We finally had our first crazy weekend of the FCS season. Eight of last week’s top 25 fell, but we saw the reemergence of a one time national power. Montana travelled to UC Davis and easily stopped the Aggies in a game that was never close. The Grizzlies look like they, along with Montana State and Weber State, are the class of the Big Sky.
- North Dakota State Bison (4-0)
The Bison had their bye week and are heading into MVFC play. If they come out of the next 5 weekends unscathed, just pencil the Bison back into Frisco again.
- James Madison Dukes (4-1)
James Madison got revenge for last year’s loss to Elon in a resounding way. The Dukes outrushed the Phoenix 336-33 and outscored them 45-10. Like NDSU, the next five weeks are big for JMU.
- South Dakota State Jackrabbits (3-1)
South Dakota State doesn’t have as tough a road through the MVFC as NDSU, but the Jackrabbits need to keep winning to get a top seed.
- Villanova Wildcats (5-0)
Villanova continued its unbeaten start to the season with a fairly easy win over Maine. The Wildcats will be looking forward to their October 12 matchup at James Madison that will most likely determine the CAA champion.
- Central Arkansas Bears (3-1)
Central Arkansas has started the season strong. This week’s matchup with Southland favorite Nicholls may determine the conference champion.
- Montana Grizzlies (4-1)
Montana showed they were all the way back with a huge road win at UC Davis. The Grizzlies will be heard from all year in the FCS and will threaten for a seed.
- Weber State Wildcats (2-2)
Weber State dominated Northern Iowa and showed that they have one of, if not the, best defenses in the FCS. The Wildcats don’t play Eastern Washington or Montana State in conference play. THat may be the difference in who wins the conference.
- Furman Paladins (3-2)
Furman did what was needed to get by ETSU, but it certainly wasn’t pretty. The Paladins have tough games coming over the next two weeks, a stretch that could determine the Southern Conference.
- Montana State Bobcats (4-1)
The Bobcats again started slow, falling behind NAU 21-0. But they stormed back to win going away. Against better teams, Montana State will lose with such slow starts.
- Illinois State Redbirds (3-1)
The Redbirds are ready to play the Bison this week at home off of their bye week. This may be their best change to get that big win over the unquestioned best FCS team of the decade. They’ll need James Robinson to have his best game of the year and Brady Davis will have to be flawless.
- Princeton Tigers (2-0)
Princeton rolled past Bucknell. Its hard to see a spot on the schedule where this team will suffer a loss.
- Northern Iowa Panthers (2-2)
Northern Iowa struggled again and was thoroughly outclassed by Weber State. The Panthers enter Valley play with more questions than answers. And the answers have to come quick because the next two weeks has them facing Youngstown State and North Dakota State.
- Towson Tigers (3-2)
Towson couldn’t get on the board against Florida, but the Tigers have a couple of easy games in front of them after the bye week.
- Kennesaw State Owls (4-1)
The Owls game was called in the middle of the third quarter due to weather against Reinhardt. The Big South schedule is in front of the Owls and they will be favored in every game.
- North Carolina A&T Aggies (3-1)
The Aggies rolled over a Delaware State team that is not close to be at their level. A&T looks every but the Celebration Bowl Favorite they are proclaimed to be.
- Nicholls Colonels (2-2)
Nicholls was never in their game against Texas State. This weeks’ showdown against Central Arkansas should tell us a lot about the Colonels.
- Youngstown State Penguins (4-0)
Youngstown took care of their business in the non conference portion of their schedule. The Penguins should be in the playoff field if they can go 4-4 or better in conference play.
- UC Davis Aggies (2-3)
A week after nearly knocking off NDSU, the Aggies got hammered by Montana. This isn’t a top 10 team. They will have a couple more chances for a signature win and will need to pick one up to impress the playoff committee.
- Southeastern Louisiana Lions (3-1)
The Lions didn’t look great for most of their game against Northwestern State. But the Lions got it going in the second half to run away. This looks like a playoff team.
- Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (2-2)
The Redhawks have a golden opportunity to win the OVC with Jacksonville State losing to Austin Peay. SEMO can’t trip up against a much improved Tennessee Tech squad this weekend.
- Delaware Blue Hens (3-2)
Delaware gave FBS Pitt all they could handle, leading in the fourth quarter. The Blue Hens have been up and down so far this year. They will need to find consistency to compete in the CAA. But it does look like they found the right guy at quarterback in QB Nolan Henderson
- Yale Bulldogs (2-0)
Yale faced pressure from Cornell last week, but was able to come away with the win. A non- conference game against Fordham, who upset Richmond last week, will be a small measuring stick for the Bulldogs outside of Ivy League play.
- Elon Phoenix (2-3)
Elon is under a bit of pressure to string some wins together if they want to make the playoffs. The win over The Citadel looks good, but the margin of error is almost gone for the Phoenix.
- Eastern Washington Eagles (2-3)
The Eagles bounced back from their ugly loss to Idaho by easily beating North Dakota. The schedule has some landmines (Montana, Sac State) but if Eastern Washington can finish with no more than four losses, they should qualify for the playoffs. The road won’t be easy, though.
- Samford Bulldogs (3-2)
After a disastrous start to the year, Samford has bounced back with three wins, including two in conference play. A win this week against Furman would make them the conference favorite.
Others Receiving Votes: South Carolina State, Stony Brook, Sacramento State, Sam Houston State, Houston Baptist, Maine, The Citadel, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky.
Voter Panel: Charles Burton, Kent Schmidt, Jamie Williams, Preston Adams, Ben Schleiger
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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