After beating undefeated Houston in thrilling fashion, the BYU football team is building a campaign to be a top 25 team. It started with a dominant win over Texas, which was ranked 15th by the Associated Press the night of Sept. 7. The problem: the Longhorns contest may not prove to be the Cougars’ signature win, let alone a high-profile one.

It may continue a trend where BYU has beaten a nationally ranked team that wound up worse than expected — even outside the polls.

Texas is now just 4-2, and if it follows a pattern seen in each of its past three seasons, it may be mediocre when all is said and done. Since reaching the 2010 national championship, the Longhorns went 5-7 and 8-5 in 2010 and 2011 before finishing 9-4 and 19th in the final Associated Press poll last season.

Texas’ 16-point win over nationally ranked Oklahoma on Oct. 12 may have cooled head coach Mack Brown’s seat. Still, only a three-game winning streak has kept the Longhorn program from embarrassment after starting 1-2. Following its 40-21 loss at BYU, Texas lost by three touchdowns at home against an average Ole Miss club.

The Cougars’ beatdown of the Longhorns isn’t the only time a BYU team has defeated a nationally ranked club, only for that opponent to be much weaker than expected — even outside the final Associated Press poll. The trend is found during the LaVell Edwards era. Under Edwards, BYU went 21-21-1 against ranked teams, but nine of the victories came against teams not found in final rankings. Those 10 teams had a combined record of just 76-63-3.

Such wins have also happened twice under Bronco Mendenhall — but it’s not like many examples avail themselves since his teams are just 4-13 against top 25 competition. There is no example possible with Gary Crowton-coached teams. They went 0-6 against nationally ranked clubs in four seasons.

Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. | @wilklogan

BYU 18, No. 14 Texas A&M 17

Sept. 8, 1979

Rice Stadium, Houston

Texas A&M finished 6-5 (4-4 Southwest Conference).

BYU finished 11-1 (7-0 Western Athletic Conference) and 13th in the final AP poll.

BYU had never defeated a ranked non-conference opponent before Sept. 8, 1979. That all changed with the Cougars’ season-opener against the Texas A&M Aggies. Despite being only days removed from an appendectomy, Marc Wilson led the Cougars in a last-minute, come-from-behind victory. A go-ahead two-point conversion sparked the first undefeated regular season in school history.

The Aggies never recovered from BYU’s milestone win. Led by quarterback Mike Mosley, Texas A&M started 2-4. The Aggies won four of their final five games, beating sixth-ranked Texas in their final contest to salvage a winning season. They never returned to the national rankings after losing to the Cougars, assuring that with a 17-7 loss to Baylor in their second game and narrow losses to Texas Tech and seventh-ranked Houston in their fifth and sixth contests.

No. 14 BYU 38, No. 20 Washington State 36

Dec. 18, 1981 (Holiday Bowl)

Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego

Washington State finished 8-3-1 (5-2-1 Pacific-10 Conference).

BYU finished 11-2 (7-1 WAC) and 13th in the final AP poll.

The Cougars almost blew a 31-7 lead as Washington State scored 21 straight points in the third quarter on drives of 69, 50 and 39 yards to narrow the score to 31-28. BYU’s Jim McMahon passed for 342 yards.

WSU relied on the strength of its running game. Quarterback Clete Casper threw six interceptions and just one touchdown for the season, but running back Tim Harris gained 915 yards on just 157 carries. The Pac-10’s Cougars started 6-0-1 before losing three of their last five games, including their last two. That included a 41-17 stomping at fourth-ranked USC and a 23-10 decision at 17th-ranked Washington.

BYU 20, No. 3 Pittsburgh 14

Sept. 1, 1984

Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh

Independent Pittsburgh finished 3-7-1.

BYU finished 13-0 and first in the final AP poll, consequently claiming the national title.

Talk about role reversals.

In getting stunned, Pittsburgh kicked off its first losing season since 1972. The Panthers had national championship hopes, but it was instead the Cougars who began their first and only national championship season. Robbie Bosco passed for 325 yards while Pitt signal-caller John Congemi was held to 171 passing yards for an 85.51 passer rating.

Major Panther letdown: Pitt started 0-4 before breaking through with a narrow win over lowly East Carolina, which went just 2-9 that season. In fact, it lost seven of its first eight games with one tie before finishing the season with two victories.

No. 16 BYU 31, Washington 3

Sept. 14, 1985

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Washington started the season No. 12 one week before playing BYU. It finished 7-5 (5-3 Pac-10).

BYU finished 11-3 and 16th in the final AP poll.

The Cougars’ four-touchdown victory over the Huskies was its largest in four wins over Washington.

The Huskies lost by 14-plus points in their first two games, both against ranked opponents, before reeling off four straight wins. But they lost three of their next five games, four of which were in Seattle, all against unranked teams. Washington accepted an invitation to the Freedom Bowl, where it beat Colorado 20-17.

BYU 47, No. 19 Texas 6

Sept. 8, 1988

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Texas finished 4-7 (2-5 SWC).

BYU finished 9-4 (5-3 WAC).

Playing in their second ESPN Thursday night affair in as many weeks, the Cougars opened at home in style against the Longhorns. The first play was an 80-yard TD toss from Sean Covey to Bryce Doman. Texas was forced to play without suspended starting running back Eric Metcalf.

The Longhorns rebounded with three straight victories but then dropped contests against Oklahoma and Arkansas, both of whom were ranked in the top 10. That started a season-ending seven-game stretch in which Texas lost six contests. One was a 66-15 blowout to Houston.

BYU 30, No. 14 Penn State 17

Oct. 31, 1992

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Independent Penn State finished 7-5.

BYU finished 8-5 (6-2 WAC).

“… the Nittany Lions, who were expected to challenge for the national championship, officially became a disappointment yesterday when they got stomped by Brigham Young, 30-17, before 66,016 delighted fans at chilly Cougar Stadium,” wrote Ray Parrillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “At halftime, dancing Cougarettes frolicked around mock tombstones as part of the Halloween festivities. One tombstone displayed this prophetic message: ‘RIP — Penn State.’ The timing was meticulous. By then, the Cougars were solidly ahead, 27-3, and the 14th-ranked Nittany Lions, headed quickly toward a 6-3 record, were playing as if they barely had a pulse.”

Penn State coach Joe Paterno thanked Edwards for keeping the score as close as he did.

The Nittany Lions started the season with five straight wins before losing five of seven games, lowlighted when they were hammered by BYU. The season ended with a non-spirited 24-3 Blockbuster Bowl defeat to Stanford.

BYU 21, No. 17 Notre Dame 14

Oct. 15, 1994

Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

Independent Notre Dame finished 6-5-1.

BYU finished 10-3 (6-2 WAC) and 18th in the final AP poll.

Yahoo! Sports compiled a list in summer 2011 of the 25 most devastating losses in the past 25 years of Notre Dame football, calling the 21-14 loss in 1994 to BYU the sixth-worst loss in that era. BYU’s win was the only close contest among the four that have been played in South Bend.

"It’s like a nightmare," then-defensive coordinator Bob Davie said. "It is devastating. There is no way to hide that or downplay that. This is a devastating loss."

The Irish started 4-1 before facing Boston College (a 30-11 loss) and then BYU. They won just two of their last six games and suffered a 17-point defeat to Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl.

BYU 41, No. 13 Texas A&M 37

Aug. 24, 1996

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Texas A&M finished 6-6 (4-4 Big XII Conference).

BYU finished 14-1 (8-0 WAC) and fifth in the final AP poll.

The Aggies came to Provo for the Pigskin Classic with plenty of hype while the Cougars were a blip on the national radar. Texas A&M took a 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter, but BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian led a roaring comeback with an ABC audience watching.

The Aggies limped through the entire season. The next week, they lost at Southwest Louisiana, a 5-6 independent that season. They started 3-5 after back-to-back home losses to Kansas State and Texas Tech. They sealed their mediocrity when they were thumped 51-15 against archrival Texas in another ABC-televised game.

BYU 26, No. 14 Arizona State 6

Sept. 12, 1998

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Arizona State finished 5-6 (4-4 Pac-10).

BYU finished 9-5 (7-1 WAC).

Kevin Feterik went just 6-of-20, but Ronney Jenkins made up the difference, rushing for 178 yards on 30 carries. The Cougars went 5 of 6 on fourth down conversions.

In starting 2-4, all of the Sun Devils’ other losses besides BYU came against ranked teams: Washington, USC and Notre Dame. Each got progressively worse, with 4, 11 and 19-point decisions. A blowout at 20th-ranked Oregon and defeat at eighth-ranked Arizona assured the losing season.

No. 25 BYU 34, No. 23 Colorado State 13

Sept. 16, 1999

Cougar Stadium, Provo

Colorado State finished 8-4 (5-2 Mountain West Conference).

BYU finished 8-4 (5-2 MWC).

Telegraphed plays gave advance warning Thursday to BYU defenders who led the Cougars to a 34-13 victory over Colorado State in the inaugural game of the Mountain West Conference,” wrote Ralph Zobell of BYU Athletic Communications. “That defense enabled BYU freshman running back Luke Staley to score three touchdowns as the Cougars built up a 31-0 lead before a crowd of 63,054 and once again in front of an ESPN TV audience. The victory put BYU's record at 2-0, while CSU fell to 2-1.

“’I have to admit, the quarterback gave a lot away by looking at his receivers and he threw right at me," said BYU linebacker Jeff Holtry. “Our game plan was to beat them up front with our defensive line."

Kevin Feterik registered a 163.89 pass rating that day.

Running back Kevin McDougal (1,164 rushing yards) led the Rams to a co-conference title, but against a league featuring great parity. The Rams, Cougars and Utah all finished 5-2 in league play, and only the Utes got to nine wins. All eight teams had at least one conference victory — and six had three or more, as Wyoming went 4-3 and San Diego State and New Mexico each went 3-4. CSU squeaked by a Nevada team that finished 3-8. It got walloped by 31 points at Fresno State, a tri-champion in the counterpart Western Athletic Conference. It lost its Liberty Bowl matchup against 16th-ranked Southern Mississippi.

No. 20 BYU 14, No. 3 Oklahoma 13

Sept. 5, 2009

Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Oklahoma finished 8-5 (5-3 Big XII).

BYU finished 11-2 (7-1 MW) and 12th in the final AP poll.

The Cougars startled the nation in the first game at Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium. Max Hall was efficient, throwing 26 of 38 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. BYU benefitted from a sprained shoulder to Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. His backup, Landry Jones, was mediocre.

The Sooners came quite short of competing for a national championship as expected. They stumbled to a 3-3 start, unable to beat ranked Miami and Texas. That lead to a 10-3 defeat to Nebraska in week 10 and a 41-13 hammering by Texas Tech. The latter was curious given that the Sooners had throttled Texas A&M by 55 points just one week earlier.

No. 15 BYU 44, No. 18 Oregon State 20 (MAACO Las Vegas Bowl)

Dec. 22, 2009

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

Oregon State finished 8-5 (6-3 Pac-10).

BYU finished 11-2 (7-1 MW) and 12th in the final AP poll.

The Cougars’ dominance of the Beavers proved that OSU did not belong in anyone’s top 25. Bronco Mendenhall throttled his alma mater. Max Hall completed 19 of 30 passes for three touchdowns with no interceptions. The Beavers committed 11 penalties and three turnovers.

OSU went just 1-4 against nationally ranked teams that season. Two of those losses came by double digits. It edged a 5-7 UNLV team by two points. Its six conference wins came in a league of great parity: nine teams had two-plus conference wins. Six had five-plus wins.