The Latest: Western Kentucky, Memphis off to Boca Raton Bowl
NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on the College Football Playoff and bowl selection (all times local):
BOCA RATON BOWL: Western Kentucky (10-3) has been rewarded for its second consecutive 10-win season and second consecutive league title under coach Jeff Brohm, earning a berth in the Boca Raton Bowl against Memphis (8-4).
The game will be Dec. 20 and will feature two high-powered offenses. Western Kentucky ranked seventh in the nation by averaging 517 yards in total offense, and Memphis' Riley Ferguson threw for 3,326 yards passing and 28 touchdowns this year.
TEXAS BOWL: Kansas State will play Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 in Houston in a matchup of former Big 12 rivals.
The Wildcats (8-4) have won five of their last six and are in a bowl for a seventh straight season. They played in the inaugural Texas Bowl in 2006.
The Aggies (8-4) will go into the game off losses in three of their last four games.
Texas A&M leads the series with K-State 8-7. The teams split 10 games as members of the Big 12, with K-State winning 53-50 in overtime in their last meeting in 2011.
The Aggies moved to the SEC in 2012.
BIRMINGHAM BOWL: No. 25 South Florida (10-2) and South Carolina (6-6) will play in the Birmingham Bowl. The game is Dec. 29 at Legion Field.
It's the second Birmingham Bowl appearance for both teams.
The Gamecocks won four of their final six games under first-year coach Will Muschamp. They've won their last four bowl games.
USF won more games than any other team in the state of Florida during the regular season.
NEW MEXICO BOWL: UTSA and New Mexico are set to play in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 17 in Albuquerque.
UTSA (6-6) won five of its last eight games to become eligible for a bowl for the first time in the six-year history of the Roadrunners' program.
The Lobos (8-4) shared the Mountain West's Mountain Division title and are in a bowl for a second year in a row. They lost to Arizona in last year's New Mexico Bowl and will be making their fourth appearance in their hometown bowl.
The teams split games in 2013 and 2014.
HOLIDAY BOWL: Minnesota will meet Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Diego.
The Gophers are in the Holiday for the first time and in a California bowl for the first time since the 1962 Rose Bowl. Minnesota is in a bowl for a fifth straight year, tying a program record.
The Cougars are in the postseason for the second straight year and in the Holiday Bowl for the third time, having played in it in 1981 and 2003.
Washington State has won three of five meetings with the Gophers. This will be the first time they've played since 1988.
INDEPENDENCE BOWL: North Carolina State will face Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Vanderbilt (6-6) is back in a bowl game for the first time since 2013. The Commodores are coming off an impressive upset win over Tennessee in the regular season finale.
North Carolina State (6-6) is back in a bowl game for a third consecutive season. The Wolfpack won two of their final three games to become bowl-eligible.
Both schools are making their first appearance in the Independence Bowl.
QUICK LANE BOWL: Boston College and Maryland will renew acquaintances in the Quick Lane Bowl. The former ACC rivals play at Detroit's Ford Field on Dec. 26.
The Terrapins (6-6) are in the Big Ten now, which means trips to the state of Michigan aren't unusual for them. Maryland lost 59-3 to Michigan at the Big House last month.
Boston College (6-6) won its last two games of the regular season to make it to .500 and become bowl-eligible.
TAXSLAYER BOWL: Kentucky will play Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Both the Wildcats (7-5) and Yellow Jackets (8-4) are headed to Jacksonville, Florida, after ending the regular season by going on the road and knocking off their instate out-of-conference rivals. Kentucky beat Louisville while Georgia Tech took down Georgia.
The Wildcats have won seven of 10 while Georgia Tech has won four straight.
MUSIC CITY BOWL: Two teams that were ranked in the top 10 earlier this year will try to bounce back from late-season fades when No. 24 Nebraska meets Tennessee in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at Nashville.
Nebraska (9-3) dropped three of its last five games after a 7-0 start. Tennessee (8-4) went 3-4 after a 5-0 start and closed the regular season by losing at Vanderbilt.
This will mark the third meeting between the programs, each of the previous ones also in bowls. Nebraska won both – 42-17 in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1998, and 31-21 in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2000.
BELK BOWL: Virginia Tech and Arkansas will meet in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29.
It's the first appearance for both schools in the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bowl. In their first season under Justin Fuente, the 18th-ranked Hokies (9-4) are coming off a 42-35 loss to Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
The Razorbacks (7-5) have been a model of inconsistency this season. They hung 30 points on Alabama's vaunted defense and routed eventual SEC East champion Florida, but also were outscored by Auburn and LSU by a combined 94-13.
LIBERTY BOWL: Georgia (7-5) and TCU (6-6) will face off for the first time in nearly three decades when they meet in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 at Memphis, Tennessee.
Georgia has won all three previous meetings with TCU. Their most recent matchup came when Georgia beat TCU 38-10 in 1988.
FOSTER FARMS BOWL: Indiana will face Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 28 in Santa Clara, California.
The Hoosiers will be playing in the game with new coach Tom Allen, who was hired last week after Kevin Wilson unexpectedly resigned.
The Utes have won 12 of their last 13 bowl games. Utah was in the running for a Pac-12 title for much of the year, but stumbled with three losses in its final four games.
Indiana (6-6) and Utah (8-4) will meet for the fourth time and the first since 2002.
CACTUS BOWL: An offensive show may await when Boise State (10-2) faces Baylor (6-6) in Cactus Bowl.
Baylor started the season 6-0, but closed on a six-game losing streak as a sexual assault scandal continued to hang over the program.
Both teams are ranked among the top 20 nationally in total offense.
The game will be played at Chase Field, home of baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks.
POINSETTIA BOWL: BYU will play Mountain West Conference runner-up Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21 in San Diego.
The FBS independent Cougars (8-4) have played the Cowboys (8-5) a total of 77 times, mostly from the 1930s to 1990s.
BYU leads the series 44-30-3, and this will be their first meeting since 2010.
BYU has played in the Poinsettia Bowl once, in 2012, and the Cowboys are making their first appearance. BYU committed to playing in this game three years ago, in a deal that also has the Cougars going back to San Diego in 2018 – provided they aren't in that season's College Football Playoff.
ALAMO BOWL: Big 12 runner-up Oklahoma State will play Pac-12 runner-up Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, matching teams that used to be in the Big 12 and Big Eight together.
Oklahoma State (9-3) had a seven-game winning streak until losing 38-20 Saturday at Oklahoma to determine the Big 12 championship.
Colorado (10-3) had won six in a row before losing to 41-10 to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.
While the Buffaloes are in their first bowl game since losing to Alabama in the 2007 Independence Bowl, Oklahoma State is playing in a bowl game for the 11th consecutive season, and 14th time in 15 years.
MILITARY BOWL: Temple will face Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland.
The 23rd-ranked Owls (10-3) are coming off a 34-10 victory over Navy on Saturday, which earned them an American Athletic Conference championship. It was Temple's first conference title since 1967.
Wake Forest (6-6) finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division. The Demon Deacons are playing in their first bowl game since 2011.
The two schools haven't met on the football field since 1930, when the Owls won 36-0.
ARIZONA BOWL: Air Force (9-3) will face South Alabama (6-6) in the Arizona Bowl, Dec. 30 in Tucson.
The Falcons are annually among the nation's top rushing teams and this season was no different. Air Force was fourth nationally with 322.8 yards rushing per game and was led by Tim McVey, who rushed for 10 TDs and an average of 8.3 yards per carry.
The Jaguars opened the season with a win over Mississippi State in Starkville and knocked off Mountain West Champion San Diego State. They are led by quarterback Dallas Davis, who threw for 2,461 yards and 10 TDs.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Two old Big East rivals will square off in the Russell Athletic Bowl when West Virginia faces Miami.
The Mountaineers (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) won 10 games this season for the first time since joining the Big 12. The Hurricanes, in their first season under coach Mark Richt, won eight games – including four straight to close the regular season – and went 5-3 in the ACC.
West Virginia and Miami will be meeting for the 20th time. But the two schools last met in 2003, before Miami left for the ACC.
It may be the final college game for Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya, the school's all-time leading passer who is mulling whether he should skip his senior season and go pro.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Idaho will play Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 22 in Boise.
The Vandals (8-4) are going to a bowl for the first time since 2009 after finishing third in the Sun Belt Conference.
Idaho played in the Boise bowl twice, in 2008 and 2009 when it was the Humanitarian Bowl.
The Mountain West's Rams (7-5) won five of their last seven games to secure a fourth straight bowl bid. Colorado State has won four of seven against Idaho, with the most recent meeting in 2010.
CAMELIA BOWL: Toledo and Appalachian State, a pair of teams that both posted 9-3 regular seasons, will meet in the third Camelia Bowl on Dec. 17.
Appalachian State is making its second straight trip to the game in Montgomery, Alabama, after beating Ohio last season 31-29 on Zach Matics' 23-yard field goal as time expired.
No quarterback in major college football had more touchdown passes this season than Toledo's Logan Woodside, who threw 43 – and had at least three in every game this season. Woodside redshirted last season as a junior, using that time to further his development. It paid off this season, as he became one of the nation's surprise stories.
CITRUS BOWL: Louisville and LSU had decidedly up-and-down seasons, and those respective paths are taking both to the Citrus Bowl.
The Cardinals (9-3) and Tigers (7-4) will square off in the game on Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. in Orlando, Florida.
Louisville was as high as No. 3 in the AP Top 25 this season, and LSU endured the firing of coach Les Miles. Ed Orgeron took over and LSU has won five of its last seven games.
And this game may feature the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner: Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson is considered by many the frontrunner for the award.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.