Skip to main content

My FCS Top 25, 10/17/2011

Below the flip, see my Top 25 for this week.

1: Georgia Southern Eagles
2: Northern Iowa Panthers
3: North Dakota State Bison
4: Wofford Terriers
5: Montana State Bobcats
6: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
7: Maine Black Bears
8: Sam Houston State Bearkats
9: Appalachian State Mountaineers
10: Montana Grizzlies
11: New Hampshire Wildcats
12: James Madison Dukes
13: Harvard Crimson
14: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
15: Indiana State Sycamores
16: Norfolk State Spartans
17: Towson Tigers
18: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
19: Liberty Flames
20: Alabama State Hornets
21: Albany Great Danes
22: North Dakota Fighting Sioux
23: Brown Bears
24: Holy Cross Crusaders
25: Jacksonville Dolphins

Three quick hits about my Top 25:

* Man, picking 18-25 was a very tough exercise.

4-2 Delaware at No. 18 wasn't as difficult a pick - I rate them lower than most people, not giving the Hens too much of respect for three wins over Old Dominion, Delaware State and D-II West Chester - and it was easy to put 3-3 Liberty at No. 19, after their 63-27 payback shellacking of Coastal Carolina this weekend, considering their losses were to FBS North Carolina State and two Top 15 teams in James Madison and Lehigh.

But 20-25 were real struggles.  To me, 3-3 Richmond and 4-3 William & Mary were out - the Tribe only beat one team with a winning record, while Richmond is 0-3 in conference play.  5-2 Old Dominion weren't in my Top 25 last week, and their 39-35 loss to Towson wasn't going to be where I start putting the Monarchs in.  4-2 Samford got that way without beating a ranked team - and padding their schedule with 1-5 Gardner-Webb and D-II Stillman.

Overall, my feeling is that while the top teams in the power conferences certainly deserve recognition (Maine, Towson, James Madison, Wofford), the mid-range teams in these divisions have really failed to impress me very much.  I mean, is beating 1-6 Villanova all that impressive just because they share a conference with Maine?  Personally, I'd rate a win over Harvard a lot more than that.

* I settled on 6-1 Alabama State, 4-2 North Dakota, 4-2 Albany, 4-1 Brown, 3-3 Holy Cross, and 4-2 Jacksonville to fill out my Top 25.  I'm not thrilled with the picks, but I think in the end they're worthy picks.

Alabama State, the best team in the SWAC, has beaten every FCS team they've faced, and has only lost to an FBS opponent.  Albany's only losses have been to 3-3 Colgate in overtime, and No. 7 Maine - not a bad resume, along with four resounding wins.  Brown's only loss came to No. 13 Harvard, and they handled Rhode Island, Holy Cross, and Stony Book out-of-conference.

North Dakota felt like more of a reach to me - while they're 4-2, they have lost to two FBS teams and beaten two sub-Division-I teams.  So did Holy Cross to some extent - mostly fuelled by their win over No. 13 Harvard and their "close losses" to No. 11 New Hampshire and unranked UMass.  And Jacksonville, who has been impressive in wins over non-scholarship Pioneer Football League foes, also seemed like a bit of a reach with losses to 2-4 Western Illinois and 2-4 The Citadel.  But I felt a lot more comfortable giving them a spot in the Top 25 with full Division I schedules and a realistic chance to win their respective conferences.

* No. 8 Sam Houston State has done something impressive - they've gone 6-0, including a win over 3-3 New Mexico State out of the WAC.  For that, they're more than worthy of a Top Ten spot.

But do they deserve to be any higher?  They've only beaten one team with a winning record - 4-3 Central Arkansas - and the combined record of all their FCS opponents is 8-19, including two teams, Stephen F. Austin and Nicholls, who are looking for their second win on the season.

Some folks tend to overrate wins over FBS opponents, simply because they're FBS.  But while I give the Bearkats some credit for doing that, they'll have to really beat a big-time team before I start thinking of them as a Top 5 squad.


Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond&…

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the…

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that's the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.