Don’t put away those flip flops just yet. We will still need them on a weekly basis as long as CAA Football and the Missouri Valley Football Conference are around.
Boasting six of the top 16 teams in the Athlon FCS Power Poll, the CAA is back on top of the conference rankings over the MVFC. Sure, whoever’s No. 2 might as well be No. 1A, but neither of the top two FCS conferences even wants that distinction, so the Missouri Valley won’t be happy.
Here’s the Athlon FCS Power Poll for games through Oct. 27:
1. North Dakota State
(8-0, 5-0 Missouri Valley)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Last Week’s Result: 59-14 win over South Dakota
Quarterback Easton Stick accounted for five touchdowns and became the Bison’s all-time leader in TD passes (73). They’ve won 14 straight games dating to last year’s national championship season.
Next Opponent: Youngstown State (Nov. 3)
2. James Madison
(6-2, 4-1 CAA)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Last Week’s Result: 13-10 Stony Brook
It’s hard to keep up with the Joneses.... when the Jones are named North Dakota State. The Dukes managed only 243 yards against Stony Brook, but Tyler Gray’s two field goals in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in a 2017 playoff rematch.
Next Opponent: at New Hampshire (Nov. 3)
3. Kennesaw State
(7-1, 3-0 Big South)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Last Week’s Result: 38-10 win over Charleston Southern
Senior Chandler Burks became the first quarterback in Big South history with both 30 touchdown runs (46) and passes (30) in a career. He had two of each in the win over CSU.
Next Opponent: Campbell (Nov. 3)
4. South Dakota State
(5-2, 3-2 Missouri Valley)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Last Week’s Result: 38-28 win over Illinois State
Taryn Christion’s 81-yard touchdown pass to Cade Johnson in the second quarter highlighted the Jackrabbits’ pivotal win in the Missouri Valley. Christion passed for 292 yards and three scores.
Next Opponent: Missouri State (Nov. 3)
5. UC Davis
(7-1, 5-0 Big Sky)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Last Week’s Result: 49-21 win over Montana
Head coach Dan Hawkins’ team trailed 21-3 at halftime, but ran off 46 unanswered points in the second half, including 36 in the fourth quarter. Six different players scored touchdowns.
Next Opponent: Northern Arizona (Nov. 3)
6. Weber State
(6-2, 4-1 Big Sky)
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Last Week’s Result: 35-30 win over North Dakota
QB Jake Constantine had his best game with 318 passing yards and four total touchdowns. The Wildcats have posted three straight quality Big Sky wins since a loss at Northern Arizona.
Next Opponent: Sacramento State (Nov. 3)
7. Eastern Washington
(6-2, 4-1 Big Sky)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Last Week’s Result: 38-14 win over Idaho
All-America QB Gage Gubrud will have season-ending surgery for a lower leg injury, but sophomore Eric Barriere (396 total yards, four TDs) was in full control of a rivalry win over Idaho.
Next Opponent: at Northern Colorado (Nov. 3)
8. Elon (5-2, 3-1 CAA)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
Last Week’s Result: Bye
The bye gave sophomore QB Jalen Greene an extra week of getting adjusted to running the offense. The Phoenix have been efficient with points in 24 of 25 trips to an opponent’s red zone and a plus-nine turnover margin.
Next Opponent: Rhode Island (Nov. 3)
(6-2, 5-1 Southern)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
Last Week’s Result: 42-21 win over Mercer
Give the ball to T.J. Luther some more. The freshman hauled in 71- and 50-yard touchdown catches in Wofford’s big win over Mercer. Oh yes, the triple option cranked out 359 more rushing yards.
Next Opponent: at Samford (Nov. 3)
(7-0, 4-0 Patriot)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
Last Week’s Result: 38-0 win over Georgetown
Colgate is putting up absurd defensive numbers, including four shutouts and two other games allowing three points. The Raiders are surrendering only 3.3 points and 218.4 yards per game — the low in the FCS.
Next Opponent: at Fordham (Nov. 3)
11. Delaware (6-2, 4-1 CAA)
12. Towson (6-2, 4-1 CAA)
13. Stony Brook (6-3, 4-2 CAA)
14. Princeton (7-0, 4-0 Ivy)
15. Jacksonville State (6-2, 5-1 Ohio Valley)
16. Maine (5-3, 4-1 CAA)
17. McNeese(6-2, 5-1 Southland)
18. Illinois State(5-3, 2-3 Missouri Valley)
19. Southeast Missouri(6-2, 4-1 Ohio Valley)
20. Central Arkansas (5-3, 4-2 Southland)
21. Idaho State (5-3, 4-1 Big Sky)
22. Nicholls (5-3, 4-2 Southland)
23. Northern Iowa (4-4, 3-2 Missouri Valley)
24. North Dakota (5-3 Independent)
25. ETSU (7-2, 5-1 Southern)
FCS Conference Rankings
1. CAA Football – The top five teams are tied in the loss column with one apiece, although Elon has one fewer win.
2. Missouri Valley Football Conference – Only NDSU, SDSU and Illinois State are above .500.
3. Big Sky Conference – Neither Montana school is playoff-bound again.
4. Southern Conference – Wofford at Samford is the week’s big game.
5. Southland Conference – McNeese has retaken sole possession of first place.
6. Ivy League – Only one conference has a battle of unbeatens: Dartmouth at Princeton.
7. Ohio Valley Conference – Jacksonville State is in first, but Southeast Missouri owns head-to-head tie-breaker.
8. Big South Conference – Monmouth on a four-game winning streak.
9. Northeast Conference – The conference is stacked at running back and wide receiver.
10. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – Florida A&M is a MEAC win away from Celebration Bowl bid.
11. FCS Independents – North Dakota (5-3) might need a three-game, season-ending sweep for playoffs.
12. Southwestern Athletic Conference – Alcorn State swept Grambling State, Southern and Prairie View A&M
13. Patriot League – Two-time defending champ Lehigh has a seven-game losing streak.
14. Pioneer Football League – Stetson (6-1) is the most-improved team in the FCS.
— 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 James Madison Athletics)