And now, back to something I've been (mercifully) lazy about, my updates on the FCS (minor-league college football) and the KHL (Russian major league hockey). Last week, I must admit, I laid off my FCS stuff because many of the teams I rank did horribly. Fortunately, they were by-and-large the same ones that the coaches ranked, so I really didn't do THAT bad. The coaches, however, sometimes I wonder if they pay ANY attention to anyone else's scores before voting. For example, I counted 24 teams that as of this morning have winning records but not even a single vote on the coaches poll. This includes 5 teams that are at least 3 games over .500- Dayton (6-3), Georgetown (7-2), Alabama A&M (6-2), Duquesne (7-2), and Drake (7-2), which makes for a combined 33-11. Now I give you that many of these are from weaker conferences and I don't even rank them. However, compare it to the 8 sub-.500 teams that DO get votes (such as Missouri State, who got enough votes to rank 30th while sporting a 1-8 record) and are a combined 22-44. Missouri State has been clubbed by every halfway decent team that's come their way- including losing to big boys Arkansas and Oregon by a combined 107-14, and lovely competitive games against #2 Northern Iowa (42-7), #26 Illinois State (38-13), and #3 North Dakota State (51-21), leaving them outscored on the season 157-353. For this tremendous record of success they got 23 votes in last week's poll. If I were an AD, I'd want to know if I employed one of those 23 coaches that think 1-8 is rewardable success.
Anyhow, here's my rankings this week- and it shifts quite a bit after former #1 Georgia Southern fell to former #11 App State 24-17, and former #6 North Dakota St. beat former #2 Northern Iowa 27-19. NDAKST goes to #1 with their big-boy-less 8-0 record. Montana St. (8-1) pulls into 2nd with a 54-13 win over Idaho St. Wofford rebounds in to 3rd (6-2), after pasting slumping Elon 48-28. GaSo drops to #4 (still 7-1 ain't bad), and Lehigh (who I got to watch against Colgate yesterday) keeps their 7-1 record in 5th for a second week. Sam Houston St. (8-0) won a conference game 66-0 over Lamar and rises to 6th; App State's victory brings them fro 11 to 7. NIU falls all the way to #8 at 6-2, while Montana at 7-2 holds at 9 after a 45-10 rout of Weber St. Rounding out the top ten is the Black Bears of Maine, who go to 7-1 after pasting Villanova 41-25 (2 years from a national championship, the Wildcats are now 1-8).
Old Dominion (7-2) won a hard fought 23-20 game against then-#8 JMU (5-3) and rise to 11th, while James Madison drops to 18. New Hampshire... well, they did win, 31-24, over doormat Rhode Island to go to 6-2 and move up one spot to 12th. Jacksonville St. (5-3) has seen the wheels fall off of late, and fall another 3 this week to 13th after losing to Tennessee Tech (which the coaches actually had at 17th, and stubbornly I have yet to rank) 21-14. A battle royal between then-#12 Towson and then-#17 Delaware ended in a 35-30 win for Delaware; therefore, the Blue Hens (5-4) rise to 14th while Towson (6-2) slips to 15th. I had to nudge Liberty (6-3) down a notch to 16th when it took them 2 OTs to top Presbyterian 27-20. Harvard ( 7-1) continues to do the Ivy League proud after whopping Dartmouth (sorry, KC) 41-10, and they move up to #17.
William AND Mary (4-4) had a week off together and slip to 19th, just behind JMU. The next five spots did well enough to stay right where they are (and thus keep Tenn Tech and Dayton off my chart)- #20 Jacksonville (6-2), #21 Stony Brook (5-3), #22 Illinois State (6-3), #23 Indiana St. (5-3, and like W&M and J'ville, took the week off), and #24 UMass (5-3). I did have one spot for a newcomer, and with reservations I gave it to Jackson State (7-1) at #25.
This week, we have a handful of ranked games: NDAKST tries to keep its new #1 ranking against #23 Indiana St.; #10 Maine vs #15 Towson; #12 UNH vs #18 JMU. Others facing tough contests are GaSo vs surprisingly 4-4 Citadel; Lehigh has conference rival Holy Cross; App State has to follow up their big win against Furman; NIU tries to recover against resurgent Youngstown St.; J-Ville State tries to stop their slide against Eastern Kentucky; Jacksonville faces Drake in an all-or-nothing for the Pioneer League lead; and Jackson State faces rival Grambling.
Montana St. gets its turn with Weber St. this week; Wofford gets cupcake Western Carolina; Sam Houston gets SE Louisiana; Montana moves on to cupcake Western Oregon; ODU faces struggling Richmond; Liberty may have a little trouble with VMI; Harvard gets Ivy doormat Columbia; W&M, who's been making everyone look good this season, plays URI; Stony Brook gets Charleston Southern, Illinois St. gets state rival Western; UMass gets to clobber 'Nova; and Delaware gets to watch it all on TV.
Very briefly on the KHL, the teams are beginning to spread out just a bit. In the west, SKA has taken the lead with a 10-2-4 record (for simplicity's sake I just combine all the various OT results into one third column). They and Dinamos Minsk and Moscow make up the top pack; Lev and Vityaz (who actually had a 2-0-1 record this week) make up the bottom rung, and the remaining teams range in a 6 point span in the middle. Over in the East, Amur (13-5-2) continues to surprise, pulling out to a 6-point lead over Traktor. Ak Bars and Avangard trail the first group; everybody else is caught in a 3-point spread... Except my poor Avtomobilst, who at 3-12-2 trail the next guy (Barys Astana this week) by a full dozen points. Ah, well.