Petersen met with reporters not long after the CFP pairings were released Sunday, and was asked if he knows Saban. Petersen's response: ''Not real well. I feel like I know him, I see him on TV so much. I've talked to him once or twice. But yeah, I don't really know him.''

Alabama is 4-0 all-time against Washington, the last meeting between the schools coming back in 1986.

1 p.m.

FIESTA BOWL: Clemson will play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl for a spot in the national championship game.

The Tigers (12-1) were No. 3 in the next-to-last College Football Playoff rankings and leapfrogged the Buckeyes after beating No. 18 Virginia Tech 42-35 in the ACC championship game.

Clemson finished No. 3 in the AP Top 25, a spot behind Ohio State (11-1).

Led by dynamic quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson lost to Alabama in the national championship game last season.

Ohio State lost to Penn State on Oct. 22, but closed the season with a double-overtime victory over then-No. 3 Michigan. The Nittany Lions rallied from 21 points down to beat No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship.

12:55 p.m.

PEACH BOWL: It's Alabama's stingy defense versus Washington's high-scoring offense in the Peach Bowl, one of the two College Football Playoff national semifinals this season.

The Crimson Tide plays its second straight game in the Georgia Dome. The nation's top defense faces an offense led by Jake Browning, who has thrown for 42 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

Alabama, by contrast, has allowed just 14 total touchdowns, including three on the ground.

The Tide is bidding to become the third wire-to-wire No. 1 team in the AP poll while the Huskies worked their way up from a No. 14 preseason ranking. Alabama offensive analyst Steve Sarkisian was the Huskies head coach from 2009-13, and Tide co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi is a former Washington assistant as well.

12:45 p.m.

College Football Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt says ''it was a challenging conversation'' that led Washington to get the final spot in the semifinals over Penn State.

Hocutt, speaking on the ESPN selection show, says the committee simply decided that Washington got the No. 4 seed over the Big Ten champion Nittany Lions because ''the selection committee believes they're a better football team.''

Hocutt acknowledged there was some concern over the strength of Washington's schedule, but said that the Huskies' quality wins were enough to remove any doubt. He also said the mission of the committee was to identify the best teams, and that winning a conference title – as Penn State did – is just one of many things to consider.

12:35 p.m.

Commence debate – the pairings are in, and Penn State and Michigan are out.

Alabama is the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff and will meet No. 4 Washington in a semifinal game at the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

The other semifinal is No. 2 Clemson against No. 3 Ohio State at the Fiesta Bowl, also Dec. 31.

Alabama is the only team to be in all three editions of the CFP so far. Ohio State and Clemson are in for the second time, and Washington is a first-timer in the four-team field.

Penn State finished No. 5 and is headed to the Rose Bowl. Michigan was No. 6, likely now bound for the Orange Bowl.

11:40 a.m.

Alabama is going to chase more than a national championship in the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide may do something no team has managed to do since the 19th century.

The 15-win watch is back.

No NCAA team has won 15 games in a season. But it has happened in college football before the NCAA was formed in the 1930s – Yale won 15 games in 1889 and a record 16 games in 1894. The other school listed in the NCAA record book as winning 15 games in a season was Penn, in 1892 and 1897.

Alabama (13-0) would get that elusive 15th win by successfully defending its national championship.

Clemson entered last year's playoff bidding for 15-0, and had a chance to finish with that record – but lost the title game to the Crimson Tide.

Tide coach Nick Saban has only finished undefeated once in his storied coaching career. That was in 2009 when Alabama went 14-0 and won the first of his four national titles at the school.

10:50 a.m.

Alabama has ended the regular season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

On this Bowl Selection Sunday, the biggest news comes later from the CFP selection committee. That group will release the four-team bracket to decide this year's national champion, and it's a lock that Alabama will be the No. 1 seed.

The two previous CFP No. 1 seeds failed to win the title, with Alabama losing to Ohio State in the semifinals two years ago, and Clemson falling to the Tide in last season's wild national title game.

Alabama got all 61 first-place votes in the poll. Ohio State, Clemson, Washington and Penn State round out the top five, followed by Michigan, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, USC and Florida State.

10:12 a.m.

Most postseason-bound college football teams and their fans will find out where they're going bowling on Sunday.

A few already know.

BYU (8-4) accepted a bid to this year's Poinsettia Bowl back in November 2013 – and will also be there in 2018, provided the Cougars aren't in the College Football Playoff that season.

On Friday, the Bahamas Bowl revealed Eastern Michigan (7-5) and Old Dominion (9-3) are this year's matchup there. Navy's loss to Temple on Saturday in the American Athletic Conference championship game ensures the Midshipmen (9-3, with Army-Navy left) will play in the Armed Forces Bowl.

And it'll be SWAC champion Grambling (10-1) and MEAC champion North Carolina Central (9-2) squaring off on Dec. 17 at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta. That pairing was finalized Saturday.