Pollsters showing Cougars little love

There was speculation last week that Brigham Young might face a Bowl Championship Series ceiling even if the Cougars kept winning.

Such talk seemingly was confirmed this week.

BYU defeated Utah State 34-14 on Friday, but failed to score style points against one of the nation’s worst teams. The Cougars paid for it in the polls, falling one spot in The Associated Press (to No. 9) and USA Today (to No. 8) rankings. They remained ninth in the Harris Poll.

The USA Today and Harris polls count for two-thirds of the BCS formula, and those standings will be released for the first time Oct. 19. Computers make up the final third.

Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall insisted Tuesday he doesn’t care about polls or the style points required to impress voters. He said it was more important to build a respectable and consistent program than to keep the starters in a game long decided.

“To sacrifice that for margin of victory, I don’t think would be wise,” Mendenhall said.

BYU looked as if it would have an easy night against Utah State, taking a 24-0 lead in the first quarter. But then the Cougars essentially took the rest of the game off.

“I’m not sure (our players) took our foot off the gas,” Mendenhall said. “I think they did become distracted. I don’t think they played with the same energy, poise, diligence they started the game with.”

The Cougars might have lost at the polls even with the victory, but they still retain the respect of their Mountain West Conference brethren.

“I just don’t see anybody beating them right now,” Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.

• HURTING QBS — Air Force and San Diego State, opponents this Saturday, have questions at quarterback.

Air Force’s Shea Smith had to come out of Saturday’s 33-27 loss to Navy after suffering from dizziness and nausea. He did not have a concussion, as initially feared, but was feeling the effects of a virus.

Smith didn’t practice Monday, but Falcons coach Troy Calhoun expected him to be OK by gameday.

The situation is a little more serious with the Aztecs’ Ryan Lindley, who has a separated throwing shoulder. Drew Westling is the backup.

“We think (Lindley will) start throwing by Wednesday,” coach Chuck Long said. “At least that’s what we project at this point.”

• BEATEN AND BEATEN UP — Lindley’s injury is minor compared to what the Aztecs (1-4) have experienced.

They have lost 15 players to season-ending injuries, including seven starters.

Long said he and his staff plan to evaluate what might be leading to so many injuries.

“I get a kick when I listen to a coach on ESPN’s postgame talking about losing one guy or two guys,” Long said. “Try losing 15.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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