LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Following its 45-9 win against Idaho in its season finale, Utah State climbed five spots in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 as the Aggies are now ranked 20th in the nation. USU also entered the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll this week for the first time in school history and is ranked 22nd nationally.
The Aggies also cracked the top-25 BCS rankings, coming in at #24.
In the AP poll, Utah State garnered 274 votes, up from 82 votes a week ago, when the Aggies were tied for 25th in the nation. In the coaches’ poll, USU received 264 votes this week after getting 74 votes last week when it was ranked 26th nationally.
With its ranking, Utah State has now appeared in the Associated Press polls in consecutive weeks for just the second time in school history joining the 1960 team that was ranked 18th and 19th nationally in back-to-back weeks.
Prior to the 2012 season, the last time a Utah State team was nationally ranked was in 1978 when that Aggie team started the year with a 5-0 record and was 18th in the country in the United Press International (UPI) poll. As for the AP poll, it is the first time USU has been nationally ranked since finishing the 1961 season 10th in the country. Overall, it is just the fifth time in school history that USU has been nationally ranked in the weekly AP poll.
Utah State has slowly been climbing up the national polls this year as it received its first AP vote of the season following its 27-20 overtime home win against Utah in the second week of the year. Four weeks ago, USU received four votes in the coaches’ poll to rank 39th in the nation following its 48-17 road win at UTSA. Three weeks ago, USU garnered 13 votes in the coaches’ poll to rank 35th nationally and four votes in the AP poll to rank 40th following a 38-7 home win against Texas State. Two weeks ago, USU received 20 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll to rank 31st nationally and four votes in the AP poll to rank tied for 36th in the nation. And last week, USU was ranked tied for 25th in the nation in the AP poll with 82 votes and 26th in the coaches’ poll with 74 votes.
Prior to this season, the last time Utah State received votes in any poll was at the end of the 1993 campaign when it garnered one vote in the final AP poll after defeating Ball State, 42-33, in the Las Vegas Bowl II to finish the year with a 7-5 record.
Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) just completed its most successful regular season in school history as it set single-season records for wins (10) and home wins (6), while recording its first outright league championship since 1936 and its 11th in school history as it became the first team in USU history to post a 6-0 conference record.
Utah State, who officially joins the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, concludes WAC play with an 11-game winning streak. Overall, USU has won each of its last six games this year to rank tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in school history and tied for the sixth-longest active winning streak in the nation. In all, Utah State has now won 15 of its last 18 games to rank as the best 18-game stretch in school history since the 1962-64 teams also won 15 of 18 games.
Nationally, Utah State is one of just 18 teams with 10 or more wins on the season and USU is one of just four teams across the country who have not lost a league game joining Ohio State (8-0) from the Big Ten and Kent State (8-0) and Northern Illinois (8-0) from the Mid-American Conference.
Utah State will conclude its 2012 season at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) against a team yet to be announced from the Mid-American Conference. USU, who also played in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, is appearing in back-to-back bowl games for just the third time in school history joining the 1946 Raisin Bowl and 1947 Grape Bowl teams, and the 1960 Sun Bowl and 1961 Gotham Bowl teams. Overall, it is USU’s eighth bowl appearance in school history.