The FCS poll that HERO Sports' Sam Herder and I vote in is the official media poll put out by Craig Haley and STATS. Below you'll find my weekly take on where I think teams should fit in, based on the final results of the weekend, etc etc.
A precursor (so readers understand the reasoning) … if an FCS team lost to an FBS team, they won't drop massively (or at all) because of that loss — and if they took it down to the wire, I may even reward the FCS team if the circumstances allow for it. If an FCS beat up on a D-2 or NAIA team? I'll never vote for them to rise. An FBS win or a D-2/NAIA loss will always significantly affect my vote. I want my ballot to basically reflect FCS on FCS action, with an FBS win being a bonus, or a lower division loss being reason to drop a team several spots. I also will never drop a team and rarely will float a team up if they're idle that weekend. I'll wait for the next result.
[divider]MORE FCS FOOTBALL:
EXPLAIN YOUR WORK
(full ballot is below)
QUICK SUMMARY: Nothing changes at the top of my poll ballot. Two of the top three were idle and my No. 1 (James Madison) looked like a No. 1 on the road in a complete thrashing of a pretty solid Elon program, 45-10. That Villanova (5-0) game at home in two weeks continues to loom larger and larger for JMU, but a 4-1 Stony Brook team is up next this week so the Dukes can't look too far ahead. NDSU and SDSU enter MVFC play this week too as October is here. By the way, Villanova is the only 5-0 team in the FCS and off to its hottest start since it won the national championship in 2009, going 14-1.
MCLAUGHLIN: Why James Madison Stays At No. 1?
THE RISE: The biggest risers were the Big Sky teams. There has been a big flip in recent weeks between the Eastern Washington/UC Davis duo swapping out with Montana, Montana State and Weber State trio. I pushed the Griz ahead of the other two based on their blowout road win over UC Davis — by a margin even NDSU would respect (Griz were up 31 points late in the game). Montana State had arguably the best rally of the year in the FCS and stormed back to hammer NAU, while Weber State put a nice cherry on top with the Big Sky-MVFC challenge by beating a solid UNI team (though the MVFC won the 2019 challenge 6 wins to 4). Also with a considerable bump up was SE Louisiana, which continues to quietly ascend behind the arm of QB Chason Virgil.
THE FALL: I had to drop four teams from the poll that we (HERO Sports) had in our preseason poll. Three of the teams (Maine, Elon and The Citadel) we chalk up to brutal FCS schedules and they just haven't come out on the right side of most of them. Jacksonville State is our Jekyll and Hyde team. The Gamecocks are good, and trust us … they will ruin some unsuspecting team's season at some point this year. But it's hard to know what you're going to get week in and week out from this program. Austin Peay took the Gamecocks to the woodshed in arguably the Governors' biggest win in decades. We'll talk more about APSU below.
STAYING STATIC: For the most part, the Idle teams, FBS losers and NAIA winners all stayed put or were budged maybe one spot based on what other teams did.
NEW BLOOD: We had a lot of room for "new blood". I'm a tad bit tentative on this because I moved up two teams I've been "considering" for a few weeks, and both were Idle this week. SEMO and Southern Illinois have been intriguing all year, what with SIU's blowout win over an FBS and a solid win over a decent UT Martin team as well. And in turn, SEMO beat SIU too. Also, after Delaware's near upset of P5 Pittsburgh this weekend on the Three Rivers, it's time to give the Blue Hens some poll love after denying them all year. I was wrong, Delaware, you all rebuild faster than most. Also, Stony Brook moves into the ballot at 4-1, but the Seawolves need some signature wins in October to stay there.
MORE DATA: There are some intriguing teams out there, and the first two that come to mind are Tennessee Tech and Houston Baptist. They are a combined 8-2 with the two losses being to FBS teams (and HBU's was by only two points). I think they're both just one quality FCS win away from cracking my Top 25 list. Keep an eye on these programs … could they be this year's version of the 2017 Austin Peay team? And speaking of the Governors (3-2) … one, maybe two, more FCS wins and they'll be on this ballot. They just have to drown out the ETSU loss on their resume.[divider]
B-MAC'S FCS POLL BALLOT
|NO||WEEK 5 BALLOT||REC||WEEK 5 RESULT||WEEK 5 NOTES|
|1||JMU||4-1||Won at Elon 45-10||Impressive win vs. good team|
|2||NDSU||4-0||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|3||SDSU||3-1||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|4||VILLANOVA||5-0||Won Maine 33-17||Very impressive win|
|5||FURMAN||3-2||Won ETSU 17-10||3 FCS wins, 2 tight FBS losses|
|6||ILLLINOIS ST.||3-1||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|7||MONTANA||4-1||Won at UC Davis 45-20||Massive win for Griz|
|8||MONTANA ST.||4-1||Won NAU 49-31||Huge comeback home win|
|9||WEBER||2-2||Won UNI 29-17||Big win – two FBS losses by 6|
|10||TOWSON||3-2||LOST AT P5 Florida 38-0||Don't drop teams with P5 loss|
|11||UCA||3-1||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|12||NICHOLLS||2-2||LOST AT FBS Texas St 24-3||Don't drop FBS losses|
|13||YOUNGSTOWN||4-0||Won Robert Morris 45-10||Solid win once again for YSU|
|14||YALE||2-0||Won Cornell 27-16||Up-and-down win – won't move|
|15||UC DAVIS||2-3||LOST MONTANA 45-20||Bumped down considerably|
|16||UNI||2-2||LOST AT Weber St. 29-17||This one hurts Panthers|
|17||NC A&T||3-1||Won Delaware St. 37-0||Complete win, 3-0 vs FCS|
|18||KSU||4-1||Won NAIA Reinhardt 31-7||Can't budge a low-div win|
|19||SE LOUISIANA||3-1||Won at NW State 44-27||Within 5 of Ole Miss in 4th Q|
|20||SACRAMENTO ST.||2-2||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|21||PRINCETON||2-0||Won Bucknell 56-23||Solid win|
|22||SEMO||2-2||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|23||SIU||2-2||IDLE||Don't drop Idle teams|
|24||DELAWARE||3-2||LOST TO P5 Pitt 17-14||Performance vs. Pitt was strong|
|25||STONY BROOK||4-1||Won Rhode Isl. 31-27||Needs signature win|
|AC||MAINE||2-3||LOST TO V'NOVA 33-17||Have to drop now|
|AC||TENN TECH||4-1||Won at Eastern Ill. 40-28||Need more results|
|AC||HOUSTON BAPT.||4-1||Won Tex. Southern 68-31||Need more results|
|AC||SAMFORD||3-2||Won The Citadel 61-55 (OT)||3-game win streak|
|AC||CCSU||3-1||IDLE||FCS loss in final sec's lst wk|
|DRP||MAINE||2-3||LOST TO V'NOVA 33-17||Have to drop now|
|DRP||ELON||2-3||LOST TO JMU 45-10||Have to drop now|
|DRP||THE CITADEL||2-3||LOST TO Samford 61-55 (4OT)||Have to drop now|
|DRP||JACKSONVILLE ST.||3-2||LOST TO AUSTIN PEAY 52-33||Have to drop now|
NEXT: FCS Playoff Predictions After Week 5
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