We're curious here at HERO Sports. We'd like to know who you think should be the FCS Team of the Month for September. Yes, James Madison is off to a fine start, as are teams like North Dakota State and North Carolina A&T, but those programs were expected to do well.
But which FCS teams have been the talk of September? Which teams have impressed the national scene, teams that maybe weren't properly talked about in the preseason? We think this list of teams (below) is a good start.
Here are some top candidates for Team of the Month – Sept. 2017 – for FCS Football. VOTE at the bottom of the page. POLL will be open until Noon Friday Pacific Time.
BR-78 AUSTIN PEAY (3-2)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: In August, the Governors were about to kick off their season against two FBS teams and owned one of the longest losing streaks in FCS history (27 games). But they played tough against Cincinnati in August, then hung with Miami-Ohio for several quarters — and since then they've been 3-0 against FCS opponents, including a shutout win over a very good UT Martin team. They get their big test this weekend against Jacksonville State at home, but regardless — this has been one of the most interesting stories of 2017 FCS football so far.
BR-61 COLUMBIA (3-0)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: When Al Bagnoli took this job, he wanted to take on a challenge. He and his staff recruited well, the school and athletic program in general wanted to improve things — and they are starting to see the fruits of their labor. Last week's win was over 2-0 Princeton, and this week's game against Marist (3-2) isn't a gimme, but it is winnable. The Lions haven't been 3-0 since 1996 — a year in which they actually began 6-0. It'll be interesting to see where all of this leads.
BR-58 ELON (4-1)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: Elon is just flat out getting it done, and a 4-0 month of September is incredible. Granted, some of the scores have been close, but when it matters the Phoenix have pushed through — with a true freshman quarterback too, I'll add in. The last two wins have been the most impressive. Richmond has one of the top quarterbacks in the country and has been a perennial winner, and Albany is talented and loaded and mad that its 7 wins weren't enough for the playoffs last year. What Elon doing is clearly the biggest surprise in the Colonial.
BR-6 SOUTH DAKOTA (4-0)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The Coyotes opened the month by torching one of the top teams in the Pioneer League — a Drake team that is 3-2 overall and one of the league leaders, meaning there's a chance it could make the playoffs. The next road win was at an FBS team (Bowling Green). Then USD lit the Dakota house on fire by annihilating a UND team that many felt may win the Big Sky Conference. Then USD took on one of the best teams in the Missouri Valley in WIU and beat it on the road.
Three road wins and a home blowout over a next-door neighbor rival in UND. There have been a bunch of hot starts in the Valley, but none sticks out more than what the Coyotes are doing.
BR-17 WEBER STATE (4-1)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The Big Sky Conference has been kind of like playing with a hot potato — few have reached up to grab it, except for Weber State. Maybe the Wildcats have the magic gloves or something. They're playing the best defense in the league by a mile (about 16 points per game given up) and the road win at Montana State was gutsy. Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona seem like they're starting to move in the right direction in the Big Sky, but right now Weber State is clearly playing the best football in the league.
BR-33 WESTERN CAROLINA (4-1)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The Catamounts didn't even play star RB Detrez Newsome against dreaded rival Chattanooga and they still blew out the Mocs, the most lopsided in that direction in many moons. This team is immensely talented on offense and makes clutch plays on defense. Could this team be the best in the Southern Conference? It has to prove it this weekend at Wofford, but it's possible. September was good for WCU.