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My FCS Top 25, 9/27/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

(Photo Credit: Elon Athletics)

Let's see, are there any other teams I can curse into losses this week?

Last time I was here, I was extolling the virtues of William and Mary and Stony Brook in this space.  This week?  Um, not so much.


1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Washington
3. Sam Houston State
4. Jacksonville State
5. Chattanooga
6. James Madison
7. Villanova
8. Western Illinois
9. The Citadel
10. Charleston Southern
11. Richmond
12. Cal Poly
13. Harvard
14. Montana
15. North Carolina A&T
16. Northern Iowa
17. Albany
18. Eastern Illinois
19. William and Mary
20. Colgate
21. Fordham
22. Tennessee State
23. Illinois State
24. Southern Utah
25. Sacred Heart

Notes on my Top 25:

* Geez, could William and Mary have made me look any more foolish?  After doing everything I could to make them seem like the second coming of QB Lang Campbell and the oh-so-close 2004 Tribe team, William and Mary - at home, no less - laid an enormous egg against Elon, falling 27-10 and making me question what I ever knew about the CAA.

How shocking was this result?  Start with the fact that Elon has only beaten two Top 10 teams in their 18 year modern history of a program, the last time happening back in 2007.

But a big part of the Phoenix' rise from the ashes came on special teams, when a blocked punt by DE Demetrius Oliver and a muffed punt set up short fields for Elon, while a stingy defense held the Tribe's offense in check all evening.  That offense that did enough against Hampton and Norfolk State?  Not enough this weekend.



The interesting question for me this week was: how far did I actually overrate them?  My answer ultimately was to No. 19, mostly thanks to a wide variety of mid-range upsets that made the 15-25 range very hard to figure.

* How on God's Green Earth did Colgate drop out of some people's Top 25?

Dipping them a little bit to 20, sure, maybe their 55-13 win against Yale was a "meets expectations" sort of win, though I thought 0-2 Yale was going to be an Ivy League contender going into the season.  And while Colgate didn't exactly impress against P5 school Syracuse, losing 33-7, a tough battle against one of the top teams in the country, Richmond, in a 38-31 dogfight, certainly, I thought, deserved some real credit.


You might try to argue that Colgate's 1-2 record might rightfully keep them out of the Top 25, but then why doesn't that argument hold water against 1-2 South Dakota State (who lost a 38-31 game to nationally-ranked Cal Poly)?  Or, for that matter, one of my favorite targets, 2-1 Youngstown State (whose ranked seems based on head coach Bo Pelini's presence and two cupcake-light wins over Duquesne and Robert Morris)?

The Jackrabbits fell out of my Top 25 after their loss to Cal Poly, and will have to get some quality wins before showing up in my Top 25, and the same goes for Youngstown State.  As far as I'm concerned, Colgate's win over Yale eclipses any win those two schools have put together at this point.

* Speaking of credit, 4-0 Sacred Heart deserves your attention as well, after their win over last week's darlings, Stony Brook, 38-10.

New York Newsday called it a "meltdown", but perhaps the success had a lot more with a stingy defense, led by a name you should probably familiarize yourself with. LB Kevin Barry.  Out of almost nowhere, he got 2 tackles for loss, 1/2 a sack, and a late interception return for touchdown that put the final. humiliating blow to the Seawolves.
The Pioneer's three initial wins weren't exactly heavyweights, but this one, against a nationally-ranked team, rightfully deserves your attention.  Looking down the rest of their schedule, too, there doesn't seem like there's any game that seems out of reach for them.  Somewhere, Bobby Valentine must be smiling.

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