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September 28, 2009BOISE, Idaho (AP) Boise State coach Chris Petersen isn't convinced his Broncos are the fifth best team in the country, no matter what the polls say.
No. 5 Boise State has never been ranked higher during the regular season. The Broncos went undefeated in 2006 and finished the season ranked fifth.
Top-ranked Florida, Texas and Alabama are the overwhelming top three in the AP poll, and the Harris and USA Today coaches' poll. Boise State (4-0) from the Western Athletic Conference has benefited from a slew of highly ranked team losing in the first month of the season.
"Everybody is saying the same thing: 'I've got my first three figured out, and after that, I have no idea," said Petersen, who votes in the coaches' poll. "I just don't pay attention to it right now. If at the end of the year, we're right there with those guys, playing who we're going to play, and we can be ranked among those guys, that would be something."
The Broncos, who will be heavily favored in their remaining games, not only have a chance to break into the Bowl Championship Series for the second time, but they have to be considered at least dark horse contenders to reach the national championship game.
Petersen said he fears his players will try to live up to unrealistic expectations created by being ranked so high - and consequently perform below their potential.
To guard against overconfidence heading into Saturday's game against UC Davis, Petersen ordered players to run extra after their Sunday practice did not satisfy him.
"Some guys weren't giving their best effort. So we ran some more," said Petersen, who played quarterback for UC Davis in the mid-1980s.
Receiver Titus Young, who has scored six touchdowns, is doing extra drills as punishment for a penalty he was assessed after celebrating a score in last week's victory against Bowling Green.
"You'll probably notice his arms and legs and stomach being a little bit bigger for it this next weekend," Petersen said.
Boise State lost another starter for the season to a knee injury.
Defensive tackle Chuck Hayes was injured against Bowling Green. Two weeks ago against Fresno State, running back D.J. Harper also suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Petersen said freshman defensive tackle Michael Atkinson can play against UC Davis after a summer drunken driving arrest resulted in his suspension. Greg Grimes, another freshman defensive tackle, is due to return from a leg injury.