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FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 8

FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 8

FCS Rankings: Top 25 Power Poll Following Week 8

There's a good reason they have a 24-team playoff in FCS college football and not, ahem, a cute four-team bracket.

Try leaving out Sacramento State after it just swept Eastern Washington, Montana State and Montana in a 15-day span.

North Dakota State, James Madison, and South Dakota State have been 1-2-3 all season and Weber State is next in line. As Sac State has proven, you need more than four.

Here's the Athlon FCS Power Poll following Week 8 games:

1. North Dakota State

(7-0, 3-0 Missouri Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Last Week’s Result: 22-0 win over Missouri State

Notable: Adam Cofield rushed for a pair of touchdowns and the Bison posted their 12th shutout of the decade to tie South Carolina State for the FCS high. They’ll next take the 28-game winning streak to the last team (South Dakota State) to beat them in 2017 and ESPN College GameDay will be on the scene in Brookings.

Next Game: at South Dakota State (Oct. 26)

2. James Madison

(7-1, 4-0 CAA)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Last Week’s Result: 38-10 win over William & Mary

Notable: The Dukes held William & Mary to 194 yards of offense and had three interceptions. Defensive end Ron’Dell Carter had career highs with 10 tackles and six tackles for a loss, including a sack.

Next Game: Towson (Oct. 26)

3. South Dakota State

(6-1, 3-0 Missouri Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Last Week’s Result: 42-23 win over Indiana State

Notable: J’Bore Gibbs, 274 yards and three TDs through the air. Pierre Strong Jr., 144 yards and two TDs on the ground. Cade Johnson, 134 receiving yards and a TD. Yeah, the Jackrabbits will take that.

Next Game: North Dakota State (Oct. 26)

4. Weber State

(5-2, 3-0 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Last Week’s Result: 51-28 win over Northern Arizona

Notable: Josh Davis, the 2018 Jerry Rice Award winner as FCS freshman of the year, broke out with a school-record 328 rushing yards, to go along with four touchdowns, on 34 carries.

Next Game: at UC Davis (Oct. 26)

5. Sacramento State

(5-2, 3-0 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Last Week’s Result: 49-22 win over Montana

Notable: QB Kevin Thomson (419 yards of total offense, 6 total TDs) accounted for 16 touchdowns during the 15-day sweep of nationally ranked Eastern Washington, Montana State and Montana.

Next Game: at Cal Poly (Oct. 26)

6. Villanova

(6-1, 3-1 CAA)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Notable: The Wildcats has lost leading rusher Justin Covington (727 yards, 4 total TDs) to a season-ending ACL tear.

Next Game: Stony Brook (Oct. 26)

7. Kennesaw State

(6-1, 2-0 Big South)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Last Week’s Result: 55-10 win over Presbyterian

Notable: Tommy Bryant came off the bench to throw for a touchdown on each of his three completions and rush for two scores as well.

Next Game: North Alabama (Oct. 26)

8. Montana

(5-2, 2-1 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Last Week’s Result: 49-22 loss to Sacramento State

Notable: Linebackers Jace Lewis and Dante Olson were a bright spot with a combined 33 tackles, but while the Griz were humbled in a first-place matchup, QB Dalton Sneed suffered an ankle injury and could miss at least the next game.

Next Game: Eastern Washington (Oct. 26)

9. Northern Iowa

(4-3, 2-1 Missouri Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 15

Last Week’s Result: 42-27 win over South Dakota

Notable: Isaiah Weston caught four passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns, while linebacker Chris Kolarevic posted a career-high 19 tackles.

Next Game: at Missouri State (Oct. 26)

10. Furman

(4-3, 3-1 Southern)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Last Week’s Result: 27-10 loss to The Citadel

Notable: On a rainy day, QB Darren Grainger was only 5-for-25 for 44 yards and the Paladins allowed 360 rushing yards in their 99th matchup against The Citadel.

Next Game: at Western Carolina (Oct. 26)

11. Illinois State

(5-2, 2-1 Missouri Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 12

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

Notable: The Redbirds kept WIU winless on the strength of James Robinson’s three touchdown runs.

Next Game: Indiana State (Oct. 26)

12. Montana State

(5-2, 2-1 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Notable: Defensive end Bryce Sterk has grabbed the headlines this season, but linebacker Callahan O’Reilly has come on strong with 27 tackles in the last two games. He has a team-high 47 stops.

Next Game: at North Dakota (Oct. 26)

13. Princeton

(5-0, 2-0 Ivy)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 19

Last Week’s Result: 65-22 win over Brown

Notable: The Tigers’ 65 points, including 51 in the first half, were the most ever scored against a Brown team. Kevin Davidson passed for 379 yards and five touchdowns.

Next Game: Harvard (Oct. 26)

14. Dartmouth

(5-0, 2-0 Ivy)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 20

Last Week’s Result: 49-7 win over Marist

Notable: The Big Green have outscored opponents 77-0 in the first quarter and allowed only 13 points in the first three quarters.

Next Game: Columbia (Oct. 25)

15. Nicholls

(4-3, 3-1 Southland)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 9

Last Week’s Result: 17-0 loss to Sam Houston State

Notable: The last of the Southland unbeatens suffered its first shutout loss since 2015. The Colonels rushed for only 55 yards on 33 carries.

Next Game: Abilene Christian (Oct. 26)

16. Central Arkansas

(5-2, 3-1 Southland)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Last Week’s Result: 31-30 win over Northwestern State

Notable: The Bears held on against winless Northwestern State by denying a two-point conversion with 1:30 left to play. Lujuan Winningham had nine receptions for 168 yards and a TD.

Next Game: Sam Houston State (Oct. 26)

17. UC Davis

(4-4, 2-2 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 21

Last Week’s Result: 33-25 win over Southern Utah

Notable: Jake Maier threw TDs to three different receivers and went over 10,000 career passing yards.

Next Game: Weber State (Oct. 26)

18. Sam Houston State

(5-3, 4-1 Southland)

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Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result:  17-0 win over Nicholls

Notable: With QB Eric Schmid still sidelined, Ty Brock and Ryan Humphries both had touchdown passes, and the Bearkats defense forced three turnovers.

Next Game: at Central Arkansas (Oct. 26)

19. Florida A&M

(6-1, 4-0 MEAC)

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Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 34-31 OT win over North Carolina A&T

Notable: Rasean McKay came off the bench to throw a game-winning touchdown against A&T in overtime. The Rattlers are not eligible for the postseason due to NCAA sanctions.

Next Game: at Morgan State (Oct. 26)

20. North Carolina A&T

(4-2, 2-1 MEAC)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Last Week’s Result: 34-31 OT loss to Florida A&M

Notable: Despite the key MEAC loss, the Aggies can still return to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl by winning the remainder of their five conference games.

Next Game: Howard (Oct. 26)

21. Towson

(4-3, 2-2 CAA)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 24

Last Week’s Result: 56-7 win over Bucknell

Notable: Shane Leatherbury caught five of Tom Flacco’s six touchdown passes and the Tigers ended a three-game losing streak.

Next Game: at James Madison (Oct. 26)

22. Eastern Washington

(3-4, 2-1 Big Sky)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 23

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Notable: The Eagles hope they’ve improved some defensive shortcomings during their bye week. They’re allowing 35.9 points and 423.6 yards per game.

Next Game: at Montana (Oct. 26)

23. Elon

(3-4, 2-2 CAA)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 25

Last Week’s Result: Bye

Notable: The lack of a 12th game hurts the Phoenix as they seek a third straight playoff appearance, but the final four-game stretch is more manageable than originally expected.

Next Game: at Rhode Island (Oct. 26)

24. Austin Peay

(4-3, 2-1 Ohio Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: 17

Last Week’s Result: 26-24 loss to Tennessee State

Notable: QB JaVaughn Craig accounted for 335 yards and three TDs, but had two interceptions in the Governors’ costly loss.

Next Game: at Tennessee Tech (Oct. 26)

25. Southeast Missouri

(4-3, 3-1 Ohio Valley)

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Last Week’s Ranking: N/R

Last Week’s Result: 24-21 win over Jacksonville State

Notable: Daniel Santacaterina had three TD passes, including a pair to Kristian Wilkerson, as the Redhawks dropped Jacksonville State for the second consecutive year.

Next Game: UT Martin (Oct. 26)

Just Missing: Delaware (4-3, 2-1 CAA); UT Martin (5-2, 4-0 Ohio Valley)

— 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 Bob Solorio/Sacramento State Athletics)