By Myron Hosea, CSN So South Columnist
For those who enjoy seeing teams play exciting, close, competitive conference games, Oct. 17 proved to be your weekend.
All four Southern Conference games featured margins of 10 points or less while two of the three Big South Conference games came in at seven points apiece. Only Liberty’s thumping of Coastal Carolina by a surprising 45 points bucked the trend.
The Gridiron Power Index (GPI), the index ranking for the NCAA Division I FCS and a top indicator of at-large playoff selection continues with unbeaten and defending Division I National Champion Richmond in the top spot.
The Colonial Athletic Association, the largest league in the FCS has six teams in the top 25; the Big Sky Conference has five; the Missouri Valley Football and the Southland Conferences have three each; the Southern and Great West Conferences have two each; and the Big South, Mid-Eastern Athletic, and Ohio Valley Conferences plus the Patriot League have one each. (Games through 10/19)
Fordham quarterback John Skelton, Villanova defensive back Fred Maldonado, Eastern Kentucky defensive back Patrick McClellan, and Liberty kicker Matt Bevins are the recipients of the Football Championship Subdivision honors from College Sporting News for the week ending October 19.
Six ranked teams lost, all to other ranked teams, and half to lower ranked teams.
by Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist
Saint John’s took control of the race for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship with a thrilling 20-17 overtime win over previously unbeaten St. Thomas. That leaves SJU as the lone unbeaten team in the league, holding a one-game lead with three remaining to play. The crowd at that game - 12,903 – was one of the largest ever to see a Division III football game. The dramatic finishes were not confined to Collegeville, as Bethel kicked a field goal as time expired to tip Hamline 20-17, Augsburg needed overtime to nip Concordia 27-20 and Gustavus scored 14 seconds remaining to topple Carleton, 28-21.
By Chuck Burton, The CSN Way Columnist
It’s the halfway point of the season, and out east there haven’t been all that many surprises. Sure, not everyone expected James Madison to be one loss away from putting their playoff chances in jeopardy, and not a lot of folks thought Tennessee State would be making a real run at the OVC title, but face it: almost everything has played out just as predicted so far. Appalachian State, despite some early losses, is still in good shape to nab the SoCon title. Florida A&M and South Carolina State are both in the hunt for the MEAC championship. And Albany - what a surprise - is poised to win yet another NEC title.
But out West, it’s wild. In the Big Sky it seems like every single week there’s a huge surprise and if Montana stumbles, any one of five teams might emerge to win the conference title. The SWAC has seen last year’s SWAC championship finalists virtually knocked out - and a program that was once a laughingstock now poised to complete the comeback of all comebacks. The Great West is becoming known as a graveyard for ranked FCS opponents - and not just Cal Poly anymore. And the Southland figured to be a one-team race this year - but all of a sudden another team has wrestled early control from the Cowboys, and it’s a team few thought about in the preseason.
For Cowboys, Lumberjacks, Mustangs, Aggies, Grizzlies, and… Panthers… you can’t beat the West for excitement so far this year.
By Brandon Williams, CSN SWAC Attack Columnist
Thus far, the only certainty the SWAC has provided is that uncertainty will reign.
With the league approaching the midway point of the season, the path that was envisioned back in August has gone astray.