Sam Houston, one of only two NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams still unbeaten, has climbed to No. 4 in this week’s Sports Network FCS Top 25 poll.
The Bearkats defeated Lamar 66-0 to continue Sam Houston’s best season start since 1964. The Kats lead the Southland Conference with a 5-0 league mark.
The No. 4 ranking is Sam Houston’s highest since December 20, 2004, when the Bearkats were rated No. 3 in the final poll of the season after reaching the NCAA FCS national semifinals.
Sam Houston also was ranked No. 4 on Nov. 1, 2004 after a 31-28 victory over Stephen F. Austin and stood No. 3 on Nov. 8, 2004 following a 52-47 win over McNeese State. The next week the Kats lost to Northwestern State 45-27 in Natchitoches and dropped to No. 10
North Dakota, coming off a huge victory over then No. 2 Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, received 133 of the 158 first-place votes and 3,918 points from the poll’s national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries to earn the No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history.
At 8-0, North Dakota State is the other unbeaten team in FCS play.
Big Sky Conference leader Montana State (8-1) moved up two spots to No. 2. The Bobcats, who defeated Idaho State, 54-13, received 19 first-place votes and 3,671 points. Appalachian State (6-2) moved up to No. 3 following its win over Georgia Southern, gaining five first-place votes.
Georgia Southern (7-1) and Northern Iowa (6-2) both fell four spots to No. 5 and 6, respectively, following Saturday’s losses.
The rest of the Top 10 was No. 7 Maine (7-1), No. 8 Lehigh (7-1), No. 9 New Hampshire (6-2) and No. 10 Montana (7-2).
Wofford (6-2), which owns a SoCon win over Appalachian State but has yet to play Georgia Southern, moved up to No. 11. Then it was three straight CAA Football teams – No. 12 Old Dominion (7-2) followed by No. 13 James Madison (5-3), which the Monarchs beat on Saturday, and then No. 14 Towson (6-2).
Jackson State (7-1), which is ineligible for the Southwestern Athletic Conference title because of a subpar Academic Progress Rate, moved up to No. 15, ahead of No. 16 Delaware (5-4) and No. 17 Illinois State (6-3).
No. 18 Jacksonville (5-3) sat two spots higher than No. 20 Tennessee Tech (5-2) despite losing to the Golden Eagles in Ohio Valley Conference action on Saturday. In between was No. 19 William & Mary (4-4), which had a bye in Week 9.
Rounding out the rankings were No. 21 Indiana State (5-3), No. 22 Liberty (6-3), No. 23 Harvard (6-1), No. 24 South Dakota (5-4) and No. 25 Central Arkansas (6-3), which had fallen out after the Week 2 poll of Sept. 12.
During the regular season the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon, except for the final weekend of games, when it will be released Sunday morning, Nov. 20, due to its use as an official tool by the NCAA Division I Football Committee in selecting the 20-team playoff field later that day.
The Sports Network will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.