Monday, November 05, 2012

My Vote... For The FCS Top 25, 11/5/2012

Did I forget to vote?   Of course not.  In a week where everyone should remember to do their civic duty and vote, here's my ballot... for this week's FCS Top 25.



1: Montana State Bobcats
2: North Dakota State Bison
3: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
4: Stony Brook Seawolves
5: Eastern Washington Eagles
6: James Madison Dukes
7: Georgia Southern Eagles
8: Sam Houston State Bearkats
9: Old Dominion Monarchs
10: New Hampshire Wildcats
11: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
12: Appalachian State Mountaineers
13: Central Arkansas Bears
14: Cal Poly Mustangs
15: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
16: Wofford Terriers
17: Illinois State Redbirds
18: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
19: Indiana State Sycamores
20: Richmond Spiders
21: Villanova Wildcats
22: Harvard Crimson
23: Colgate Raiders
24: Towson Tigers
25: Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks
  • Most significant win: No question, for me, it was Appalachian State's mammoth 31-28 over No. 1-ranked Georgia Southern this weekend.  The Mountaineers, in one of the most thrilling games of the season, finally held off the Eagles after FS Trey Smith picked off the desperation heave of Georgia Southern QB Jerick McKinnon.
  • Appalachian State, thanks to their win and the "Most Significant Loss" this week, has gone from being a borderline playoff team to being in charge of their playoff destiny.  As long as the Mountaineers go ahead beat Furman, the back-and-forth game this weekend, Appalachian State just became the odds-on favorites to win the SoCon - and also made the at-large pool just that more crowded.
  • "I can't say enough about the tenacity and grit of our players," Appalachian head coach Jerry Moore said after the game.  "We didn't do anything really different (defensively in the second half), we just made tackles, we attacked a little more."
  • Most Significant Loss: All Wofford needed to do was beat Samford, a team the Terriers had beaten three times in the last four years, and they would have been in the driver's seat for the SoCon autobid.  But with their 24-17 double-overtime loss to the Bulldogs, the 7-2 Terriers are in real trouble.  The Terriers scored a touchdown with 1:52 left in the game, but the Bulldogs tied it with a touchdown and two-point conversion as time expired.  Then, both teams missed field goals in the first overtime, and Samford scored a touchdown in the second stanza, while  Wofford turned over the ball, thus ending the game.
  • “There were too many mistakes,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “We had our chances to seal the game but had a busted coverage there at the end. It was a hard fought game. They stuck to their game plan and we stuck to ours. I thought we had the game won, but just could not get them stopped and they tied the game. In overtime we missed one and they missed one, and then it gets down to that they made a play and we turned the ball over. We knew it was going to be difficult and they had two weeks of preparation. We are a different football team because of injuries, but that is no excuse. We need to get them ready for the next one.”
  • You also have to wonder if Wofford FB Eric Breitenstein is starting to get worn down after a stellar Terrier career.  Against Samford he gained 168 yards on 35 carries with a touchdown.
  • Even if they beat Chattanooga this weekend (and presuming they lose to FBS South Carolina the final weekend of the season), they will probably sit at 8-3 with seven Division I wins.  That's in real danger of being not nearly enough, as I detailed in College Sports Journal's playoff picks this week.
  • Forgotten Team: McNeese State.  They're not in my Top 25 this week - they're just outside - but keep an eye on their game against a transitioning FBS team, Texas-San Antonio, this weekend.  If they somehow manage to pull off their second FBS upset of the year, and then beat 3-6 Lamar to close the season, the Cowboys will be 8-3 with two very impressive scalps to show the FCS playoff committee when it comes to selecting at-large teams.  
  • I'm not ready to put Lehigh in the conversation of at-large teams yet - they'll be plenty of time for that after the Patriot League Championship game this weekend - but it's worth noting that the at-large field could be the strongest it's ever been.  I wouldn't want to be a 10-1 team going up against this field of at-large squads, at least three of which would have FBS victories in their back pockets.
  • Finally, here's the results of this weekend's ECAC Lambert Trophy poll, which still has Lehigh at No. 1:
Division I - Championship Subdivision Record
1. Lehigh 9-0
2. Old Dominion 8-1
3. New Hampshire 8-2
4. Stony Brook 9-1
5. James Madison 7-2
6. (tie) Harvard 7-1
Richmond 7-3
Towson 5-4
9. Villanova 6-3
10. Albany 7-2

Also Receiving Votes: Colgate, Delaware

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