Today's post is about understanding the FCS polls or my inability to understand how people vote. Eastern Illinois dropped five and six spots in each of the two major FCS polls released on Monday. This was following a 37-7 loss at No. 9 Iowa (that's number 9 in the big boy polls for those that did not follow along).
Evidently a loss to the No. 9 team in the country does not warrant the same credit as a win over a non-Division I school or a blow out loss to an unranked FBS team. I'm not saying tht EIU should have moved up in the poll or that a one or two spot was not warranted based on what happened but to drop the Panthers five and six spots behind teams that did not play schools at even the FCS level is absurd.
Jacksonville State made a giant leap after its win over FBS member Ole Miss and deserved every bit of that. The received nine first place votes for their double overtime win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Oh by the way Montana which white-washed a below average Division II team received a majority of the first-place votes to move up to No. 1.
Also North Dakota State which beat Kansas 6-3 did not receive a single first place vote. Now I understand that this was not a victory over the Jayhawks basketball team but still holding a Big 12 team to three points is quite the feat. The Bison could only manage to crawl into both polls at No. 21. UMass which beat FCS No. 4 William & Mary was able to leap past North Dakota State in both polls. So I'm guessing a middle of the road BCS school is now not considered a better win than beating a ranked FCS program.
Normally the rule of thumb among FCS voters has been to drop a Top 25 FCS program only one or at most two spots when they lose to an FBS program. Here are this week's victims in the poll.
No.1 Villanova lost to Temple (31-24) and dropped to No. 2
No. 6 Richmond lost to Virginia (34-13) and dropped to No. 7
No. 7 Elon lost to Duke (41-27) and dropped to No. 8
No. 8 Stephen F. Austin lost to Texas A&M (48-7) and dropped to No. 10
No. 11 South Carolina St. lost to No. 16 Georgia (41-10) and dropped to No. 15
No. 13 Eastern Washington lost to Nevada (49-24) and dropped to No. 17
No. 19 Weber State lost to Boston College (38-20) and dropped to No. 20
No. 18 Eastern Illinois lost to No. 9 Iowa (37-7) and dropped to No. 23
Now while the moral of the story may be to play opponents of a lesser caliber to give yourself a chance that is not always the option or the philosophy some schools adhere to.
My other pet peeve is just tossing schools in the during your final couple of spots to complete a poll. Does Indiana State getting its second win in four years really warrant them receiving votes from any one. (No offense to the Sycamores which picked up a win over St. Joseph's College - that's in Indiana).
Finally kudos to new Sports Network FCS director Craig Haley for doing a projected bracket for the FCS Tournament. In his first go round he had both EIU and JSU making the field with the Panthers playing a Dec. 4 game at William & Mary. Will be interested to see where the bracket goes this week.
Just so I appear fair I have posted my weekly Top 25 votes below as I am one of the many voters in the Sports Network poll.
1 Jacksonville State
2 North Dakota State
6 Southern Illinois
7 Appalachian State
10 South Dakota State
11 William & Mary
12 South Carolina State
13 New Hampshire
14 Eastern Illinois
15 Stephen F. Austin
16 McNeese State
18 Northern Iowa
19 Weber State
20 Prairie View A&M
21 Eastern Washington
22 Holy Cross
24 James Madison
25 Northern Arizona