The state championship game is impossible to overlook: the trophy, the rings, the celebration. It's what every football player dreams of achieving.
But in the larger context, a few Utah teams could wind up pretty high in the national rankings if they win this week.
The one that shouldn't surprise anyone is Jordan. The No. 1-ranked 5A team has been at the top of the heap all year, and the Beetdiggers have a chance to prove it once and for all if they can beat undefeated Syracuse this Friday.
After a loss to St. John Bosco a month and a half ago, Jordan has rebounded in the rankings, thanks in part to its propensity to score big and a high-profile player in quarterback Austin Kafentzis. Maxpreps.com has the Diggers listed at No. 37 nationally, while Rivals.com lists them as a more conservative No. 67 after they beat Lone Peak 35-14 last week.
Although Jordan is the only top 100 team in the Rivals rankings, Timpview is also in Maxpreps' top 50, weighing in at No. 46 after toppling East in a snowy semifinal. By beating Mountain Crest, the Thunderbirds stand to go even higher, and perhaps crack Rivals' top teams, depending on the fashion they win in.
That isn't to say the other two teams in those contests don't have a national rep. In fact, Syracuse is listed as the No. 71 team, thanks much in part to its undefeated season and wins over Alta and Bingham back-to-back. It's possible that the Titans could dip into the top 50 with a win on Friday and a 13-0 perfect season.
Mountain Crest is further back, at No. 146. A win over Timpview could give them a bump as well top 100 if they're lucky.
Not many coaches or players will be worried about the numbers/poll games as they prepare for the state championships. But for fans of Utah football, it's something to chew on.