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My FCS Top 25, 10/1/2012

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/1/2012 follows below the flip.


1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Montana State Bobcats
3: James Madison Dukes
4: Youngstown State Penguins
5: Eastern Washington Eagles
6: Stony Brook Seawolves
7: Wofford Terriers
8: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
9: Old Dominion Monarchs
10: Illinois State Redbirds
11: Georgia Southern Eagles
12: Towson Tigers
13: The Citadel Bulldogs
14: Appalachian State Mountaineers
15: Sam Houston State Bearkats
16: Albany Great Danes
17: Cal Poly Mustangs
18: New Hampshire Wildcats
19: Harvard Crimson
20: Central Arkansas Bears
21: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
22: Tennessee State Tigers
23: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
24: Eastern Kentucky Colonels
25: Alabama A&M Bulldogs
  • Most significant win: Sometimes, I wish this could be a tie.  I think North Dakota State and Eastern Washington both had the most significant wins last weekend, since they entered last weekend with some tough assignments in beating two nationally-ranked teams that needed to come out like caged rats to preserve their postseason chances.  
  • For the Bison, they had to travel to Northern Iowa and do something they had never done since joining the Division I ranks - beat the Panthers in the UNIDome.  Even as the No. 1 team in the nation, it shouldn't have been an easy assignment, but the Bison's 33-21 win, where North Dakota State never trailed, was surprising domination.  If there was any doubt that the Bison amply deserve their No. 1 ranking, it was after this weekend's game, where they dominated the Panthers in every facet.
  • This also effectively eliminates the Panthers from postseason contention, as they are 0-2 in the Missouri Valley and 1-4 overall, with their only victory coming against D-II Central State.  Unless Youngstown or North Dakota State gets to two conference losses - or, even better, three - the Panthers' chances are miniscule of making the FCS playoffs.
  • For drama last week, you couldn't top Montana vs. Eastern Washington, where the Eagles, playing on their red carpet they call The Inferno, have proven to be Masters of the Grizzlies.  Down 28-17 with just under 3 minutes remaining, after QB Vernon Adams hit WR Brandon Kaufman for a 30 yard TD to cut the deficit to 2, all-black Eastern Washington recovered the onsides kick and subsequently marched 50 yards downfield, where reserve WR Ashton Clark caught the game-winner with under a minute to play.  At 3-1, a win over Montana in the books, and their only loss a tight one to Washington State of the FBS, the world is their oyster right now.
  • Unlike Northern Iowa, Montana, even at 0-2 in the Big Sky, isn't out of the playoff hunt yet at 2-3.  With tough losses to Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and Appalachian State, they would probably have to run the table to guarantee the FCS playoffs, and still might even make it at 7-4.  But it's a razor-thin margin for them.  In fact, looking back, they had some incredibly bad luck this season, after outgaining both Eastern Washington and Appalachian State, holding leads late, and losing on miracle finishes.
  • Most Significant Loss: What the heck happened to The Citadel this week?  After two extraordinary performances against Georgia Southern and App State to convince me they were the No. 5 team in the country, they allowed three touchdowns to Chattanooga and couldn't climb out of the hole in a surprise 28-10 defeat to the Mocs.  While the Bulldog's 2 turnovers didn't exactly help, the killer to their chances was 1 for 9 on 3rd down.  Given the Citadel didn't have any key injuries on offense, this loss was a real head-scratcher.
  • Incidentally, with all due respect to the Missouri Valley and Big Sky, is there going to be any tougher conference this year than the SoCon?  It's the first week of October, and only one school - Wofford - doesn't already have a conference loss, and they can look forward to tough games against Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, Chattanooga, Furman and Samford to go.  It seems real likely that the SoCon champions will have at least one conference loss, and perhaps two.
  • Forgotten Team: Alabama A&M.  Though tempting to put Harvard here this week, it seems like enough people were impressed by the Crimson's 52-3 shellacking of Holy Cross to put them in their Top 20.  Instead, I thought it was worth highlighting the 5-0 Bulldogs, who haven't always made it easy or pretty, but are 5-0 and have won their last three games by double digits, the last a 38-17 victory over Grambling State.  More than RB Kaderius Lacey, more than a tough defense, you have to look at their schedule, where the Bulldogs, if they can get past Alabama State, look like they could be 10-0 going into the final weekend against Auburn.

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