I am grateful to again have a vote in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 media poll for the 2022 season. I’ll publish my ballot every week and provide some reasoning for my order.
Notes at the bottom.
FCS Top 25
25. UC Davis
24. North Dakota
19. Southeastern Louisiana University
16. Rhode Island
14. New Hampshire
13. Jackson State
10. Incarnate Word
9. William & Mary
6. Holy Cross
5. Weber State
4. Sacramento State
3. North Dakota State
2. Montana State
1. South Dakota State
I reevaluate my order every week, which can result in big jumps and falls. I don’t like to slot teams based on last week’s order since every week of more games we get a clearer picture. So Team A can jump Team B even if both teams had similar wins. And a team can drop even after wins or a bye based on what happens all across the country.
Dropping from my ballot this week is Southern Illinois, Austin Peay, and Campbell.
Campbell is 4-4 after losing to unranked NC A&T. Austin Peay is 5-3 after losing big to Jacksonville State. I was close to keeping APSU in because EKU just beat ranked SEMO, and EKU and APSU have similar resumes and APSU has a head-to-head over EKU. And SIU lost its second straight game, this time to UNI, to move to 5-4.
Taking those three spots are Elon, UND, and UC Davis.
UC Davis could be questioned, I get that. But I think the Aggies are playing like a Top 25 team. They are 4-4 and have crushed their opponents in those wins, including three in a row. The losses are to P5 Cal, by two points at now-No. 1 SDSU, by five points vs. now-No. 5 Weber, and by 17 points at now-No. 3 Montana State. UND is back in at 5-3 overall and 5-2 vs. the FCS. While the wins may not pop off the currently-ranked wins page, the Fighting Hawks have a 5-3 overall record in the 5th toughest strength of schedule in the FCS. Elon is a bit tough to figure out at 6-3 overall and 6-2 vs. the FCS. It did have a two-game losing streak to ranked Rhody and UNH, which made me drop them. But Elon just picked up its third ranked win of the season over Delaware (also W&M and Richmond) in a decisive win.
The CAA is a jumbled mess right now.
I ranked W&M the highest at 7-1 overall with wins over Delaware and Rhody, an FBS win, and a loss to Elon. Then it’s UNH at 6-1 vs. the FCS with a win over Elon (loss to NC Central). Then it’s Rhody at 5-2 vs. the FCS with a win over Elon and losses to Delaware and W&M. Then it’s Elon at 6-2 vs. the FCS with losses to Rhody and UNH and wins over W&M, Richmond, and Delaware. Then it’s Delaware at 6-2 overall with an FBS win, a win over Rhody, and losses to W&M and Elon. Finally, it’s Richmond at 6-1 vs. the FCS with a loss to Elon and no wins yet over the other five.
Holy smokes, I hope I got all that down in the CAA…
The SoCon has four teams ranked for me. Furman just beat Chattanooga, so Samford is my highest-ranked SoCon team now at 7-0 vs. the FCS and a win over Furman. Furman moves up my ballot at 6-1 vs. the FCS. And Chattanooga is right behind Furman at 6-1 vs. the FCS. Mercer is behind those three at 7-1 vs. the FCS with the loss to Chattanooga.
My Top 5 stays the same. NDSU looked better overall against Illinois State (who was 5-2), while Sac State played with fire in the final minutes for the second straight week. But hey, it’s still two ranked wins over Montana and Idaho. A win at Weber next week may finally push Sac State over NDSU for me, but we’ll see how the Bison look against their competition (recently-ranked teams SIU and UND still to come) and if they show signs of peaking toward the playoffs. The Top 4 can be interchangeable in different orders as long as NDSU isn’t No. 1 in those orders, all with defendable reasons.
Holy Cross and UIW moved up some spots after they keep winning. Montana dropped a few spots after another close loss to a highly-ranked team (Weber), but it has lost three straight to sit at 5-3. SEMO is another team that dropped some spots after its first FCS loss to unranked EKU.