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My FCS Top 25, 9/9/2012

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 9/9/2012 follows below the flip.

1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Sam Houston State Bearkats
3: Northern Iowa Panthers
4: Appalachian State Mountaineers
5: James Madison Dukes
6: Montana State Bobcats
7: Eastern Washington Eagles
8: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
9: Stony Brook Seawolves
10: Georgia Southern Eagles
11: Towson Tigers
12: Wofford Terriers
13: New Hampshire Wildcats
14: Montana Grizzlies
15: Maine Black Bears
16: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
17: Youngstown State Penguins
18: Illinois State Redbirds
19: Indiana State Sycamores
20: McNeese State Cowboys
21: Norfolk State Spartans
22: Central Arkansas Bears
23: Harvard Crimson
24: Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
25: Albany Great Danes
  • Most significant win: If you have any doubt that North Dakota State is still very much the No. 1 team in the nation, check out the highlights of the Bison's 22-7 manhandling of Colorado State of the FBS last weekend.  Though they come out of that game banged up and S Colton Heagle is now done for the season with an injury (one of the players that killed Lehigh in the FCS playoffs last year), they amply proved why they are the No. 1 team until someone knocks them down off of their perch.
  • Worthy of mention, too, is that the Bison's win over Colorado State was no win over a poor FBS program.  The Rams had just beaten Colorado 22-17 the previous week, and could very well be a bowl team when all is said and done.  I'd even argue they're much better than Pitt, who was beat in Week 1 by Youngstown State and just got creamed by Cincinnati 34-10.  Past performance does not guarantee future results: the Panthers may very well prove to be one of the worst teams in the BCS, if not the FBS, in 2012.
  • Speaking of FCS-over-FBS wins, with the incredible number of them this year, perhaps it's time to change the rules, as Warner Wolf often says.  Namely, should some of these games actually count as "upsets"?   Four occurred last week, and three more were enjoyed this week as well: Sacramento State over Colorado (30-28), Northern Arizona over UNLV (24-17), and Illinois State over Eastern Michigan (31-17).  But so many are against such borderline FBS teams that it's downright comical.  Is there any illusion that FCS victims Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Memphis or UNLV would be anything but .500 teams in the fiercely-competitive Missouri Valley or Big Sky Conferences?
  • Frighteningly for the rest of FCS, six of the eight FBS upsets have come from the Missouri Valley and Big Sky conferences.  Even more interestingly, two of the Big Sky upsets came from teams to finish in the middle-of-the pack in Northern Arizona and Sacramento State.
  • Might there be more FBS upsets this week?  Oh, yeah.  James Madison heads to Washington, DC to face off against West Virginia - and lest you think the Dukes will be intimidated, they've beaten big foes before, like Viriginia Tech.  Cal Poly, too, heads to Wyoming in a very, very winnable game for the Mustangs, and I wouldn't put it past Western Illinois to knock off Iowa State or Northern Iowa to upset Iowa, either.  The Panthers came a whisper away from beating Wisconsin the week before Oregon State pulled it off.
  • Most Significant Loss: Without a doubt it was Georgia Southern's loss to The Citadel, 23-21, with Kevin Higgins' Bulldogs converting a late field goal and watching a 30 yard attempt by the Eagles miss with time expiring.  Jeff Monken's team picked a horrible day to slump, as now they will spend their bye week hoping that The Citadel will not be able to replicate their success against Appalachian State this weekend.
  • Higgins delivered a great postgame speech that will be recognizable to an awful lot of Higgins players at Lehigh.
  • If you want to see a replay of an incredible football game this week, it's worth wandering over to ESPN3 and catching Montana playing against Appalachian State in simply an incredible out-of-conference matchup that was decided in the final minutes.  It also serves as a useful reminder as to the level of play that will be required to compete in the FCS playoffs this year - not to mention an incredibly entertaining game. 
  • Forgotten Team: Norfolk State.  Last year's MEAC champs are now 2-0, adding a very solid 31-24 victory against Liberty.  The Spartan defense has only given up 2 offensive touchdowns in 2 weeks, and have a fair chance of shutting down Howard this weekend as well.  They are going to be a very tough MEAC team this year, and should be in the Top 25.


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