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FCS Football: Top 25 Power Poll Entering the Playoffs

Sam Houston Bearkats Football

The top three teams appear to stand out as the second season arrives, led by defending FCS champion Sam Houston, who is riding a Division I-high 21-game winning streak since 2019.

Sam Houston is the top seed for the FCS playoffs … North Dakota State is second … James Madison third.

In looking at the postseason, the Athlon FCS Power Poll is basically back to where it’s started, although those three powers were a slightly different order atop the preseason poll.

Of course, that’s why there is a 24-team playoff to put it all into a final order.

And everybody’s ready for the fun ahead.

Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 12 games:

1. Sam Houston
(10-0, 6-0 AQ7)
Previous Ranking: 1
Week 12 Result: 35-9 win at Abilene Christian
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Stephen F. Austin or UIW (Dec. 4)

2. North Dakota State
(10-1, 7-1 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 3
Week 12 Result: 52-24 win over South Dakota
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Southern Illinois or South Dakota (Dec. 4)

3. James Madison
(10-1, 7-1 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 2
Week 12 Result: 56-10 win over Towson
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Florida A&M or Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 4)

4. Eastern Washington
(9-2, 6-2 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 5
Week 12 Result: 42-28 win at Portland State
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Northern Iowa (Nov. 27)

5. Villanova
(9-2, 7-1 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 6
Week 12 Result: 21-13 win at Delaware
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Sacred Heart or Holy Cross (Dec. 3)

6. Sacramento State
(9-2, 8-0 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 8
Week 12 Result: 27-7 win at UC Davis
Next Game: FCS second round vs. UC Davis or South Dakota State (Dec. 4)

7. Montana
(9-2, 6-2 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 9
Week 12 Result: 29-10 win over Montana State
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Northern Iowa or Eastern Washington (Dec. 3)

8. ETSU
(10-1, 7-1 Southern)
Previous Ranking: 7
Week 12 Result: 38-35 win over Mercer
Next Game: FCS second round vs. Davidson or Kennesaw State (Dec. 4)

9. Montana State
(9-2, 7-1 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 4
Week 12 Result: 29-10 loss at Montana
Next Game: FCS second round vs. UT Martin or Missouri State (Dec. 4)

10. Missouri State
(7-3, 6-2 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 10
Week 12 Result: at Dixie State
Next Game: FCS first round vs. UT Martin (Nov. 27)

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11. South Dakota State
(8-3, 5-3 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 12
Week 12 Result: 24-21 win over North Dakota
Next Game: FCS first round vs. UC Davis (Nov. 27)

12. Kennesaw State
(10-1, 7-0 Big South)
Previous Ranking: 17
Week 12 Result: 49-17 win over Monmouth
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Davidson (Nov. 27)

13. UIW
(9-2, 7-1 Southland)
Previous Ranking: 18
Week 12 Result: 55-14 win at Houston Baptist
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 27)

14. South Dakota
(7-4, 5-3 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 14
Week 12 Result: 52-24 loss at North Dakota State
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Southern Illinois (Nov. 27)

15. UT Martin
(9-2, 5-1 Ohio Valley)
Previous Ranking: 11
Week 12 Result: 31-14 loss at Southeast Missouri
Next Game: FCS first round at Missouri State (Nov. 27)

16. Southern Illinois
(7-4, 5-3 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: 13
Week 12 Result: 35-18 loss to Youngstown State
Next Game: FCS first round at South Dakota (Nov. 27)

17. Southeastern Louisiana
(8-3, 6-2 Southland)
Previous Ranking: 15
Week 12 Result: 45-42 loss to Nicholls
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 27)

18. Jackson State
(10-1, 8-0 SWAC)
Previous Ranking: 21
Week 12 Result: 24-10 win over Alcorn State
Next Game: SWAC Championship Game vs. Prairie View A&M (Dec. 4)

19. UC Davis
(8-3, 5-3 Big Sky)
Previous Ranking: 16
Week 12 Result: 27-7 loss at Sacramento State
Next Game: FCS first round at South Dakota State (Nov. 27)

20. Holy Cross
(9-2, 6-0 Patriot)
Previous Ranking: 22
Week 12 Result: 45-6 win at Bucknell
Next Game: FCS first round vs. Sacred Heart (Nov. 27)

21. Northern Iowa
(6-5, 4-4 Missouri Valley)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Week 12 Result: 41-3 win over Western Illinois
Next Game: FCS first round at Eastern Washington (Nov. 27)

22. Dartmouth
(9-1, 6-1 Ivy)
Previous Ranking: 23
Week 12 Result: 52-31 win at Brown
Next Game: Season complete

23. Stephen F. Austin
(8-3, 4-2 AQ7)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Week 12 Result: 42-6 win at Lamar
Next Game: FCS first round at UIW (Nov. 27)

24. Rhode Island
(7-4, 4-4 CAA)
Previous Ranking: 19
Week 12 Result: 43-28 loss at Elon
Next Game: Season complete

25. Mercer
(7-3, 6-2 Southern)
Previous Ranking: 20
Week 12 Result: 38-35 loss at ETSU
Next Game: Season complete

— 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.TheAnalyst.com. He appears frequently on radio, TV and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.