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My FCS Top 25, 10/22/2012

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/20/2012 follows below the flip.



1: Eastern Washington Eagles
2: Georgia Southern Eagles
3: Cal Poly Mustangs
4: Stony Brook Seawolves
5: Wofford Terriers
6: James Madison Dukes
7: Montana State Bobcats
8: North Dakota State Bison
9: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
10: Sam Houston State Bearkats
11: Old Dominion Monarchs
12: New Hampshire Wildcats
13: Indiana State Sycamores
14: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
15: Central Arkansas Bears
16: Appalachian State Mountaineers
17: Villanova Wildcats
18: Albany Great Danes
19: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
20: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
21: Illinois State Redbirds
22: Tennessee State Tigers
23: Eastern Kentucky Colonels
24: Princeton Tigers
25: Lafayette Leopards
  • Most significant win: I didn't hesitate at all this week to make Wofford the most significant win of the week, after their 38-28 win over Appalachian State.  .A back-and-forth affair, the Terriers and their wishbone offense would, after a drive kick-started by a 44 yard run by QB Robert Kass and finished with a 1 yard plunge by FB Eric Breitenstein, take the lead over the Mountaineers.  On Appalachian State's ensuing drive, DE Josh Roseborough would sack Mountaineer QB Jamal Jackson and cause a critical fumble, which was scooped by DE Tarek Odom and returned for the back-breaking final score of the game.
  • “It was a great win for us and a tough Southern Conference road football game,” said head coach Mike Ayers, after the game with a huge helping of understatement. “The great thing about our guys is that once that clock starts, we do not stop until the last tick. They got after it and Appalachian got after it and it was a great football game.”
  • How big an accomplishment was this for the Terriers?  In their 28 game history with the Mountaineers, Wofford had only beaten Appalachian State twice in 14 tries, their last coming 10 years ago in 2002.  These include years in the last decade where Wofford won the SoCon, championships, and even made deep runs in the FCS playoffs.  Kidd-Brewer stadium has always been a nightmare for Ayers' teams, and they made a huge leap forward with their win the Saturday.
  • With the win, too, the Terriers look like they're in great shape to make the FCS postseason one way or another, with winnable games against The Citadel, Samford, and Chattanooga.  (They also finish against South Carolina of the SEC, which will be a huge challenge.)  Ironically, they'll also be rooting for App State to get things together in time to upset Georgia Southern, since that's basically the only way that they will wrestle the SoCon autobid away from Georgia Southern, who defeated them 17-9 to give Wofford their only loss on the year.
  • Most Significant Loss: Again, little contest to me that this was Illinois State after losing a terrible, terrible game to 2-6 Missouri State 24-17.  What's amazing, though, was that the Redbirds were up 14-12 with about 3 minutes to play.  After a 15-play, 88 yard Bear drive concluded by a 2 yard TD run by RB Ashton Glaser, a safety after a muffed kickoff made it 21-14 with 1:30 to play.  Forced to onsides-kick at the 25, the Bears recovered and made it into a 42 yard FG by PK Austin Witmer to make it 24-14.  The 12 unanswered points in the span of 1 minute proved too much to overcome.
  • Technically, the 6-2 Redbirds are still in the hunt for an at-large bid and even the Missouri Valley title - though they are 3-2 in the conference, all the teams in front of them have one loss, and they also play a bunch of them as well.  But if they lose like this to Missouri State, you have to wonder: what will Indiana State and North Dakota State do to them?
  • Forgotten Team: Southeastern Louisiana.  Take a look, for a second, at the Southland Conference standings.  Which is the team that is undefeated in conference play?  Last year's phenom, Sam Houston State?  Nope.  Central Arkansas, who made the FCS playoffs for the first time last year?  Uh-uh.  It's the 3-4 Lions, incredibly, who have unsuccessfully navigated a brutal out-of-conference schedule, playing Missouri and UAB of the FBS world, as well as nationally-ranked South Dakota State and OVC title contender UT Martin, but actually dispatched of their three conference teams to be sitting atop the standings, undefeated.
  • Incredibly, the Lions, coming off the bye week, are in control of their own destiny in the Southland.  Win three games in three weeks, over the cream of the Southland (Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, and Stephen F. Austin), and they'll be in the FCS playoffs with the autobid.  Lose any one, though, and they'll almost certainly be out of contention, barring some serious help from the rest of the teams in the conference.  
  • If they do actually run the table, one interesting side note would be that they could effectively eliminate Sam Houston State from playoff contention (with three losses and a D-II win, they'd have to beat Texas A&M, the No. 5 team in the country, to make the playoffs), and would put Central Arkansas in serious jeopardy of missing out as well (if they lose to the Lions and lose one more contest, they'd be at 7-4, but only at 6 D-I wins).
  • Lehigh's also No.1 in one poll this week - the Lambert Poll, which was released this week.  The poll which represents the best team in the East, Lehigh won this last year after their amazing run in the 2011 season and got to accept the award at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, whose organization runs the poll.

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