Get ready for the entire state of West Virginia to begin the trek to Atlanta for the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers, who clinched a berth in the Bowl Championship Series after South Florida lost, are expected to play the Southeastern Conference champion. The greater -- much greater -- Washington area could have two schools in the BCS if Virginia Tech beats Florida State in the ACC championship game next weekend. When the Hokies beat the Mountaineers, 34-17, on Oct. 1 it was hard to imagine that both could be BCS bound. . . . Nevada scored a monumental victory over Fresno State to win at least a share of the WAC title for the first time in school history. Same old story for Fresno: challenge the big-time programs but lose to conference teams. . . . Rutgers deserves a mention because the Scarlet Knights are poised to play in their first bowl game outside of New Jersey. Rutgers (7-4), which began playing football in 1869, is expected to land in the Insight Bowl.


It was a day of missed opportunities for Iowa State and South Florida. Neither school had a long-standing tradition of football excellence, and both could have taken significant steps forward yesterday. Instead, both flopped. The Cyclones narrowly missed playing in the Big 12 title game last season, but Coach Dan McCarney's team had a chance to do it this year if it beat Kansas yesterday. ISU lost to the Jayhawks, which allowed Colorado to back into the Big 12 title game against Texas even though the Buffaloes got creamed by Nebraska on Friday. As for South Florida, the Bulls controlled their own BCS destiny if they beat Connecticut and West Virginia. The Bulls could not handle the weather -- it was 33 degrees in East Hartford, Conn. -- or those mighty Huskies, who picked up their second Big East victory of the season.

Spinning Ahead

Three players -- USC's Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and Texas's Vince Young -- will be invited to New York as Heisman Trophy finalists. Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn did not have his finest showing last night, but he also should earn an invite. . . . It's time for the Western Athletic Conference to get instant replay. Officials called the fourth-quarter catch by Fresno State's Paul Williams a touchdown even though he appeared to juggle the ball as he went out of bounds. What's more, the scoreboard clock broke with six minutes left to play, which made time management nearly impossible for both quarterbacks. A man on the sideline held a stopwatch to keep track of time.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn should be among the Heisman Trophy finalists.