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My FCS Top 25, 9/3/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 9/3/2013 follows below the flip.


1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Eastern Washington Eagles
3: Montana State Bobcats
4: Villanova Wildcats
5: Sam Houston State Bearkats
6: Towson Tigers
7: Northern Iowa Panthers
8: McNeese State Cowboys
9: Cal Poly Mustangs
10: Eastern Illinois Panthers
11: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
12: Central Arkansas Bears
13: Richmond Spiders
14: Wofford Terriers
15: Colgate Raiders
16: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
17: New Hampshire Wildcats
18: Samford Bulldogs
19: Southern Utah Thunderbirds
20: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
21: Liberty Flames
22: Wagner Seahawks
23: Illinois State Redbirds
24: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
25: Pennsylvania Quakers

  • Most significant win: It wasn't easy to pick this week, but I narrowly took Eastern Washington's last-second QB sneak to defeat an FBS team over North Dakota State's last-second QB sneak to defeat an FBS team.  Why?  Because Kansas State, despite their success last season, had plenty of questions going into this season, and North Dakota State has made a living taking the paydays of FBS guarantee games and then kicking the pants off their hosts.  
  • Oregon State, despite being a victim of an FCS school in Sacramento State very recently, was built to be an outside Pac 12 title contender this season.  They were ranked, and they still might be a Pac 12 title contender, which makes Eastern Washington's achievement more remarkable.
  • I thought long and hard about putting McNeese State higher than 8, but stopped there.  Am I overreacting with one win over an excruciatingly bad FBS school?  Maybe, but I really, really like this Cowboy team that looks to me like a squad with a whole lot of quality and few weaknesses.  Everyone's focused on the final score of their stunning 31 point blowout of South Florida, but folks forget that they had to regroup after going down 7-0 early and getting shut out offensively in the first quarter.
  • Watching the McNeese State game twice, first live and then on an ESPN3 replay, it was a thing of beauty to see the Cowboys' confidence build as South Florida's confidence collectively imploded. When QB Matt Floyd tried to force a pass past CB Guy Morgan in the waning seconds of the first half, the pick six made it 29 unanswered points, to add to the first-quarter safety coming after a muffed punt snap by USF.
  • One more note on McNeese State/USF: it's worth checking the touchdown passes to TE Nic Jacobs.  On the first, he was so wide open I could have brought it in for the touchdown.
  • Most Significant Loss: Wofford picked a rotten time to not only lose, but get drilled, by a Big XII team that could be competing for a big-time bowl, Baylor.  The 69-3 evisceration was the most points the Bears had scored in a game since 1929 - and it was against a team that made a deep run in the FCS playoffs the previous season. Normal years there might not have been much of a drop, but in a season where eight FBS teams fell, they were the ones that dropped like a rock.
  • Forgotten Team: Liberty. With all the FBS upsets flying, and RB Dri Archer getting hurt, perhaps it shouldn't have been surprising that Kent State struggled with the Flames before putting them away late, 17-10.  But Liberty did deliver a solid defensive effort and came a lot closer than people realize to an upset of an FBS team in their own right.  They still have a ways to go offensively, but watch out for Liberty.  I thought 21 was the right place to rank them.

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