A seventh consecutive win counts for something. Getting it over a conference opponent counts for something more. Shutting out that opponent, as UTSA did to Rice with a final score of 45-0 on Saturday? That’s more than “something”, that’s a statement. A statement that has helped see UTSA Football ranked for the first time ever. On Sunday morning, the Roadrunners ranked #25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and #24 in the AP Top 25 for Week 8.
It was already going to be a historic season for the Roadrunners who are celebrating the program’s 10th birthday. In his short time with the program, head coach Jeff Traylor has taken the team to the next level, built on a foundation of recruiting locally, and keeping the talent in Texas with UTSA.
When pressed for what it means to be the head coach of the program at this moment in its history, sitting at 7-0 (3-0), Traylor didn’t bite. “I’m not so naive to not understand how important that is, but I’m just not going to get outside of the line.”
“I’ll say this,” Traylor said when talking about the time he commits to the team on and off the field, “When you’re trying to flip a program or when you’re trying to start one… all of your energy is in those first three years. We really want to get this thing off the ground. We want this thing to last.”
Campaigning for Votes
For all of the efforts to “not eat the cheese”, the players are at least aware of the standings and the level at which they’ve played this season. With player awards coming in weekly, it is hard to miss, and then you look at the schedule.
Starting the season with a win over a Power Five opponent in Illinois on the road, ending Memphis’ home winning streak three weeks later, and traveling to Western Kentucky to beat a strong Rebels team will get you noticed. At home in the Alamodome, the Roadrunners have been dominant, out-scoring the visiting teams by a combined 150-30, inflated by two shutouts of 54-0 over Lamar University and Saturday’s 45-0 win over the Rice Owls. Still, the wins fit the modern requirements for the Top 25 polls – Don’t just win, win with style.
Rank US NOW!!!!! 7-0!!!!!!!
— Sincere McCormick 📍 (@yoboisin) October 17, 2021
Six of UTSA’s victories have met the “style” threshold. For the past three weeks, they’ve been increasingly recognized with votes to be ranked. After the Western Kentucky win in Week 6, the Roadrunners received the third-most votes of unranked teams, garnering 22 nods.
When asked after Saturday’s win over Rice if the Roadrunners deserve to be ranked, quarterback Frank Harris kept it politically correct. “That’s not in our control,” Harris said. “I mean, it’s whatever they pick. If not, then that’s cool. If they do, then we appreciate it.”
Star running back Sincere McCormick, however, is not mincing words, tweeting after the game “Rank US NOW!!!!! 7-0!!!!!!!”
With four ranked teams losing on Saturday, including third losses for Texas, Arkansas, and Florida, UTSA football is now ranked for the first time in school history. The previously only undefeated team outside of the standings, the honor was slow to come. Coach Traylor and his team, however, knew that cracking the Top 25 as such a young program was going to be difficult.
“You know, we’re a new school,” Traylor said to the media during his weekly call last Monday after the win over Western Kentucky. “Memphis thinks we’re the ‘United States Tennis Association [USTA]. People don’t even know what our initials stand for at times. We’re just new.” He went on to say, “If we’re good enough, we’ll end up there. If we’re not, we won’t. We control that.”
🚨 HISTORY IS MADE 🚨
Following the 45-0 shutout of Rice, UTSA is nationally ranked for the first time in program history.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 17, 2021
Now that they’re ranked #25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and #24 in the AP Top 25, the nation should be aware of the U-T-S-A Roadrunners, and what is brewing here in San Antonio. There’s no reason that staying unbeaten could see them get inside the Top 20 before all is said and done.