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. — as well as taking the entire season into account.
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: NDSU's big win over SDSU has set the tone not only for the regular season but also for playoff seedings and when and where potential rematches may happen in the postseason. Also, now we get the Top 5 matchup of the Big Sky season with Weber State traveling to Sacramento State this weekend — they're both undefeated against the FCS this year. That result will likely settle who is tops in the Big Sky and will also move SDSU back into a top four spot (at least it should be). Here's a stat for you: Of the Top 8 teams on my ballot below (essentially "seeds"), these eight teams have combined for only five FCS losses. Three of those five FCS losses are to NDSU (SDSU, Ill. St., UNI), and two are to the Big Sky teams mentioned above (Weber St. and Sac. State). The cream is rising to the top, folks.
THE RISE: As far as massive movement upwards, that goes to Stony Brook moving up six spots after the big win against Villanova, just two weekends removed from also taking James Madison to overtime on Long Island. Also, I slid North Dakota in. UND is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde tough call. The Montana State win was big, and the program has won three of its last four and has beaten teams that have been ranked this year. We'll see if this sticks, but I felt obligated to put UND in ahead of Montana State … who beat SEMO … who beat Southern Illinois. I think all of these teams need to be in the poll right now — in that order. For now.
THE FALL: Sam Houston State, Nicholls and UT Martin will drop for now. All three suffered disappointing losses after looking like the stronger teams in their conferences coming into the weekend. But as we've seen in the past in the OVC and Southland, anything can change. Don't count these three out. Also, it is worth noting — especially in the No. 15 to 25 range — that some programs were leapfrogged a spot or two by other programs. This wasn't as much a statement about teams like FAMU, NC A&T and CCSU etc as it was the teams that ended up above them.
STAYING STATIC: I made a conscience choice to keep Central Arkansas at No. 15 for instance, because UCA has been shaky and I'm not ready to let the Bears float upwards, especially in light of some of the brutal injuries this program is weathering. Also, for the time being, I'm going to keep the Ivy teams static until Princeton and Dartmouth play in two weeks and settle the league. Also as stated previously, I really want to see Kennesaw State get a quality win (Monmouth?) because bumping the Owls upwards any further.
NEW BLOOD: Speaking of Monmouth, it hasn't been on my ballot all year, but consider this: The Hawks have lost to an FBS (Western Michigan) and a ranked Top 10 FCS (Montana). That's it. Monmouth also has an impressive win over Albany, a CAA team that is working its way into at-large playoff contention. The real test for Monmouth is this week at Kennesaw State, and the Campbell game later also looms large. If Monmouth wins these two games, it'll be the automatic playoff berth team from the Big South, but even if it has a close loss to KSU and finished 9-3, the Hawks may be in fringe at-large playoff contention. Also, I slid a surging Alcorn State team back in after several weeks, as the Braves have won five in a row and are clearly the team to beat in the SWAC (and I still think is going to surge to win the Celebration Bowl … I haven't budged from that preseason prediction).
MORE DATA: I think I need just one or two more strong showings from Albany, San Diego, The Citadel etc before sliding them in. Of course, that's all based on the teams above them too — but they've been playing well. By the time you get to this point on your ballot, you have teams with at least one serious hiccup on their resumes, if not more than one. The question is, which hiccup hurts the most?[divider]
B-MAC'S FCS POLL BALLOT
(LW – Last week's B-Mac ballot)
|NO||WEEK 9 BALLOT||REC||STRK||LW||WEEK 9 RESULT||WEEK 9 NOTES|
|1||NDSU||8-0||W8||1||Won at SDSU 23-16||Another big win for Bison|
|2||JMU||8-1||W8||2||Won vs. Towson 27-10||Shut down a good Towson offense|
|3||SACRAMENTO ST.||6-2||W4||4||Won at Cal Poly 38-14||Continue to impress, greatly|
|4||WEBER||6-2||W5||5||Won at UC Davis 36-20||Massive comeback – 2 FBS losses|
|5||SDSU||6-2||L1||3||LOST VS. NDSU 23-16||Not dropping much after close loss|
|6||ILLINOIS ST.||6-2||W3||7||Won vs. Indiana St. 24-7||Big one with UNI at home this wk|
|7||UNI||5-3||W2||8||Won at Missouri St., 29-6||Formidable MVFC team|
|8||MONTANA||6-2||W1||9||Won vs. Eastern Wash. 34-17||Strong 2nd half rally|
|9||PRINCETON||6-0||W6||10||Won vs. Harvard 30-24||Dartmouth is Nov. 9|
|10||VILLANOVA||6-2||L2||6||LOST VS. Stony Brook 36-35||Last second loss vs. rankable team|
|11||KSU||7-1||W6||12||Won vs. North Alabama 41-17||Continues to roll vs. Big South|
|12||FURMAN||5-3||W1||13||Won at West. Carolina 28-7||Paladins get back on track|
|13||WOFFORD||5-2||W5||14||Won vs. Chattanooga (OT) 35-34||Five wins in a row now|
|14||STONY BROOK||5-3||W1||20||Won at Villanova 36-35||Last second win vs. good team|
|15||UCA||6-2||W3||15||Won vs. Sam Houston 29-25||Another big win, despite injuries|
|16||DARTMOUTH||6-0||W6||16||Won vs. Columbia 59-24||Hosts Princeton in 2 weeks|
|17||NORTH DAKOTA||5-3||W2||OUT||Won vs. Montana St. 16-14||Up and down at times|
|18||MONTANA ST.||5-3||L2||11||LOST AT North Dakota 16-12||Needs to drop considerably|
|19||FAMU||7-1||W7||17||Won at Morgan St. 24-12||Lone loss to FBS UCF|
|20||NC A&T||5-2||W1||18||Won vs. Howard 64-6||Impressive bounceback after FAMU|
|21||CCSU||7-1||W4||19||Won vs. LIU 28-0||Still rolling – loss was to FBS|
|22||SEMO||5-3||W2||23||Won vs. UT Martin 17-10||Very much in OVC title mix|
|23||SOUTHERN ILL.||4-4||W2||24||Won at South Dakota 48-28||Three winnable games ahead|
|24||MONMOUTH||6-2||W4||AC||Won at Char Southern 35-13||Can Hawks beat KSU this wk?|
|25||ALCORN ST.||6-2||W5||AC||Won vs. Southern 27-13||Braves are rolling in SWAC play|
|AC||ALBANY||5-3||W2||AC||IDLE||Don't budge with idle teams|
|AC||SAN DIEGO||5-2||W5||AC||Won at Dayton 50-38||USD has now won 33 straight in PFL|
|AC||THE CITADEL||5-4||W2||AC||Won vs Mercer 35-24||Bulldogs beginning to roll|
|AC||YALE||5-1||W2||AC||Won at Penn 46-41||Were pushed by Penn|
|AC||NEW HAMP.||4-3||L1||OUT||IDLE||Win over Stony Brook interesting|
|AC||YOUNGSTOWN||5-3||W1||OUT||Won vs. West Ill. 59-14||1-3 in MVFC is the big issue now|
|AC||SE LOUISIANA||4-3||W1||OUT||Won at HBU 52-13||Didn't hesitate to hammer HBU|
|AC||AUSTIN PEAY||5-3||W1||OUT||Won at Tenn Tech 58-21||Tenn St was a real hiccup last wk|
|DRP||SAM HOUSTON ST.||5-4||L1||21||LOST AT UCA 29-25||Bearkats now lead Southland|
|DRP||NICHOLLS||4-4||L2||22||LOST vs. Abilene Chr. 37-31||Have to drop now|
|DRP||UT MARTIN||5-3||L1||25||LOST AT SEMO 17-10||Tie game until late INT return|
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