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  1. A safe, productive season from West Virginia's Heisman Trophy candidates Steve Slaton and Pat White.
  2. Respect from the national media.
  3. A convincing win over Louisville on November 2 in front of the world.
  4. An undefeated regular season and a national title game invitation.

That, my friends, were the only things West Virginia Mountaineer fans had on their Christmas wish lists. And I must say, though I've never set foot on the Charleston campus (and probably never will), I kinda wanted them to have those few things nicely wrapped under the tree.

They were impressive bunch, those Mountaineers. Running sensation Slaton and QB White were Vick and Dunn—only without the zeroes attached to their bank statements. They played with flash. And ask the Georgia Bulldogs, the team they defeated 38-35 in last year's Sugar Bowl, they had some serious skills, too. But as the geography gods would have it, West VA was in the "inferior” Big East, a conference known for its hoops not helmets and Hail Marys. So they were punished in the BCS. And not just them. Undefeated Louisville and Rutgers as well.

But this West Virginia/Louisville game, called the biggest football game in the state of Kentucky's history, would change all of that. If jolly ol' St. Nick were to come early, he'd deliver an overwhelming victory for the Mountaineers and prove all the doubters wrong… Final score: 44-34, Louisville… The game wasn't anywhere as close as the final score might indicate. So much for believing in Santa Claus. The Mountaineers had blown their shot at glory, hurting the hearts of millions of kids at heart. There's still plenty of football to be played –and who knows, Slaton may still get the Heisman- but everyone in West Virginia knows now that whatever package it opens on December 25 won't resemble tickets to the Orange Bowl in Miami.