Category Archives: FCS Top 25

LFN’s FCS Top 25, 10/17/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And my No. 1 and No. 2, James Madison and North Dakota State, amply proved their worth again in tough conference matchups where they ended up victorious.

It wasn't as easy as the 30-8 final score might indicate, but James Madison finally solved the Villanova defense in the fourth quarter just when the Wildcats were threatening to tie the game.  The Dukes' remarkable winning streak just keeps rolling along - since losing to Colgate in the FCS playoffs in 2015, defending FCS National Champions James Madison has gone 20-1, their only loss coming to a North Carolina team last year that played in a bowl game.

North Dakota State's 27-24 win, however, against the runner-up in last years' FCS Championship game, Youngstown State, was a prizefight won in overtime when PK Cam Pedersen booted a 36 yard field goal to beat Bo Pelini's Penguins' on the road at the Ice Castle, Stambaugh Stadium.  Since November of 2015, Youngstown State has lost exactly two home games - both of them, now, to North Dakota State.

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 10/3/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And this wasn't a week where a lot of teams dropped out, but it was a week where there were a bunch of epic Top 25 clashes that caused some reshuffling in the ranks.

For example, Youngstown State humbled South Dakota State 19-7 at home in a defensive feast, Central Arkansas overcame Sam Houston State 41-30 in a shootout, and South Dakota continued their dominant early-season performance by jumping to a 38-6 lead and then holding off a furious Leatherneck rally to survive in a 38-33 win over Western Illinois.

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/26/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And, well, was I completely wrong about Villanova and Richmond, who were two of my Top 10 teams that got upset this week?

CAA fans will say that conference games in their conference are hard, but... Albany and Elon aren't known as being the giant-killers in the conference, let's just say.  It's great to see Albany do well, who were awful close to an FCS playoff team last season, and Elon as well, former home of former Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo as well as  the new home of former Lehigh offensive coordinator Drew Folmar.  But are they Top 25 teams?

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/19/2017


I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and let's just get all the drama out of the way now - James Madison is my clear-cut No. 1.

I know, right?  Shocking.

This week saw two Top 10 teams of mine last week go down - and Virginia, the games weren't close.  One might not have been too much of a surprise, as it came against a nationally-ranked team at their place.  But the other stunned a lot of people, including myself, and frankly, I hate missing the call of a Patriot League team upsetting a CAA team.
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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/12/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and for the second straight week - hold on to your hats - I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

I know, right?  Crazy.

Truth be known, the top layer of FCS teams did little to move themselves much.  When teams like New Hampshire were beating FBS teams and teams like Villanova were taking FCS teams to the wire, much of the Top 10 proved they were Top 10 worthy teams.
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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/5/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and this week, unsurprisingly, I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Not exactly going out on a limb, am I?

If you try to pick FCS games, one of the easiest picks of last week was to take the Dukes to upset the Pirates.  Pretty much all the experts across the board thought that James Madison, even with some suspended players, was stacked enough to take over rebuilding East Carolina, and boy, did they ever.

Remember the days when FCS vs. FBS matchups were defined by the FCS teams "wilting" in the fourth quarter?  With upper-echelon FCS teams like James Madison, that myth has been debunked for a while, but it was brutally apparent in this game, when RB Cardon Johnson easily eluded East Carolina tacklers on two 80+ yard touchdown runs.

That didn't surprise me at all this weekend.  And they're still my No. 1 team.

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/5/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and this week, unsurprisingly, I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Not exactly going out on a limb, am I?

If you try to pick FCS games, one of the easiest picks of last week was to take the Dukes to upset the Pirates.  Pretty much all the experts across the board thought that James Madison, even with some suspended players, was stacked enough to take over rebuilding East Carolina, and boy, did they ever.

Remember the days when FCS vs. FBS matchups were defined by the FCS teams "wilting" in the fourth quarter?  With upper-echelon FCS teams like James Madison, that myth has been debunked for a while, but it was brutally apparent in this game, when RB Cardon Johnson easily eluded East Carolina tacklers on two 80+ yard touchdown runs.

That didn't surprise me at all this weekend.  And they're still my No. 1 team.

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Villanova at Lehigh Game Preview: Battle Of Nationally Ranked Teams Highlight Mountain Hawk Season Opener

One has been here before; the other has not, at least not lately.

Over the course of the last few seasons, Villanova Stadium has hosted all sorts of games involving Top 25 teams.  James Madison, New Hampshire, Richmond - all of these CAA teams have been to the Main Line, at one time or another, at the same time the Wildcats have also been in the Top 25.  When it comes to hosting big football games, Villanova is no stranger to that situation.

Not so, Lehigh.

Sure, the Mountain Hawks have played a bunch of Top 25 teams over the course of the last several seasons.  And last year, Lehigh returned to the Top 25 as well.

But the Mountain Hawks haven't hosted a game like this, a Top 25 tilt between two opponents that are both in the Top 25, since the Mountain Hawks beat New Hampshire 34-27 back in 2012.

This year's season opener represents the cumulation of the long, hard road of building a Top 25, national-caliber FCS football team.  Last season was a year of a Patriot League championship, a return to national respect, and rings.  And it all leads to this weekend, one of the biggest games on the Week 1 FCS National schedule that will provide a tremendous test to see how this 2017 Mountain Hawk team might turn out this season.
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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 11/1/2016

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

I'm pretty proud of myself for not falling into the trap of South Dakota State.

Many people, after the Jackrabbits' huge win over North Dakota State, vaulted them to the Top 5 of their polls, but I know better.  The craziness of the Missouri Valley I thought would eventually catch up with them, so I had only reluctantly put them at No. 10.

Their loss to 3-5 Illinois State, taken in isolation, was a shocker - but perhaps not completely shocking, though, considering the Missouri Valley has not one but two teams that have beaten Power Five Teams and also have five losses.

In fact, there are three Missouri Valley teams - Illinois State, South Dakota and Northern Iowa - that can plausibly say, if they get to 6-5, they have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs as an at-large team, thanks to perceived quality wins.

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

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

"Back to Normal" seems to be the theme of this week's Top 25, with my top 9 unchanged from last week.

The biggest team to fall in my poll was definitely Montana, whose 45-34 defeat to Northern Arizona was even more resounding than the final score might indicate.  The Lumberjacks in this one held a 45-20 advantage before letting up two touchdowns at the end of the game.

The Griz have frankly underwhelmed all year to me, allowing a team like St. Francis (PA) to hang around for no good reason, running up the score against hapless competition like Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State.  With their second loss to a Big Sky opponent and nothing all that impressive in their schedule, it was an easy call to drop them more than 10 points in my poll.
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