Utah's journey to the Bowl Championship Series rankings didn't happen overnight.
"This all started in January and February. This didn't start in August," said coach Urban Meyer. "That's why I love these guys. I love their work ethic."
Though intrigued by where the Utes land in this season's inaugural Bowl Championship Series rankings, which will be released today (noon, ESPNEWS), Meyer is confident it won't be a distraction.
There's no chance, he added, because Utah's coaching staff and team leadership won't allow it.
"We're too workmanlike," said Meyer. "It's a workmanlike mentality."
Utah (6-0) is one of just seven undefeated teams remaining in Division I-A football. On Sunday, the Utes moved up two spots to No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25. They remained 10th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
"This is the time when you can kind of enjoy it for the day and a half you can," said quarterback Alex Smith. "Come Monday or Tuesday, when we really start game-planning (for UNLV), we're not going to have much time to look into it."
The Utes, he added, are at least casually interested in what BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg will reveal today. Same goes for the weekly polls.
"Definitely. It's a nice reward to know that other people out there see (what we're doing) and give us some respect for it," said Smith.
The standings will be released each Monday through Nov. 29. The final rankings are scheduled to be posted on Sunday, Dec. 5. If Utah lands in the top six, an at-large bid to a BCS bowl is assured.
That possibility, however, is on the back burner as far as the Utes are concerned. They still face a season-ending stretch of five consecutive Mountain West Conference games.
The defending league champions still have plenty of work to do. Maintaining focus is of paramount importance.
And though his team was prepared for Saturday's 46-16 victory over North Carolina, Meyer said he screwed up by worrying about something other than the "target." The coach wasn't happy with comments ESPN analyst Trev Alberts made about his team and made that clear in his weekly press conference seven days ago.
"I shot my mouth off and you will not hear that again from me," said Meyer, who explained his impromptu remarks followed a radio interview where disrespect for the Utes was brought to light. "I love these players and I love their work ethic. When someone criticizes that, I'm going to fight for them.
"So in one respect, I do take it back. The other one, I'd go even harder if I could confront it," he continued. "Because these guys work too hard."