Central Florida's loss in the Conference USA championship game has the Knights staying close to home for the holidays against Ball State in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
UCF (9-4) will make the 100-mile trip west from Orlando to St. Petersburg to face the Cardinals, who will carry a six-game winning streak in the Dec. 21 matchup at Tropicana Field.
Ball State (9-3) received its first postseason berth since appearing in the 2008 GMAC Bowl, filling a slot for the Big East, which didn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the league's commitments.
UCF lost the Conference USA championship game 33-27 to Tulsa in overtime. Ball State went 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference.