The Utah State Aggies football team is ranked among the nation’s elite, alright.
It’s just that you have to look toward the very bottom of the page to find them.
The Aggies, now 7-2 on the season, are enjoying their biggest season to date. Not only is Utah State winning games, the Aggies are destroying opponents.
Averaging 46 points over the past three games, USU is far and away the best team in the state, and the numbers bear that out.
Though the Aggies did slip up in two games at Wisconsin and at BYU, both of the losses were by a total of five points.
And neither the Badgers nor the Cougars, as luck would have it, is ranked in the Top 25. (The Badgers were, and have now dropped out.)
Those two losses against above-.500 opponents are the reason why Utah State is not currently ranked in either the AP Top 25 or the ESPN/USA Today polls.
Instead, four total coaches gave the Aggies one vote apiece this week in the ESPN/USA Today poll, tying the school for 39th. On USU’s athletics page school administrators tout the accomplishment — as though it means something.
USA Today Poll
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Alabama (59) 8-0 1475
2 Oregon 8-0 1391
3 Kansas State 8-0 1366
4 Notre Dame 8-0 1307
5 LSU 7-1 1225
6 Georgia 7-1 1149
7 Florida State 8-1 1121
8 Florida 7-1 1024
9 Clemson 7-1 976
10 Louisville 8-0 888
11 South Carolina 7-2 838
12 Oklahoma 5-2 758
13 Oregon State 6-1 684
14 Boise State 7-1 634
15 Stanford 6-2 626
16 Texas A&M 6-2 592
17 USC 6-2 583
18 Mississippi State 7-1 569
19 West Virginia 5-2 326
20 Texas Tech 6-2 284
21 Nebraska 6-2 283
22 Texas 6-2 200
23 Louisiana Tech 7-1 191
24 Oklahoma State 5-2 166
25 Rutgers 7-1 151
Dropped from rankings: Michigan 20, Ohio 23, Wisconsin 25
Others receiving votes: Northwestern 77, UCLA 61, Toledo 59, Northern Illinois 39, Kent State 26, Tulsa 19, Wisconsin 15, Arizona 14, Michigan 11, Louisiana-Monroe 10, Ohio 9, Cincinnati 8, Iowa State 6, Utah State 4, Western Kentucky 4, Ole Miss 3, Arizona State 2, Michigan State 1
But the sad fact is, it’s just another indictment of another non-BCS team deserving of a Top 25 ranking, getting the proverbial shaft simply because it isn’t in a preferred BCS conference — though Utah State has clearly held its own, and then some, against BCS teams.
Proof of their standing is a win against Utah. But like the near-wins at Wisconsin and BYU, the Aggies have suffered from a lack of national attention simply because the Utes have had an off year.
That the Badgers, Cougars and Utes all seem to be headed to a bowl game — provided Utah wins three of its last four — seems to slowly be changing public sentiment about Utah State, though it’s also true the Aggies clinched their bowl trip two weeks ago.
Utah State also has not had the fortune of current Top 25 and WAC foe Louisiana Tech, having played and beaten BCS conference teams like Illinois, Virginia and taken No. 22 Texas A&M to the wire before losing.
But if you look at Tech’s slate it appears different than Utah State’s, in that the Bulldogs haven’t played anyone with a winning record. Moreover, La Tech has defeated more teams with losing records than the Aggies.
Tech’s biggest win of the season was over a 4-4 Houston team that was also typical of another La Tech shootout: the Bulldogs won 56-49.
In fact, in all but one game this season Louisiana Tech has allowed 24 points or more — while Utah State has only allowed more than 20 points in just two games, the win over Utah of the Pac-12 and the win over 6-2 San Jose State.
But the real conundrum of leaving a great Utah State team out of the Top 25 comes when you look at the polls and a whopping nine teams — 10 when you count a three-loss Arizona squad — have two or more losses.
The Aggies have played everyone to the wire, and unlike Louisiana Tech which has scored 53 points per game and allowed an average of 35 this season, Utah State has defeated its last three opponents by an average of 29 points — while scoring 46.
Which team would you rather take right now?
Sometimes coaches and media like to see numbers. But when it all comes down to those same numbers, you want a team in a bowl game that can play defense.
Utah State is not only explosive on offense, the Aggies shine on defense and are ranked in the Top 20 in four statistical categories.
That alone should tell voters they’re making a mistake and choosing the wrong WAC team in the Top 25.
It is not the first time — nor will it be the last — that Utah State, in the tiny town of Logan and picturesque farming community of Cache Valley, has been forgotten.
For years, its perennially successful mens basketball team has been the subject of numerous omissions by the NCAA Tournament Committee.
But the football Aggies will have their chance to silence all the doubters and put Top 25 billing in their own hands when Utah State and Louisiana Tech meet on Nov. 17 to decide the WAC championship.
For more on Utah State football, stay tuned to quadrust.com