A question FCS voters frequently get is: How to rank FCS over FBS upsets?
Bascially, the same questions plaguing rankings on the FBS side ("Is Jacksonville State simply a really, really good FCS team? Or is Auburn really bad?) cuts the other way in the FCS world.
Jacksonville State almost beat Auburn. But the meaning of that close shave is still undetermined. Auburn didn't look like much last week after being dominated by LSU. What if the Tigers finish under .500? How will Jacksonville State's close shave look then?
With Furman's upset over UCF 16-15, we have another opportunity to play the game of "how good is this team, really?" Furman's in my Top 25, barely, mostly on the back of their upset win against a team that quite recently was seen as a quality mid-major in the FBS world. But the Paladins are 1-2, though with one of the toughest schedules in FCS. So, again: How good was the win?
1: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
2: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
3: Villanova Wildcats
4: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
5: Illinois State Redbirds
6: North Dakota State Bison
7: James Madison Dukes
8: Northern Iowa Panthers
9: Eastern Washington Eagles
10: Fordham Rams
11: Liberty Flames
12: Montana Grizzlies
13: Chattanooga Mocs
14: William & Mary Tribe
15: Southeastern Louisiana Lions
16: Portland State Vikings
17: Harvard Crimson
18: Indiana State Sycamores
19: Dartmouth Big Green
20: Stony Brook Seawolves
21: Sam Houston State Bearkats
22: Furman Paladins
23: New Hampshire Wildcats
24: Montana State Bobcats
25: Bryant Bulldogs
- 1-2 At 22. In some fronts, there is a question as to where to rank the Furman Paladins, if at all. UCF isn't considered a good team at all - the 0-3 Knights already have a loss to FIU, who could be worse than Furman, to their (dis)credit, and is currently in full dumpster-fire mode after dismissing their star running back after he failed two drug tests. Yet a 42-3 to Virginia Tech, a legit contender for the ACC title, should that really be seen as a black mark? And should a late, 3 point loss on the road to No. 2 Coastal Carolina really be a huge mark either? Depsite UCF's awfulness, I thought Furman deserved to make it into my poll, considering most FCS teams would have gone 0-3 against the same schedule. It seems like Furman is for real. We'll see if they can keep it up.
- Cal Poly out? With these early polls, there will be frustrating teams, which is precisely where I put the Mustangs. In their opener, they shocked Montana, 20-19, and then proceeded to lose to an FBS school (Arizona State) and a Top 10 FCS school (No 8. Northern Iowa). The key difference with Cal Poly and Furman? They lost to UNI at home, while Furman lost a squeaker on the road. It doesn't feel right to exclude Cal Poly, yet it seems like they still could only be the fifth-best team in the Big Sky. A win over Montana State would cement Cal Poly's quizzical status, and vault them into my Top 25. But until I can figure out what they're about, they temporarily fall out of my Top 25
- New Hampshire hanging in at 23. Stony Brook, previously not on my radar, got on it in a big way with an eye-opening 31-6 win over the Wildcats. Though a lot of the issue was the unavailability of UNH QB Sean Goldrich due to injury, the dominating nature of the game certainly made me wonder if the 1-2 Wildcats should exit my poll entirely. Ultimately I didn't feel comfortable dropping them all the way out (same with Sam Houston State, who were stunned by Lamar 49-46), because the Wildcats have consistently proven to be able to bounce back against losses like that. If they lose to Central Connecticut State or Elon, their next two games, they will absolutely be dropped out, as they should. But UNH has earned the benefit of the doubt, so they hang in at about 23.