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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/11/2016

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

I love picking games correctly involving teams 1-13 because it makes picking the Top 25 very easy - simply cut, and paste.

Most of that comes from not overrating teams like Northern Iowa, who dropped out of my top 25 after a bad loss to South Dakota, and properly rating Villanova, who keeps winning and has been a regular in my Top 10 for several weeks now.

One of the teams I had been considering for the Top 25 is Dartmouth, but after a stunning 21-13 loss to Yale, I've had to re-evaluate that assessment.

Many a transitive property that puts Lehigh in the playoffs or maybe even the FBS National Championship game could start with "Lehigh beat Yale, and Yale beat Dartmouth, and Dartmouth beat New Hampshire..."


1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Washington
3. Sam Houston State
4. Jacksonville State
5. Chattanooga
6. James Madison
7. Villanova
8. The Citadel
9. Charleston Southern
10. Richmond
11. Harvard
12. Montana
13. North Carolina A&T
14. Western Illinois
15. Cal Poly
16. Samford
17. Eastern Illinois
18. Albany
19. Central Arkanasas
20. South Dakota State
21. Youngstown State
22. Tennessee State
23. Lehigh
24. Wofford
25. New Hampshire

Notes on my Top 25:

*  I really don't like having New Hampshire in my Top 25 at all.  Though they're a CAA team and sit at 4-2, they really haven't proven much on the field of play, beating four unranked teams in Holy Cross, William and Mary, Elon and Rhode Island.


* But there was a real lack of good teams to choose from at the bottom of the pile, and there was no way 2-3 Northern Iowa or 2-4 Illinois State were going to remain in there on my ballot with that many losses and a sub-.500 record.  I'd much rather keep a 4-1 Tennessee State in there with a loss against a ranked team than either of them, even win an FBS win.
* New Hampshire isn't the only team with a feather-light schedule in the Top 25.  My eye has been on James Madison, who lost to North Carolina and has beaten a bunch of currently unrated teams, and Youngstown State, who has done the same.  When you pack your schedules with teams like Robert Morris and Morehead State, you need to show me some wins against legit Top 25 teams, not also-ran Top 25 teams like William and Mary and Illinois State.
* The Dukes have been a big beneficiary as being the team to beat in the CAA, and also that they haven't slipped up against largely inferior competition.  With William and Mary's downfall, their best win isn't looking like a world-beater of a victory, though.  A loss to New Hampshire would have them plummet in my poll.


* The good part is New Hampshires's and Youngstown State's places in my poll will be tested this week with some big game.  If Youngstown State can beat UNI, they'll maintain their spot in my Top 25 and probably climb, and it's a similar situation with New Hampshire over James Madison.  If either Youngstown State or New Hampshire lose, they probably didn't belong in my Top 25 anyway, and it can be next team up, like Southern Utah.
* Two games really loom above all others this upcoming week.  The first is a SoCon battle of unbeatens, 6-0 Chattanooga vs. 5-0 The Citadel.  The Mocs are a bit more tested than the Bulldogs, but the winner of this game seems well poised to be a Top 10 regular the rest of the way (not to mention SoCon champions and in line for a potential top FCS playoff seed).


* The other is 5-1 Villanova vs. 5-1 Richmond, which has a bit of added intrigue because it's essentially a must win for the Spiders if they hope to realistically win the CAA title and remain in the Top Ten the rest of the way - they lost to Albany, so they already have a conference loss.  Nova, who has fought their way through an OK schedule and a relatively close game with Pitt

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