FCS Rankings: Power Poll Following Week 8

If you guess how many zero- and one-loss teams remain, go lower

FCSThe great resumes are thinning in the FCS, including five ranked teams that had only one loss entering this past weekend.

 

There are actually as many unbeaten teams as there are one-loss teams remaining — four of each.

 

Yes, Halloween is more than a week away and all but eight of the 125 teams have at least two losses already.

 

Scary.

 

Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll for games through Oct. 20:

 

1. North Dakota State

(7-0, 4-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 28-14 win over Illinois State

The Bison’s FCS-leading 13th straight win wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggested against Illinois State. With Bruce Anderson sidelined, Lance Dunn rushed for three touchdowns.

Next Opponent: South Dakota (Oct. 27)

 

2. James Madison

(5-2, 3-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: Bye

After a foot injury sidelined linebacker Dmitri Holloway for all but one game last season, the redshirt junior is back as the team’s leading tackler (58).

Next Opponent: Stony Brook (Oct. 27)

 

3. Kennesaw State

(6-1, 2-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Instant returns: Freshman Isaac Foster has taken two of his four kick returns for touchdowns and averages nearly 11 yards on punt returns.

Next Opponent: at Charleston Southern (Oct. 27)

 

4. South Dakota State

(4-2, 2-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 24-9 loss to Northern Iowa

No team should have to go on the road to North Dakota State and UNI. Oh yes, the Jackrabbits also travel to Illinois State next. They’ll need a better performance out of quarterback Taryn Christion.

Next Opponent: Illinois State (Oct. 27)

 

5. UC Davis

(6-1, 4-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 52-10 win over Cal Poly

With tight end Wesley Preece healthy again, quarterback Jake Maier has another big weapon in the passing game. Preece’s two touchdown receptions against Cal Poly gave him five in a three-game span.

Next Opponent: at Montana (Oct. 27)

 

6. Weber State

(5-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 34-24 win over Montana State

Despite subpar play at quarterback (the job belongs to Jake Constantine after Kaden Jenks suffered a severe ankle injury), the Wildcats have championship-level pieces in their strong running game (Josh Davis and Treshawn Garrett) and defense (22 takeaways).

Next Opponent: at North Dakota (Oct. 27)

 

7. Eastern Washington

(5-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Rested after an open week, the Eagles have the easiest remaining schedule of the Big Sky contenders with their biggest test (UC Davis) at home. The question is, when will All-America quarterback Gage Gubrud be back in the lineup?

Next Opponent: Idaho (Oct. 27)

 

8. Towson

(6-1, 4-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 56-28 win over Albany

Behind quarterback Tom Flacco’s big season, each of the CAA leader’s six wins have been by double figures. The Tigers have a daunting stretch of upcoming games against Delaware, Maine, Elon and James Madison.

Next Opponent: at Delaware (Oct. 27)

 

9. Elon

(5-2, 3-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 38-28 win over Richmond

In their first career starts, quarterback Jalen Greene (205 passing yards, two touchdowns) and running back Jaylan Thomas (177 yards from scrimmage, two touchdowns) helped ease injury concerns.

Next Opponent: Rhode Island (Nov. 3)

 

10. Wofford

(5-2, 4-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 30-17 win over ETSU

The defending SoCon champ moved into a first-place tie with ETSU by controlling the ball for nearly 36 minutes. Lennox McAfee (121 yards) and Andre Stoddard did the most damage on the ground with two touchdowns each.

Next Opponent: Mercer (Oct. 27)

 

11. Northern Iowa (4-3, 3-1 Missouri Valley)

12. Illinois State (5-2, 2-2 Missouri Valley)

13. Colgate (6-0, 3-0 Patriot)

14. Stony Brook (6-2, 4-1 CAA)

15. North Dakota (5-2 Independent)

16. Jacksonville State (5-2, 4-1 Ohio Valley)

17. Princeton (6-0, 3-0 Ivy)

18. Central Arkansas (5-2, 4-1 Southland)

19. Delaware (5-2, 3-1 CAA)

20. Maine (4-3, 3-1 CAA)

21. McNeese (5-2, 4-1 Southland)

22. ETSU (6-2, 4-1 Southern)

23. Southeast Missouri (5-2, 3-1 Ohio Valley)

24. Dartmouth (6-0, 3-0 Ivy)

25. Chattanooga (5-2, 3-2 Southern)

 

FCS Conference Rankings

 

1. Missouri Valley Football Conference – After North Dakota State and UNI, six teams are 2-2 in conference play.

2. CAA Football – Maine and especially Rhode Island are watching their playoff chances reach a critical stage.

3. Big Sky Conference – In the 13-team conference, only UC Davis is above .500 (3-1) on the road. Eastern Washington is the only team that’s .500 (2-2).

4. Southern Conference – Samford has been scary good the last three weeks behind red-hot QB Devlin Hodges.

5. Ivy League – If both teams can win this weekend, Dartmouth’s visit to Princeton on Nov. 3 would be a matchup of unbeaten teams.

6. Southland Conference – Sam Houston State (4-3) owns a seven-year streak of playoffs appearances, but it’s in jeopardy even if the Bearkats win their final four games.

7. Ohio Valley Conference – Murray State sits alone in first place as it gets set to host Jacksonville State, which is coming off its first OVC loss since 2013.

8. Big South Conference – Having already beaten Campbell at Kessler Field, Monmouth also has Charleston Southern and Kennesaw State at home.

9. Northeast Conference – Conference-leading Sacred Heart will play three of its final four games at home.

10. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – After a well-timed bye, surprising Florida A&M (5-2, 4-0) needs a finishing touch.

11. FCS Independents – With each week, North Dakota is looking more like a playoff team.

12. Southwestern Athletic Conference – Alcorn State will be in great shape for a fifth straight East Division title if it can win at Prairie View A&M.

13. Patriot League – Surprising Georgetown will travel to preseason favorite Colgate for a first-place showdown.

14. Pioneer Football League – San Diego QB Anthony Lawrence has thrown for 48 touchdowns and one interception in his last 14 PFL games.

 

— 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 Patrick Tewey/Princeton Athletics)

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