GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- A decade after a winless season, Central Florida earned its first trip to a BCS bowl.
Once the Knights got there, they were given no chance at winning. Not against Baylor, the nation's best offensive team.
They refused to listen to all the negativity and turned the Fiesta Bowl into a rousing BCS debut.
Blake Bortles accounted for 394 yards and four touchdowns, Storm Johnson ran for two early tone-setting scores and No. 15 Central Florida outlasted Baylor 52-42 on Wednesday night in the highest-scoring game in Fiesta Bowl history.
"We did prove a lot of people wrong," Johnson said.
Central Florida (12-1) wasn't given much of a chance, entering the game as a 17-point underdog.
The Knights didn't care about the spread and certainly didn't back down from the big, bad Bears, racing past Baylor with an array of big plays.
They took an early 14-point lead and kept rolling, piling up 556 total yards in the second-highest scoring BCS bowl ever.
Bortles, the junior who could be weighing a jump to the NFL, was the catalyst, throwing for three touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing and running for 93 yards and another score.
Rannell Hall accounted for some of the biggest plays, catching four passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson kept Baylor from ganging up on UCF's passing game, grinding out 124 yards on 20 carries.
So much about having no shot.
"There's not many outside of us who believe we had a chance, but we did and I think we showed what UCF football is all about," Bortles said.
Known for its offense prowess, Baylor (11-2) had a hard time keeping up with the Knights.
The Big 12 champions finished with 550 total yards, but were uncharacteristically undisciplined, getting 17 penalties for 135 yards.
Bryce Petty tried to keep the Bears in it, running for three touchdowns while throwing for 356 yards and two more scores. Lache Seastrunk had some big runs in the first half and finished with 117 yards.
None of it was enough the way UCF ran through Baylor's defense.
"We caught a football team that was hot," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "They played extremely well early, got into us. We tried to play catch-up the whole game, never could turn it around when it needed turning."
The Fiesta Bowl was the BCS coming-out party for Baylor and Central Florida before college football's switch to a playoff system next season.
The Bears had been building toward this since Briles became coach in 2009, winding up his high-octane offense to lead the nation in scoring and churn out the second-most yards in FBS history.
Central Florida had a slower rise under George O'Leary.
The coach who was fired by Notre Dame five days after being hired for lying on his resume has built his reputation back up in Orlando, taking a program that went winless in 2004 to the inaugural American Athletic Conference title and automatic BCS berth this year.
The matchup was projected to be like the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, when mighty Oklahoma rolled over Connecticut 48-20.
The Knights weren't listening.
They opened with a 76-yard scoring drive capped by Johnson's tackle-breaking 11-yard touchdown run. Johnson scored again on UCF's next possession, this one on a 2-yard run.
The early 14-0 lead was expected. The team leading wasn't.
Baylor finally revved up its offense late in the first quarter, scoring on a 1-yard TD sneak by Petty and Central Florida looked as if it was ready to fall apart with turnovers on three consecutive plays.
Baylor only turned one of those into points: a 30-yard pass from Petty to Levi Norwood. Petty followed Johnson's fumble with an interception in the end zone, just his third of the season.
"Unfortunately, that was the turning point in the game," Petty said. "We needed that to save momentum up for us, especially after a turnover. Turnovers in the red zone kill an offense."
Then came the spectacular plays, seemingly one after another.
Hall darted and dashed through Baylor's defense for a 50-yard touchdown on a screen pass, with help from Josh Reese's downfield block.
Petty hurtled himself into the end zone, flipping over UCF's Brandon Alexander to cap a 13-yard run. That gave Baylor 659 points, breaking the NCAA record for a 13-game season set by Texas (652) in 2005.
The momentum was gone shortly after, when Hall turned a swing pass into a 34-yard touchdown - assisted again by Reese - to put the Knights up 28-20 at halftime.
Petty scored his third touchdown on 1-yard run in the third quarter and dashed in for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, but Central Florida still wouldn't back down.
Bortles hit Breshad Perriman on a 10-yard touchdown pass and opened the fourth quarter by scoring on a 15-yard run to put the Knights up 42-28.
Even after Baylor moved quickly for a 9-yard touchdown run by Glasco Martin, UCF had an answer, going up 49-35 on Johnson's 40-yard run through the heart of the Bears' defense.
The Knights held on from there, heading home with a giant trophy and a lot more national respect.
This is it, the final go-round for the BCS.
The much-maligned system for determining college football's national champion will be mothballed after this season, replaced by a four-team playoff next season.
As finales go, it's hard to argue too much about the final title-game participants. Florida State was the only major-conference team to finish undefeated and Auburn had the best resume of the one-loss teams.
That's the big one, but of course there are 34 other bowls, starting with four on Saturday, that will feature plenty of other good teams, star players and interesting match-ups.
To get you ready, we've got a rundown of what to look for:
BCS National Championship, Florida State vs. Auburn, Jan. 6, Pasadena, Calif. Duh.
Sugar Bowl, Alabama vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 2, New Orleans. Two storied programs that fell short of their national-title aspirations are still pretty good.
Orange Bowl, Ohio State vs. Clemson, Jan. 3, Miami. Teams that are a combined 45-5 since the start of last season and among the highest-scoring in college football.
Rose Bowl, Stanford vs. Michigan State, Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif. If you like smash-mouth, defensive-minded football, this is your game.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Arizona vs. Boston College, Dec. 31, Shreveport, La. So what's so exciting about two 7-5 teams? Two All-American running backs going at each other: Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and BC's Andre Williams.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Won the Heisman Trophy, playing for a national championship. Not a bad freshman season.
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama. There will be no three-peat as national champion, but he's been as good a college quarterback as we've seen in a while.
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama. Collects tackles like baseball cards.
Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona. Second nationally in yards per game, runs like he's trying to punish defenders for daring to tackle him.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. Last year's Heisman winner could be making his last hurrah in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Duke.
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State. Arguably the most disruptive interior lineman in the country.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. All-American can turn the simplest of routes into a score.
Food is king among bowl sponsors for the third straight season.
The 2013-14 bowl season includes seven bowls with food affiliations, from potatoes to pizza to wild wings.
Second on the list are financial companies with six and auto-related companies are third with five.
This year's bowl lineup also includes a helicopter company, a university, a defense contractor, a department store and a cause (Fight Hunger).
The folks at Glantz-Culver have made Florida State a decided favorite over Auburn in the national championship game at 8 1-2 points.
In the other bowls, the biggest spread is the Fiesta Bowl, where Baylor is a 16 1-2-point favorite over Central Florida. Right behind is the Pinstripe Bowl, with Notre Dame giving away 15 1-2 points to Rutgers. Alabama also is a 15-point favorite over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
Tightest odds? San Diego State and Buffalo are a pick `em in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and three other bowls - Cotton, New Orleans and Capital One - all have 1-point spreads.
Florida State and Auburn will have to make quite a road trip to play for the final BCS championship despite being about 200 miles apart.
The Seminoles will cover about 2,200 miles to get to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and the Tigers have a trip of roughly 2,100 miles to get there.
That's still not the longest road trip to a bowl. That distinction belongs to Boise State, which will travel about 2,800 miles to play Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl. Central Florida also has a long trip ahead of it before the Fiesta Bowl, needing to go over 2,100 miles to get from Orlando to Glendale, Ariz.
Tulane has the shortest trip, staying in New Orleans for its bowl, but its opponent, Louisiana-Lafayette, doesn't exactly have to go far, traveling about 130 miles for the New Orleans Bowl. Rutgers has a short trip over about 45 minutes across the Hudson River - depending on traffic - for the Pinstripe Bowl against Notre Dame and Maryland should be able to get to the Military Bowl in Annapolis in about a half hour. North Texas has a similar drive to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
2-Female officials (Sarah Thomas and Maia Chaka) working the Fight Hunger Bowl, a first for an FBS game.
13-Years since UNLV played in a bowl game. The Rebels will face North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
56-Years since Rice had won an outright conference title before taking the Conference USA championship this season.
624.5-Yards of offense per game by Baylor, most in the nation this season by over 50 yards and second-most all-time to the 624.9 by Houston in 1989.
4,866-Passing yards by Fresno State's Derek Carr, which led the nation.
NEW YORK (AP) -- While the New York Yankees set another salary record, the Houston Astros had the lowest average in the major leagues in 14 years and the attention of the players' union.
The overall big league average rose 5.4 percent this season to a record $3.39 million, according to the annual report released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The increase was the steepest since 2006.
In the economy at large, civilian compensation is increasing at an annual rate of 1.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average U.S. wage in 2012 was $42,498, according to the Social Security Administration.
The Yankees had the highest average for the 15th consecutive season at $8.17 million, breaking the mark of $7.66 million when they won the World Series in 2009. The Los Angeles Dodgers were second at $7.82 million.
Houston's average of $549,603 was the smallest since the 1999 Kansas City Royals at $534,460. The Miami Marlins were 29th at $830,069, down from $3.77 million in 2012, when they ranked 10th.
Baseball's collective bargaining agreement requires a team to use revenue-sharing money it receives "in an effort to improve its performance on the field." The Marlins had been required to raise player payroll annually from 2010-12 under an agreement between MLB and the union.
However, the issue is being dealt with under a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that gradually eliminates the 15 teams in the largest markets from receiving revenue sharing, and the Astros are 15th. Under that provision, those clubs forfeited 25 percent of the money this year, half in 2014, 75 percent the following year and all in 2016.
"We are watching both clubs closely, but were already aware what their 2013 spending would be and that there wasn't enough there to move beyond acknowledging as much," new union head Tony Clark said in an email to The Associated Press. "With Houston a big factor is their impending `market disqualification.' For Miami, they actually have a long-range plan that suggests they will make the considerations necessary to be compliant.
"That said, both clubs are being monitored, and MLB recognizes that there is a potential for a dispute if the clubs do not move in the right direction."
World Series champion Boston was fourth at $5.46 million, just behind Detroit at $5.53 million. St. Louis, which won the NL pennant, was 10th at $3.75 million.
Tampa Bay had the lowest ranking among the 10 playoff teams and was 24th at $2.13 million.
Among regulars at positions, designated hitters took over from first basemen for the highest average at $10.5 million. First basemen were next at $6.5 million, followed by starting pitchers at $6.3 million, second basemen at $5.8 million, outfielders at $5.6 million, third basemen at $5.2 million, shortstops at $4.5 million, catchers at $4.4 million and relief pitchers at $2.2 million,
Figures are based on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists, with 940 players averaging $3,386,212. Major League Baseball, which uses slightly different methods, calculated its average at $3,320,089, an increase of 6.9 percent.