With Week 2 of the college football season complete, the top of The Item’s STATS FCS Top 25 ballot remains unchanged.
However, there were a few changes outside the 1-4 spots — which featured North Dakota State at No. 1, followed by James Madison, South Dakota State and Eastern Washington.
Just like last week, our ballot is going to include significant jumps and slides for a few schools. It should be noted that where teams are ranked now is based on what they’ve shown in 2019, not last year, preseason rankings or potential. That’s why Indiana State, who we had 13th last week, falls out of the Top 25 after taking an upset loss to Dayton in its first FCS action of the season.
As for the Southland Conference, four teams remain in our ballot. Central Arkansas leads the way at No. 6, which may seem a little high, but we’ll explain shortly.
So as the non-conference portion of the season prepares to wrap up, here’s a look at our notable Top 25 selections and full ballot for Week 2:
No. 6 - Central Arkansas (Last week: 9)
One major difference between our ballot and the STATS FCS Top 25 was the positioning of Central Arkansas — The Item had the Bears at No. 9, while the official poll had them at No. 20 — after a comeback road win over FBS Western Kentucky in the season opener. And this discrepancy is all but certain to carry over when the Week 2 poll is released.
While UCA hardly dazzled in Week 2, holding off unranked Austin Peay State for a 24-16 victory, it’s still 2-0 with the most impressive win by an FCS team this season. For that reason, the Bears stay in the top-10 — but they’ll need to start imposing their will on lesser teams to stay there as the season progresses.
No. 9 Montana State (Last week: 14)
Montana State picked up a big win for its playoff resume over the weekend in its home opener, delivering a 38-17 victory over fellow top-15 team Southeast Missouri State. Along with Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana’s Week 1 wins, as well as Southern Illinois’ upset over FBS UMass on Saturday, this stacks up among the top FCS wins so far in 2019.
No. 10 - Southeastern Louisiana (Last week: 10)
Much like fellow Southland member Central Arkansas, the Lions possess one of the most impressive early-season FCS wins of the season after a 21-point, top-10 victory over Jacksonville State in Week 1. Although they didn’t play this week, as their game against Bethune-Cookman was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian, nothing happened that warranted a drop in the rankings.
No. 13 - UC Davis (Last week: 5)
The Aggies picked up their first win of the season on Saturday, but didn’t do much to prove they are worthy of a top-10 pick. That’s why they slide eight spots to No. 13.
UC Davis edged out a win over 0-2 San Diego, who took an 18-point loss from Cal Poly the week before. And although the Aggies — who fell to FBS California in Week 1 — are positioned to be a playoff contender again, they’re going to need to pick up some quality wins to move back into the top-10.
No. 16 - Sam Houston State (Last week: 19)
While it’s hard to put much stock in the Bearkats’ win over NAIA Oklahoma Panhandle, there is something to be said about just how dominant they were on Saturday.
Sam Houston State did exactly what a team is supposed to do against a lesser opponent, rolling to a 77-0 victory that was even more lopsided than the final score showed. The Kats went up 21-0 just 2:01 into the game and took a 63-0 lead into the half, with eight different players accounting for the team’s first eight touchdowns.
With its first FCS test coming Saturday at North Dakota, Sam Houston State has a chance to make a move toward the top-10.
No. 19 - Nicholls (Last week: 18)
While a Week 2 bye didn’t hurt the Colonels, back-to-back 20-point wins by Villanova — who we jumped from No. 21 to 15 — did cause them to slide one spot. They can get right back on track and begin inching toward their top-10 preseason ranking this weekend with a convincing road win over Prairie View A&M.
The Item’s full STATS FCS Top 25 ballot:
North Dakota State
South Dakota State
South Carolina State
Sam Houston State
North Carolina A&T