FCS Rankings: Power Poll Following Week 1

North Dakota State opens in midseason form; some impress in losses

FCSNew Hampshire and Jacksonville State have gotten the boot from the Athlon FCS Power Poll, but this also was the weekend to reserve judgment across much of the subdivision.

 

Much of the FCS was playing, and losing, to FBS programs in the first full week of college football. Plus, FCS powers beating Division II teams shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

 

There’s still so much shaking out ahead.

 

Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll for games through Sept. 2:

 

1. North Dakota State

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 49-3 win over Cal Poly

The defending FCS champ won the first of seven home games in the regular season, averaging over 10 yards per carry (45 for 458). Bruce Anderson racked up 185 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

Next Opponent: North Alabama (Sept. 15)

 

2. James Madison

(0-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 24-13 loss to NC State

Pitt transfer Ben DiNucci completes his first 15 passes, including a TD, and accounts for 276 yards of total offense in a solid debut. All-America cornerback Rashad Robinson is redshirting this season because of a preseason foot injury.

Next Opponent: at Norfolk State (Sept. 8)

 

3. South Dakota State

(0-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: Canceled against Iowa State

Severe weather stopped the game after four minutes of action. After the teams waited in the locker room for more than two hours, the game was scrapped.

Next Opponent: Montana State (Sept. 8)

 

4. Eastern Washington

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 58-13 win over Central Washington

The Eagles left no doubt with offensive balance (349 passing yards, 328 rushing yards). Wide receiver Nsimba Webster had a Cooper Kupp-like line with 10 receptions for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at Northern Arizona (Sept. 8)

 

5. Kennesaw State

(0-1, 0-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 20-17 loss to Georgia State

In their first-ever FBS matchup, the Owls let a win slip away late. On a night the offense was disappointing, linebackers Bryson Armstrong and Anthony Gore Jr. got off to strong starts.

Next Opponent: at Tennessee Tech (Sept. 6)

 

 

6. North Carolina A&T

(2-0, 0-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR

Last Week’s Result: 28-23 win over East Carolina

The Aggies even have depth. Quarterback Kylil Carter came off the bench behind 2017 MEAC offensive player of the year Lamar Raynard to throw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and extend the longest FCS winning streak to 14.

Next Opponent: Gardner-Webb (Sept. 8)

 

7. Villanova

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 19-17 win over Temple

Second-year head coach Mark Ferrante deserves an injury-free season after last year’s jolts to the team. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk’s three TD passes sparked the rousing FBS win.

Next Opponent: at Lehigh (Sept. 8)

 

8. Sam Houston State

(0-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: Bye

A bye means the Bearkats will play the final 11 weeks of the regular season. New quarterback Mike Dare is replacing two-time Walter Payton Award winner Jeremiah Briscoe. Yeah, no pressure.

Next Opponent: Prairie View A&M (Sept. 8)

 

9. Samford

(1-0, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 66-9 win over Shorter

Just another day at the office: Two-time SoCon offensive player of the year Devlin Hodges accounted for six TDs on nine series of action against Shorter.

Next Opponent: at Florida State (Sept. 8)

 

10. Nicholls

(1-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR
Last Week's Result: 26-23 (OT) win over Kansas

The Colonels came close to some FBS wins in recent years, including against Georgia. This time, quarterback Chase Fourcade’s four-yard touchdown run in overtime secured their fourth-ever FBS win, and the first against a Power 5 school.

Next Opponent: at Tulane (Sept. 8)

 

11. Wofford

(1-0, 1-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR

Last Week’s Result: 28-21 win over The Citadel

Former Pitt defensive coordinator Josh Conklin won his coaching debut when his Terriers defense denied a last-second pass in the end zone.

Next Opponent: VMI (Sept. 8)

 

12. Montana

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR

Last Week’s Result: 26-23 win over Northern Iowa

The Griz have never lost to UNI in seven all-time meetings. Bobby Hauck never got to coach quarterback Dalton Sneed at UNLV, but he’s glad to have the opportunity in Missoula.

Next Opponent: Drake (Sept. 8)

 

FCS Conference Rankings

 

1. CAA Football – Even Maine and Rhode Island refuse to be left out of the conversation

2. Missouri Valley Football Conference – Northern Iowa and Western Illinois fall out in the Big Sky

3. Big Sky Conference – 2017 co-champ Southern Utah's loss to North Alabama is shocking

4. Southern Conference – The three FBS losses were by a combined 156 points

5. Southland Conference – Defending champ Central Arkansas encourages in loss to Tulsa

6. Ohio Valley Conference – September's always good for Tennessee State; November? Uh...

7. Ivy League – The Ancient Eight feature the most rested teams in college football

8. Big South Conference – The conference’s two wins were sub-Division I

9. Northeast Conference – Wagner’s Ryan Fulse good for 271 yards, three TDs on the ground

10. Patriot League – Colgate holds on against Holy Cross for early claim to first place

11. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – Howard, N.C. A&T impress, but too many lopsided losses

12. FCS Independents – North Alabama, North Dakota and Hampton pull a sweep

13. Southwestern Athletic Conference – Prairie View A&M wins the MEAC-SWAC Challenge

14. Pioneer Football League – Butler did it, upsetting a ranked Youngstown State squad

 

— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.

 

(Photo courtesy Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls Athletics)

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