Re-ranking the college football teams: Where do BYU, Utah and USU stand after week 8?
Eric Christian Smith, AP
What a difference a week can make in college football. One week you’re a Heisman trophy candidate, and the next week you’re struggling to make a bowl game.
After the Southeastern Conference (SEC) had a record-setting eight teams in the AP poll last week, it suffered one of its worst days of the year. No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 11 South Carolina, No. 15 Georgia and No. 22 Florida all lost. Georgia and Florida both dropped out of the top 25, leaving the SEC with just six ranked teams this week.
The SEC wasn’t the only conference with plenty of upsets. The American Athletic Conference (AAC) had the last of its unbeatens go down as No. 8 Louisville and Houston fell to UCF and BYU, respectively.
A total of nine ranked teams were upset on Saturday. Not only were there plenty of upsets, but according to Brett McMurphy, it marked the first time since September 2007 that five AP top-10 teams lost in the same week.
So how did the local in-state teams do?
Utah State rebounded with a solid win at New Mexico, beating the Lobos 45-10 to improve to (4-4) on the year. Running back Joey DeMartino had one of his best games as an Aggie, rushing for 144 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries.
USU head coach Matt Wells praised DeMartino’s performance, saying, “Good game by Joey. I thought he ran hard. He’s been hobbled up and banged up. I’m really proud of him.”
After one of the biggest wins in Utah football history last Saturday over then-No. 5 Stanford, the Utes came out flat against Arizona and lost 35-24.
“This league is too competitive and too good to not play with every ounce of passion and energy and emotion that you have,” Kyle Whittingham said. “It’s just too competitive.”
It didn’t help, either, that starting quarterback Travis Wilson left the game with a hand injury. Adam Schulz stepped in and completed 12-of-23 passes for 142 yards in the losing effort.
BYU knew it was going to face a tough task going into the game against Houston. The red, undefeated Cougars came into the game looking to become bowl eligible. BYU had other plans and won in a 47-46 shootout.
“Hands down, this was the craziest game I’ve ever been involved in,” said Taysom Hill. “But boy, it was fun.”
Hill had a great performance as he completed 29 of 44 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran 128 yards and became the first BYU quarterback to run for more than 100 yards and pass for more than 400 in a single game. Only seven other quarterbacks in the NCAA have accomplished such a feat. With the win, the Cougars improved to (5-2) on the year.
So what do national media members think about the local teams?
Every week, USA Today's Paul Myerberg re-ranks all the college football teams. The Utes were the only local team that made a significant move in the ranks as their loss at Arizona cost them 14 spots, coming in at No. 51. Utah State checked in at No. 67 after soundly beating New Mexico. BYU stayed in the No. 33 spot after winning in a shootout.
BYU is the first team to check in, coming in at No. 30. The Cougars jumped seven spots since last week. As for the Utes, last weekend's loss dropped them six spots to No. 42. New Mexico didn't help the Aggies' strength of schedule as the Aggies moved up just one spot to No. 70 after crushing New Mexico.
Out of all the rankings, the one that drew the most interest was the release of the first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings Sunday night. The BCS standings determine who will play for the BCS National Championship as well as the remaining big-money BCS bowls. After so many upsets, nobody knew what was going to happen until the standings were released.
While no local teams made the initial list of 25, they were all still ranked. BYU checks in at No. 36, while Utah and Utah State come in at No. 43 and No. 79, respectively.
The Utes and Cougars could make great strides this upcoming week with wins against some tough opponents. Utah takes on USC at the Coliseum Saturday afternoon, and BYU hosts Boise State Friday night. Utah State has a bye this week before hosting Hawaii on Nov. 2.
Justin Giles is a recent graduate of the University of Utah. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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