For the first time since 1977, the BYU football team will be home for the holidays.

Despite finishing the season with a 7-4 overall record, 6-2 in the Western Athletic Conference and sharing the league crown with three other teams, the Cougars were left out in the cold when bowl bids were announced Nov. 26.Colorado State University earned the WAC's automatic bid to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., over BYU, Air Force and the University of Utah by virtue of tie-breaking factors. The Copper Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. - which has claim to the WAC's second-place team - extended an invitation to Air Force.

"I felt good about the way we finished the season," said BYU coach LaVell Edwards, noting that his team rebounded from a disappointing loss to Utah to defeat Fresno State in its last game.

"It's been such a long time since we haven't gone (to a bowl) that I can't even remember the last time," he added. "I'd certainly rather be in a bowl because that's what you shoot for as coaches and players, but since we're not going, I'll just enjoy being home for the holidays and spending time with my grandkids."