Utah's Meyer honored, relieved by national ranking

Updated: October 19, 2003, 3:42 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah football coach Urban Meyer is both honored and relieved that his Utes are finally in the national rankings.

"I think that's a sign you're getting national respect," Meyer said Sunday after Utah (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West Conference) entered The Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 24.

And now, after the Utes lingered for two weeks in the "others receiving votes" category of the poll, Meyer said Utah fans can focus on something else.

"This whole town, that's all they talked about the last two weeks," he said of his relief for a subject change. "It's time to move on and keep playing."

Utah has racked up five straight wins since losing 28-26 to Texas A&M during the second game of the season.

The Utes only started getting national notice and some poll points after a 17-13 upset of then-19th ranked Oregon on Oct. 3, but not enough to get into the Top 25.

The Utes followed the upset with 27-6 win over San Diego State on Oct. 10 and a 28-10 win over UNLV on Saturday before cracking the poll.

"The last five weeks, we've played really well," said Meyer, in his first year at Utah. He was hired in December from Bowling Green, where he compiled a 17-6 record in two seasons.

Utah is off to its best start since 1999, when they posted the same record.

However, they haven't been in the Top 25 since 1996, when the Utes opened the season 7-1 and were ranked as high as No. 20.

While the honor of the national ranking is nice, Meyer said it means nothing in the volatile Mountain West Conference, where a team that loses its focus can easily get beaten.

"With that respect comes a great deal of responsibility," he said.

Utah and Air Force entered weekend games as the only undefeated MWC teams, but the Falcons were beaten by Colorado State.

The Utes became bowl eligible with Saturday's win at UNLV, their eighth straight victory over the Rebels.

"Are we a Top 25 team?" Meyer said. "You never know till the end of the season."

But he plans to make use of it while he can by peppering letterheads and envelopes with "Top 25 Team" on them before they are sent to high school athletes.

"I think it's a big-time boost for recruiting," Meyer said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index