Gary Patterson guided Texas Christian to its best season in 70 years on the way to becoming the first Associated Press Coach of the Year from outside the six conferences with automatic BCS bids.

In the vote released yesterday, Patterson received 21 votes from the AP college football poll panel to edge Brian Kelly. The former Cincinnati coach, now with Notre Dame, received 19 votes, and Alabama's Nick Saban, who won the award last season, got 14 votes.

Texas at the top. The Longhorns are the most valuable team in college sports, according to Forbes magazine, which says Texas has a team value of $119 million with a profit or "dividend" figure of $59 million. Notre Dame, last year's leader, was No. 2 with a value of $108 million ($38 million profit). Penn State was third with a value of $99 million ($50 million profit).

Rounding out the first 10 in Forbes' top-20 list are Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana State, Ohio State, Georgia, and Oklahoma.

USC losing players. Southern Cal will be without three players, and possibly four, for Saturday's Emerald Bowl because of off-the-field issues. Junior tailback Joe McKnight's status remained up in the air as of Tuesday evening. Three players are academically ineligible - tight end Anthony McCoy, right tackle Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Averell Spicer.

Princeton picks alum. Cincinnati Bengals assistant Bob Surace was hired to coach Princeton, his alma mater.

The center on the Tigers' 1989 Ivy League championship team, Surace replaces Roger Hughes, who was fired last month after 10 seasons.

Utah rallies. Jordan Wynn threw for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns to lift No. 23 Utah from an early two-touchdown deficit to a 37-27 victory over California last night in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

The Utes scored 27 consecutive points to win their ninth straight bowl game, the longest current streak in the country.