FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 12

Some playoff tickets, titles secured, but plenty still at stake

FCS Power Poll RankingsThe fact No. 1 James Madison and No. 2 Jacksonville State both won by only a touchdown this past weekend suggests what fun may be ahead in the upcoming FCS playoffs.


The games figures to be outstanding.


While the incredibly up-and-down FCS season started to stabilize in the second-to-last full weekend of action, a lot has to be decided by Saturday with the 24-team playoff field being announced Sunday morning.


Here is the Athlon FCS Power Poll heading into Week 12 of the regular season:


1. James Madison

(10-0, 7-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 20-13 win over then-No. 22 Richmond

Of Note: Whew! Trai Sharp’s 7-yard touchdown run with 44 seconds left lifted the Dukes to their Division I-leading 22nd straight win.

Next Opponent: at No. 13 Elon (Nov. 18)


2. Jacksonville State

(9-1, 7-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 14-7 win over UT Martin

Of Note: With one more win, the Gamecocks’ seniors would have a perfect OVC record over the last four years.

Next Opponent: Tennessee State (Nov. 16)


3. North Dakota State

(9-1, 6-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 49-14 win over then-No. 10 South Dakota

Of Note: The Bison run game returned with 340 yards, led by home run threat Ty Brooks (nine carries, 152 yards, three touchdowns).

Next Opponent: No. 23 Illinois State (Nov. 18)


4. Central Arkansas

(9-1, 8-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 56-10 win over Incarnate Word

Of Note: Style points never hurt: UCA has won its last four games by an average of 33 points.

Next Opponent: Abilene Christian (Nov. 18)


5. Sam Houston State

(9-1, 7-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 44-35 win over Abilene Christian

Of Note: Senior defensive lineman P.J. Hall became the FCS all-time leader with his 81st career tackle for a loss.

Next Opponent: Houston Baptist (Nov. 18)


6. South Dakota State

(8-2, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 27-24 OT win over then-No. 19 Illinois State

Of Note: Chase Viniateri’s 43-yard goal in the overtime lifted the Jackrabbits to their fourth straight MVFC win.

Next Opponent: at No. 15 South Dakota (Nov. 18)


7. Wofford

(9-1, 7-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 45-14 win over VMI

Of Note: The Terriers forced four turnovers while clinching at least a share of the Southern Conference title and an automatic playoff bid.  

Next Opponent: at South Carolina (Nov. 18)


8. Southern Utah

(8-2, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 47-27 win over UC Davis

Of Note: Quarterback Patrick Tyler threw for three touchdowns, including two to Ty Rutledge.

Next Opponent: No. 16 Northern Arizona (Nov. 18)


9. Western Illinois

(7-3, 4-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 45-0 win over Indiana State

Of Note: Sean McGuire threw four touchdown passes and Steve McShane scored on an 81-yard punt return.

Next Opponent: Southern Illinois (Nov. 18)


10. Weber State

(8-2, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 63-17 win over Portland State

Of Note: Freshman Rashid Shaheed scored on a 60-yard reception and a 90-yard kickoff return.

Next Opponent: Idaho State (Nov. 18)


11. North Carolina A&T

(10-0, 7-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 36-17 win over Savannah State

Of Note: Lamar Raynard threw for two touchdowns and Marquell Cartwright rushed for a pair as the Celebration Bowl-bound Aggies moved within one win of a perfect regular season.

Next Opponent: North Carolina Central (Nov. 18)


12. Northern Iowa

(6-4, 5-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 25-10 win over Missouri State

Of Note: Panthers safety Elijah Campbell remained red-hot with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Next Opponent: Indiana State (Nov. 18)


13. Elon

(8-2, 6-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 16-6 loss to then-No. 25 New Hampshire

Of Note: The Phoenix lost three fumbles and possessed the ball for less than 22 minutes as their eight-game winning streak ended.

Next Opponent: No. 1 James Madison (Nov. 18)


14. Furman

(7-3, 6-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week Result: 56-20 win over The Citadel

Of Note: The Paladins will earn a share of the SoCon title by defeating Samford, but the automatic playoff bid is Wofford’s because of a head-to-head win.

Next Opponent: at No. 19 Samford (Nov. 18)


15. South Dakota

(7-3, 4-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 49-14 loss to No. 3 North Dakota State

Of Note: The slumping Coyotes have picked the wrong time of the year to lose three out of four games.

Next Opponent: No. 6 South Dakota State (Nov. 18)


16. Northern Arizona

(7-3, 6-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 37-36 win over Montana State

Of Note: In a game with more than 1,000 offensive yards, NAU held on by stopping a 2-point conversion with 32 seconds left.

Next Opponent: at No. 8 Southern Utah (Nov. 18)


17. Stony Brook

(8-2, 6-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 38-10 win over Wagner

Of Note: Jordan Gowins ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the non-conference win over Wagner.

Next Opponent: at Maine (Nov. 18)


18. Delaware

(7-3, 5-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 22-3 win over Albany

Of Note: Seeking their first playoff bid since 2010, the Blue Hens held Albany to six first downs and 120 total yards while forcing four turnovers.

Next Opponent: at Villanova (Nov. 18)


19. Samford

(7-3, 5-2 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 45-7 win over ETSU

Of Note: One of the Bulldogs’ win is against a Division II team, so they definitely want to beat Furman to cement a playoff bid.

Next Opponent: No. 14 Furman (Nov. 18)


20. New Hampshire

(7-3, 5-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: 16-6 win over then-No. 7 Elon

Of Note: UNH got a much-needed boost to its resume as it seeks a 14th straight playoff bid.

Next Opponent: at Albany (Nov. 18)


21. Eastern Washington

(6-4, 5-2 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 21-14 win over North Dakota

Of Note: No Gage Gubrud, no problem as freshman quarterback Eric Barriere ran for a touchdown and threw for one against North Dakota.

Next Opponent: Portland State (Nov. 18)


22. Kennesaw State

(9-1, 4-0 Big South)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 35-0 win over Charleston Southern

Of Note: The Owls forced four turnovers and had four sacks in their shutout of two-time defending Big South champ Charleston Southern. Now they’ll host Monmouth with the title on the line.

Next Opponent: Monmouth (Nov. 18)


23. Illinois State

(6-4, 4-3 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 27-24 OT loss to then-No. 6 South Dakota State

Of Note: The fading Redbirds made a surprising turn to quarterback Malachi Broadnax in the loss to South Dakota State. An upset of North Dakota State appears to be a must if they’re going to return to the playoffs.

Next Opponent: No. 3 North Dakota State (Nov. 18)


24. Nicholls

(8-2, 7-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 34-13 win over Stephen F. Austin

Of Note: Riding a six-game winning streak, the Colonels feel underappreciated by the national media. Tahj Smith and Kyran Irvin took out their frustration with a combined 337 rushing yards against Stephen F. Austin.

Next Opponent: at Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 16)


25. Grambling State

(9-1, 6-0 SWAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 24-7 win over Alabama State

Of Note: The Tigers sit first in the SWAC West Division, but they need to beat rival Southern in the Bayou Classic to advance to the conference championship game.

Next Opponent: Southern (Nov. 25 in New Orleans)


Power Poll Possibilities: McNeese (8-2, 6-2 Southland); Monmouth (9-1, 4-0 Big South); Montana (7-3, 5-2 Big Sky); Western Carolina (7-4, 5-3 Southern)


— 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 North Carolina A&T)

Event Date: 
Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 23:17

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