FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 1

A number of top teams impress even in defeat

The first week of the FCS season always has to be viewed with perspective because many ranked teams will lose games to FBS opponents.


The power programs, though, showed enough against the big boys of Division I that the Athlon FCS Power Poll doesn’t have widespread change after Week 1, although Central Arkansas has soared in after posting the only season-opening win over an FBS opponent. Villanova and Southeastern Louisiana joined the Bears as newcomers to the power poll.


Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 1 games:


1. North Dakota State

(1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 57-10 win over Butler

Notable: Nope, no drop-off at quarterback: Redshirt freshman Trey Lance accounted for 301 yards and six touchdowns in his first career start.

Next Game: North Dakota (Sept. 7)


2. James Madison

(0-1, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 20-13 loss to West Virginia      

Notable: The Dukes outgained West Virginia in yards 328-290, but committed three turnovers in head coach Curt Cignetti’s first game.

Next Game: Saint Francis (Sept. 7)


3. South Dakota State

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 28-21 loss to Minnesota

Notable: The Jackrabbits held their own in Gopher Land as redshirt freshman QB J’Bore Gibbs flashed his potential.

Next Game: Long Island U. (Sept. 7)


4. Eastern Washington

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 47-14 loss to Washington

Notable: The Huskies overwhelmed last year’s FCS runner-up. Game 2 looks a wee bit easier for the Eagles.

Next Game: Lindenwood (Sept. 7)


5. Maine

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 42-14 win over Sacred Heart

Notable: Chris Ferguson’s 423 passing yards in three quarters of action were the most by a Black Bear in 10 years.

Next Game: at Georgia Southern (Sept. 7)


6. UC Davis

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 27-13 loss to California

Notable: UC Davis failed to take advantage of four takeaways as its high-powered offense was limited to 264 yards and one touchdown.

Next Game: at San Diego (Sept. 7)


7. Weber State

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 6-0 loss to San Diego State

Notable: Despite many All-Big Sky losses, the Wildcats defense has that impenetrable look again, allowing just 238 yards on 73 plays.

Next Game: Cal Poly (Sept. 7)


8. Towson

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

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

Notable: Running back Shane Simpson’s third touchdown on a 4-yard run with 1:27 left lifted the Tigers over the Bulldogs.

Next Game: North Carolina Central (Sept. 7)


9. Northern Iowa

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 29-26 (3OT) loss to Iowa State

Notable: The Panthers move up in the rankings after their mesmerizing loss at Iowa State. Redshirt freshman Will McElvain (25-for-42, 228 yards, TD) was strong in his first game.

Next Game: Southern Utah (Sept. 7)


10. Montana State

(0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 45-10 loss to Texas Tech

Notable: The Bobcats surrendered 691 yards to Texas Tech's high-powered attack. New QB Casey Bauman threw for a 31-yard touchdown to Coy Steel in a mediocre performance.

Next Game: Southeast Missouri State (Sept. 7)


11. Furman

(1-0, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 46-13 win over Charleston Southern

Notable: The Paladins' top three rushers all averaged over 10 yards per carry, led by Devin Wynn (12 for 131 with a touchdown).

Next Game: at Georgia State (Sept. 7)


12. Illinois State

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 24-10 loss to Northern Illinois

Notable: One of Week’s 1 surprises: Redbirds senior James Robinson was limited to 26 yards from scrimmage and just 16 rushing on 13 carries.

Next Game: Morehead State (Sept. 7)


13. Indiana State

(0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 24-17 loss to Kansas

Notable: The Sycamores surrendered a 17-16 lead in the final two and a half minutes, allowing Kansas to escape in head coach Les Miles' debut.

Next Game: Dayton (Sept. 7)


14. Kennesaw State

(1-0, 0-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 59-0 win over Point

Notable: Quarterback David Daniel rushed for two touchdowns and passed for a pair, and the Owls let 16 players rush the ball against Point(less).

Next Game: at Kent State (Sept. 7)


15. Southeast Missouri

(1-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 44-26 win over Southern Illinois

Notable: The Redhawks scored 30 unanswered points and 2018 Buck Buchanan Award winner Zach Hall posted 19 tackles in the rivalry win.

Next Game: at Montana State (Sept. 7)


16. Nicholls


(0-1, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 49-14 loss to Kansas State

Notable: K-State resembled, well, North Dakota State as former Bison skipper Chris Klieman won his debut against the Southland Conference favorite.

Next Game: at Prairie View A&M (Sept. 7)


17. Montana

(1-0, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 31-17 win over South Dakota

Notable: Dalton Sneed passed for a career-high 430 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receivers Samuel Akem and Samori Toure were a big help, catching 18 passes for 300 yards and two scores.

Next Game: North Alabama (Sept. 7)


18. Villanova

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Week Zero Result: 34-14 win over Colgate

Notable: Campbell transfer QB Daniel Smith and the ‘Nova defense were in control of then-No. 18 Colgate in the first of three straight games against the Patriot League.

Next Game: at Lehigh (Sept. 7)


19. Central Arkansas

(1-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 35-28 win over Western Kentucky

Notable: Sophomore Lujuan Winningham racked up eight receptions, 222 receiving yards and three TDs as the Bears posted their second straight win over WKU (2009).

Next Game: at Austin Peay (Sept. 7)


20. North Carolina A&T

(1-0, 0-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 win over then-No. 21 Elon

Notable: In the only game between two ranked FCS teams, the Aggies made it seven straight season-opening wins on Noel Ruiz’s 52-yard, game-ending field goal.

Next Game: at Duke (Sept. 7)


21. Southeastern Louisiana

(1-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 35-14 win over Jacksonville State

Notable: Not certain the ranking will stick, but there were few Week 1 wins in the FCS as impressive as the Lions' roll past then-No. 7 Jacksonville State.

Next Game: Canceled at Bethune-Cookman


22. McNeese

(1-0, 0-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 34-28 win over Southern

Notable: The Cowboys scooped up five fumbles by Southern in winning coach Sterlin Gilbert’s first game. Calum Foster had a pair of the fumble recoveries.

Next Game: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 7)


23. Delaware

(1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 31-13 win over Delaware State

Notable: Sophomores Kedrick Whitehead, Justis Henley, Johnny Buchanan, and Drew Nickles combined for 26 tackles in their first career starts.

Next Game: at Rhode Island (Sept. 7)


24. Jacksonville State

(0-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 35-14 loss to Southeastern Louisiana

Notable: At least the underprepared, sloppy Gamecocks got the worst performance out of their system. At least they hope so.  

Next Game: Chattanooga (Sept. 7)


25. Wofford

(0-1, 0-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 28-13 loss to South Carolina State

Notable: Although second-year head coach Josh Conklin has increased the passing, Wofford’s four interceptions suggest why the Terriers run a triple-option offense.

Next Game: Samford (Sept. 14)


— 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 of Minnesota Twins via NDSU Athletics)

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