Cougars Ranked No. 17 in USA Today Poll

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PROVO, Utah (August 1, 2008) -- For the first time since the 1997 season, BYU will enter the season ranked among the nation's top-25 teams. After finishing with back-to-back 11-2 seasons, consecutive Mountain West Conference titles, and two straight bowl victories over Pac-10 opponents, the Cougars enter the 2008 season ranked No. 17 according to the USA Today Coaches Poll.

"I believe this acknowledgement is based upon the results over the past two seasons, as well as the intrigue that surrounds our program and its governing principles," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Being ranked in the preseason top-25 doesn't ensure a quality season. We will focus on the established pillars that have proven to be successful."

In 1997 the Cougars started the season ranked No. 17, but after battling through a 6-5 record, finished fifth in the WAC's Mountain Division.

"Being ranked in the preseason doesn't provide any guarantees," Mendenhall added. "Our goals will continue to be winning at home and winning the Mountain West Conference. We will not focus on an undefeated season or going to a BCS game. While that pressure exists, and we acknowledge that it has been and will continue to be talked about, our focus will be on doing our personal best, and doing it as a collective unit on a daily basis."

A total of 61 head football coaches from around the country participate in the weekly poll--one of two national polls used to help calculate the BCS Standings.

The Cougars open the 2008 season in Provo on August 30 against Northern Iowa. The Panthers put together a 12-0 season and earned a No. 1 national ranking before losing to Delaware, 39-27, in the Championship Subdivision playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast


BYU FOOTBALL FACTS • BYU will enter the 2008 season with the nation's longest active winning streak • BYU has posted a 22-4 overall record over the past two seasons • BYU has recorded a perfect 16-0 record against Mountain West Conference opponents over the past two seasons • BYU has won 11 straight Mountain West Conference road games • BYU has won 12 straight games at LaVell Edwards Stadium • BYU has posted a 25.8 point margin of victory at Edwards Stadium over the past two seasons • BYU is one of only five teams in the country that have finished the past two seasons ranked in the top-15.

ALL-AMERICA WATCH BYU's Max Hall was the nation's top sophomore quarterback in 2008, passing for 3,848 yards.

Defensive end Jan Jorgensen finished the 2008 season with a single-season MWC record 14 sacks, which ranked tied for second in the nation.

Offensive lineman Ray Feinga recorded over 70 knock-down blocks as a junior in 2007 and did not allow a single sack all season

Entering his senior season, offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds has started 38 straight games and did not allow a single sack against MWC opponents last season.

Running back Harvey Unga set a MWC freshman record with 1,227 yards rushing, earning Freshman All-America and MWC Freshman-of-the-Year honors.

As a sophomore, tight end Dennis Pitta finished fifth nationally, averaging 63 yards per game.

Junior receiver Austin Collie led the BYU roster with 56 receptions for 946 yards in 2007, averaging nearly 73 yards per game.

USA Today Top 25 Poll

The Top 25 teams in the USA Today college football coaches
preseason poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2007
records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote
through one point for a 25th-place vote, and final ranking:
                        Record   Pts  Pvs
 1. Georgia (22)          11-2  1,438    3 
 2. USC (14)              11-2  1,430    2 
 3. Ohio State (14)       11-2  1,392    4 
 4. Oklahoma (3)          11-3  1,329    8 
 5. Florida (5)            9-4  1,293   16 
 6. LSU (3)               12-2  1,163    1 
 7. Missouri              12-2  1,143    5 
 8. West Virginia         11-2  1,008    6 
 9. Clemson                9-4    999   22 
10. Texas                 10-3    979   10 
11. Auburn                 9-4    888  t14 
12. Wisconsin              9-4    747   21 
13. Kansas                12-1    714    7 
14. Texas Tech             9-4    644   23 
15. Virginia Tech         11-3    568    9 
16. Arizona State         10-3    560   13 
17. Brigham Young         11-2    547  t14 
18. Tennessee             10-4    506   12 
19. Illinois               9-4    422   18 
20. Oregon                 9-4    399   24 
21. South Florida          9-4    350   NR 
22. Penn State             9-4    313   25 
23. Wake Forest            9-4    203   NR 
24. Michigan               9-4    112   19 
25. Fresno State           9-4     91   NR

Others Receiving Votes: Alabama 83, South Carolina 64, Utah 60, Rutgers 53, Florida State 53, Boston College 47, California 41, Pittsburgh 34, Boise State 25, Oregon State 23, Nebraska 17, Cincinnati 13, Virginia 12, Connecticut 9, Michigan State 9, Mississippi State 6, Kentucky 5, Notre Dame 5, TCU 5, Maryland 4, Texas A&M 3, UCLA 3, North Carolina 3, Louisville 2, Georgia Tech 2, UCF 2, Tulsa 1, Oklahoma State 1, Arizona 1, Colorado 1.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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