I am grateful to have a vote in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 poll. I will publish my Top 25 every week for everyone to see, and I’m sure rationally discuss with a clear lens.
Some notes at the bottom.
25. Rhode Island
24. Alabama A&M
23. Kennesaw State
20. Holy Cross
19. Weber State
17. UT Martin
16. Northern Iowa
14. Southeastern Louisiana University
13. Missouri State
11. Eastern Washington
9. North Dakota
8. Montana State
7. UC Davis
6. Southern Illinois
5. North Dakota State
3. James Madison
2. Sam Houston
1. South Dakota State
Seven teams on my ballot last week lost — 7. Weber State, 15. Monmouth, 16. Central Arkansas, 17. Jacksonville State, 19. Villanova (FBS), 22. Austin Peay, 23. Furman
So that caused some shuffling.
Weber may be 1-3 overall (1-2 vs. the FCS), but I still think the Wildcats would beat teams 20-25 on this week’s ballot. UC Davis’ win at Weber slides the Aggies from No. 10 to No. 7.
Villanova ended up sliding up some spots despite losing 38-17 to No. 7 Penn State, which is more of a product of teams losing, although I do think Nova is a very talented team. I have them at No. 15, while the Stats Perform poll slots them at No. 12.
Central Arkansas, Jacksonville State, Austin Peay, and Furman left my ranking. The four teams that entered are UT Martin, Holy Cross, Mercer, and Rhode Island.
I don’t love Rhode Island’s strength of wins just yet as part of its 3-0 record, but Rhody is more deserving of a Top 25 spot than other teams. And it has a good shot to be 5-1 by mid-October.
Mercer is an improving program that went 5-3 in SoCon play in the spring. Its 24-3 win at Furman was really impressive. The Bears are just 1-0 against FCS opponents now with a win against Point and a 48-14 loss to Alabama, so I am still somewhat unsure about the best spot for the team right now.
Holy Cross has an FBS win against UConn and throttled Monmouth, who I was very high on this offseason. A 35-21 loss to Merrimack coming off of the FBS win will make some voters pause, which is fair. I think that was just a massive emotional letdown loss for the Crusaders, and its overall 3-1 record (including a win against a good Yale program) is solid.
UT Martin took down JSU, which is part of why the Skyhawks went from unranked to No. 17 for me. I definitely didn’t think JSU was the No. 9 team in the country at the time of the win, but a great victory for UT Martin nonetheless. The Skyhawks are 3-1 overall and 3-0 against the FCS, including a 33-27 win against Samford, a team that just took ranked ETSU to overtime before losing 55-48.
I decided to keep Monmouth in my ranking despite losing big to Holy Cross. I already had Kennesaw ranked, and I still have a hard time picking against Monmouth to win the Big South. So I kept the Hawks in the Top 25 for now, and we’ll see how they do in conference play. Talent-wise, Monmouth should be a Top 25 team. Let’s see how well the team rebounds.
To be honest, I don’t feel great about my teams 21-25. I won’t fight arguments as to why those five teams should not be ranked. But I also think there are good arguments to ranking them.
Lastly, Montana and NDSU go on the road to face Top 10 teams. I think SDSU, SHSU, and JMU have shown us how good they are with their wins. NDSU is still questionable on if the Bison are good, great, or elite with three weak non-conference opponents. And yes, I know Montana beat Washington. That (obviously) tells me this team is legit. But I’ve always said playing a highly-ranked FCS team is a better gauge than a P5 win when figuring out just where a team stands nationally.
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.