FCS Rankings: Power Poll for Week 8

Top teams not going easy on conference brethren

FCS Power Poll RankingsDeep conference races are expected across the FCS.


Well, maybe not so much.


Five teams in the top 10 of the Athlon FCS Power Poll are among the eight with the longest conference win streaks, led by Jacksonville State at 27 games in the Ohio Valley Conference. There’s also reigning national champion James Madison (14 in CAA Football), Eastern Washington (12 in the Big Sky), North Dakota State (nine in the Missouri Valley Football Conference) and Wofford (nine in the Southern Conference).


They’re probably not into sharing.


Here is the Athlon FCS Power Poll heading into Week 8 of the regular season:


1. James Madison

(6-0, 3-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 30-8 win over then-No. 13 Villanova

Of Note: After the Dukes hosted ESPN’s “College GameDay,” they beat an injury-riddled Villanova squad with strong defense, allowing only 174 yards and forcing three turnovers.

Next Opponent: at William & Mary (Oct. 21)


2. North Dakota State

(6-0, 3-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 27-24 overtime win over then-No. 5 Youngstown State

Of Note: Make it an FCS-high 12 straight road wins as quarterback Easton Sticks racks up 284 total yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).

Next Opponent: No. 8 Western Illinois (Oct. 21)


3. South Dakota

(6-0, 3-0 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 56-6 win over Indiana State

Of Note: Quarterback Chris Streveler accounted for five touchdowns, giving him 25 (17 passing, eight rushing) this season.

Next Opponent: at Illinois State (Oct. 21)


4. Jacksonville State

(5-1, 3-0 Ohio Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 41-25 win over Eastern Kentucky

Of Note: Defensive end Darius Jackson is generating more NFL buzz with a banner senior season. His three tackles for a loss in the Gamecocks’ 27th straight OVC win gives him 51.5 in his career.

Next Opponent: at Eastern Illinois (Oct. 21)


5. Eastern Washington

(5-2, 4-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: 31-19 win over Montana State

Of Note: Linebacker Ketner Kupp, Cooper Kupp’s younger brother, had 12 tackles and the defense forced four turnovers in EWU’s 12th straight Big Sky win.

Next Opponent: at No. 20 Southern Utah (Oct. 21)


6. Central Arkansas

(5-1, 4-0 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 24-20 win over Stephen F. Austin

Of Note: Hayden Hildenbrand was intercepted three times, but his third touchdown pass – a 17-yarder to Roman Gordon with 1:30 left – kept the Bears on top of the Southland standings.

Next Opponent: at Northwestern State (Oct. 21)


7. Sam Houston State

(5-1, 3-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 40-36 win over Northwestern State

Of Note: Like Central Arkansas, Sam Houston flirted with a disastrous loss, but it scored the final 12 points for the win. Jeremiah Briscoe passed for 509 yards as well as four touchdowns to Davion Davis.

Next Opponent: Lamar (Oct. 21)


8. Western Illinois

(5-1, 2-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: 49-30 win over Missouri State

Of Note: A near two-hour weather delay didn’t slow down the Leathernecks, whose next assignment comes in the Fargodome.

Next Opponent: at No. 2 North Dakota State (Oct. 21)


9. Wofford

(6-0, 4-0 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 30-26 win over The Citadel

Of Note: Wofford’s triple-option offense had an usual split of offensive yards – 219 passing, 99 rushing – but in the end Andre Stoddard’s late TD run was the game-winner.

Next Opponent: No. 19 Samford (Oct. 21)


10. Youngstown State

(3-3, 1-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 27-24 overtime loss to. 2 North Dakota State

Of Note: The Penguins are an outstanding team that has suffered only close losses, but they have to win next at the UNI-Dome to avoid slipping below .500.

Next Opponent: at No. 22 Northern Iowa (Oct. 21)


11. Richmond

(4-2, 2-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Last Week’s Result: 23-3 win over Towson

Of Note: Kyle Lauletta and Tyler Wilkins connected for two touchdown passes to top Towson. Up next is a date against former head coach Danny Rocco.

Next Opponent: at No. 21 Delaware (Oct. 21)


12. Elon

(5-1, 3-0 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: The bye week brought its share of bad news. Junior Malcolm Summers, who ranks No. 2 in the FCS in rushing yards per game, has been lost to a torn hamstring for the remainder of the season.

Next Opponent: at Rhode Island (Oct. 21)


13. South Dakota State

(4-2, 1-2 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 38-18 loss to Northern Iowa

Of Note: Head coach John Stiegelmeier’s squad hasn’t lived up to the preseason billing and need to get back on track in the nation’s toughest FCS conference.

Next Opponent: at Missouri State (Oct. 21)


14. Villanova

(4-3, 2-2 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 30-8 loss to No. 1 James Madison

Of Note: In nearly three games since No. 1 quarterback Zach Bednarczyk suffered a knee injury, the Wildcats have only 150 passing yards.

Next Opponent: No. 12 Elon (Oct. 28)


15. North Carolina A&T

(7-0, 4-0 MEAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 16

Last Week’s Result: 31-20 win over Florida A&M

Of Note: The Aggies are off to the second-best start in program history, trailing only the 8-0 squad in 1927.

Next Opponent: Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 21)


16. Northern Arizona

(4-2, 3-0 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 42-20 win over Portland State

Of Note: NAU made it four straight wins as Case Cookus passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns.

Next Opponent: UC Davis (Oct. 21)


17. Montana

(5-2, 3-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: 22

Last Week’s Result: 41-17 win over North Dakota

Of Note: Redshirt freshman QB Gresch Jensen overcame a poor first quarter to pound UND for 459 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at Weber State (Oct. 28)


18. Western Carolina

(5-2, 3-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 49-10 win over ETSU

Of Note: In running back Detrez Newsome’s absence, Donnavan Spencer rushed for 139 yards and four touchdowns.

Next Opponent: at VMI (Oct. 21)


19. Samford

(4-2, 2-1 Southern)

Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: Junior defensive end Ahmad Gooden is enjoying a huge season with 55 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.

Next Opponent: at No. 9 Wofford (Oct. 21)


20. Southern Utah

(4-2, 2-1 Big Sky)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 32-16 win over then-No. 17 Weber State

Of Note: The Thunderbirds have some impressive wins (on the road against Stephen F. Austin and Weber State and at home versus Northern Iowa), but also a blowout loss to Sacramento State.

Next Opponent: No. 5 Eastern Washington (Oct. 21)


21. Delaware

(4-2, 2-1 CAA)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 17-0 win over William & Mary

Of Note: The Blue Hens’ stout defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points to an FCS opponent.

Next Opponent: No. 11 Richmond (Oct. 21)


22. Northern Iowa

(3-3, 2-1 Missouri Valley)

Last Week’s Ranking: Unranked

Last Week’s Result: 38-18 win at then-No. 6 South Dakota State

Of Note: In his first significant action of the season, running back Marcus Weymiller bulldozed SDSU for 170 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Next Opponent: No. 10 Youngstown State (Oct. 21)


23. Nicholls

(5-2, 4-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: 29-20 win over Abilene Christian

Of Note: On a day when the Nicholls offense struggled to find the end zone, Lorran Fonseca kicked five field goals and Adrian Richardson scored a touchdown off a blocked punt.

Next Opponent: at Incarnate Word (Oct. 28)


24. McNeese

(5-1, 3-1 Southland)

Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: After a subpar 2016 season, the D.W.A. (Defense With Attitude) is back to leading the Southland Conference in a number of defensive categories.

Next Opponent: Incarnate Word (Oct. 21)


25. Grambling State

(5-1, 2-0 SWAC)

Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Of Note: The Tigers had a bye heading into this week’s matchup of the last two SWAC championship games. They rallied from 17-0 down to win last year’s title game, 27-20.

Next Opponent: Alcorn State (Oct. 21)


Power Poll Possibilities: Eastern Illinois (5-2, 4-0 OVC), Illinois State (4-2, 2-1 Missouri Valley), New Hampshire (4-2, 2-1 CAA), North Carolina Central (5-1, 4-0 MEAC), Stony Brook (5-2, 4-1 CAA), Weber State (4-2, 2-1 Big Sky)


— 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 Jacksonville State Athletics)

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 00:34

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