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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 11/4/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 11/4/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, check out this great picture from the crazy Delaware/Towson game this weekend, courtesy of Towson Athletics.

Three times, Towson had a chance to put away Delaware up by 2 touchdowns.  Three times, the Tigers didn't convert.

With 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Towson (8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) had a chance to pad a 28-10 advantage, but senior PK Drew Evangelista’s field-goal attempt from 33 yards banged off the left upright. 
On the ensuing possession, Tigers LB Monte Gaddis put enough pressure on Blue Hens senior QB Trevor Sasek to incite him to float a deep pass that junior CB Tye Smith intercepted at Towson’s 26-yard line. Smith wove his way 74 yards into the end zone, but the Tigers were flagged for clipping, which nullified the touchdown with 2:27 remaining. 
And on Delaware’s penultimate series of the contest, Sasek severely underthrew junior WR Michael Johnson on second down-and-2 at Towson’s 16, but Smith dropped a sure interception that would have led to the Tigers cementing a 31-17 lead.
Instead, Delaware would rally from 22 points down in the fourth quarter to escape Johnny Unitas stadium with a 32-31 victory, stunning the Towson crowd.  You could say everything about this win for Delaware was Lehigh-esque: from the amazing second half comeback from three scores down to the stunned silence from Johnny Unitas stadium, the same one that Lehigh delivered in 2011 in their 40-38 playoff victory.



1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Eastern Illinois Panthers
3: Fordham Rams
4: Maine Black Bears
5: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
6: Sam Houston State Bearkats
7: Eastern Washington Eagles
8: Youngstown State Penguins
9: Princeton Tigers
10: Southeastern Louisiana Lions
11: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
12: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
13: Towson Tigers
14: McNeese State Cowboys
15: Montana State Bobcats
16: William & Mary Tribe
17: Harvard Crimson
18: James Madison Dukes
19: Chattanooga Mocs
20: Southern Illinois Salukis
21: Montana Grizzlies
22: Samford Bulldogs
23: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
24: Charleston Southern Buccaneers
25: Bucknell Bison
  • Yes, that's Bucknell in the No. 25 spot.  In the past two weeks they've stunned both the Mountain Hawks and Colgate, and I'm putting them at 25 anticipating that they will give Fordham a real run for their money this weekend - if not win the game outright.
  • The big movers are Southeastern Louisiana, who have been creeping up my charts since the middle of the season, and McNeese State, who were stunned by the Lions at home, 41-7.
  • That Southeastern won, perhaps, wasn't too much of a surprise: after all, they had won five straight going into the game and seemed to be gaining momentum every week.  But it was the dominant nature of the win, on the road, that surprised me, holding Cowboy QB Cody Stroud to an 11-for-33 passing performance and making his evening miserable.
  • It was very easy for me to switch McNeese, who has looked unbeatable one week then completely ineffective the next, with Southeastern, who hadn't played the toughest schedule but took care of business.
  • A big question I had was: what to do with Samford?  Was their 28-26 loss to The Citadel a fluke?  Seeing as they were still a strong candidate for the SoCon autobid despite the loss, I thought they deserved to be in the Top 25- but where?
  • It was tempting to drop the Bulldogs out of the poll, but I ultimately kept them in just over where I have Lehigh.  
  • To reiterate what I said last week: the Mountain Hawks are in control of their own destiny: beat Holy Cross, Colgate, and Lafayette to close out the season, and they will win the Patriot League's AQ for the playoffs.  Lose any one of those games, and they will have to show a resume with wins over Princeton and New Hampshire, and losses to Fordham, Bucknell, and at least one other Patriot League team.
  • For Lehigh, the calculations are not for at-larges: it's win, and you're in.  Simple.  No need to depend on the Top 25 for positioning.
  • Finally, on College Sports Journal I break down the autobids and at-large bids, and try to patch them into what I think the field of 24 will look like.  My latest playoff breakdown is here.
  • In my prediction I have four teams from the CAA making it: the presumed CAA champions, Maine, as well as Delaware, Towson, and William and Mary, with James Madison and New Hampshire still theoretically alive as well.
  • I see the CAA as either having 3, 4, or 5 teams in the field, with it most likely that they have the one autobid and three at-larges.  If the perfect storm occurs, I could see five.  If the nightmare scenario happens, I could see three.  But four seems like the right number to me.

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