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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | October 4, 2021

FCS football rankings: Eastern Washington soars, the Ivy League returns in the latest Coaches Poll

Cooper Kupp’s top FCS playoff highlights at Eastern Washington

There’s shuffling in the latest FCS Coaches poll after Week 5 saw two top-11 matchups and three ranked games overall.

Here are some takeaways from the latest FCS Coaches Poll on Oct. 4.

Eastern Washington crashes the top 5

No. 4 Eastern Washington has entered the top 5 after pulling off the biggest win of the weekend. The Eagles earned two first-place votes thanks to a 34-28 defeat of then-No.4 Montana. The move shakes up the top 5 of the FCS Coaches Poll for the first time since Week 2. Powered by QB Eric Barriere and the nation’s top scoring offense, Eastern Washington has its highest ranking since September 2019.

The Ivy League is back

After missing the entire 2020-21 fall and spring seasons, the Ivy League is back this fall. And what a return it has been; the conference now has two ranked undefeated teams in T-No. 22 Harvard and No. 24 Princeton. 

Harvard enters the top 25 rankings for the first time since Nov. 11, 2016, after routing a ranked Holy Cross. Princeton enters the rankings with the No. 1 scoring defense in the FCS, allowing a single touchdown through three games.

The two Ivy League schools are a part of 11 undefeated teams remaining in the FCS. The Ivy League is showing that a year off hasn’t impacted its quality of play. The conference will get a chance to flex its muscle when No. 24 Princeton meets No. 25 Monmouth in one of five ranked matchups in Week 6.

Jacksonville State hangs on in top 25... barely

T-No. 22 Jacksonville State has suffered back-to-back losses, scoring just six points in a loss to No. 17 Kennesaw State. It’s the first two-game losing streak for Jacksonville State since November 2019. It’s a mighty fall for the Gamecocks after starting ranked eighth in the preseason poll. 

Jacksonville State is tied for the worst record of any ranked team. Luckily, the Gamecocks have an FBS win under their belt, boosting their credibility heading into conference play. Up next, Jacksonville State hosts Stephen F. Austin, a team that gave No. 1 Sam Houston a scare in Week 5.

WATCH: Jacksonville State stuns Florida State with 59-yard last-second touchdown

There’s a battle at the bottom

No. 25 Monmouth (N.J.) took the final spot in this week’s poll, but a closer look will show a handful of teams vying for that position. Just one vote separates the ranked from the unranked as Central Arkansas and New Hampshire received 38 and 37 votes, respectively. Voting was also close with No. 24 Princeton as the Tigers lead Monmouth with 41 votes, a two-vote margin.

The bottom of the FCS coaches poll is tightly contested. With little separation between the teams, watch out for a new entrant next week.

TALENTED TANDEMS: Here are the top 4 dynamic duos in the FCS entering 2021

An enticing Week 6 ahead

This week’s ranking set up five games that feature two ranked teams. There are two top-10 matchups as No. 2 James Madison takes on No. 9 Villanova and No. 3 South Dakota State hosts No. 7 Southern Illinois. Elsewhere in the top 25, No. 5 North Dakota State meets No. 12 Northern Iowa in the second-consecutive ranked game for the Bison. Also, No. 10 Delaware visits No. 20 Rhode Island while No. 24 Princeton battles for New Jersey bragging rights against No. 25 Monmouth.

The games in the FCS are heating up as conference play is underway around the country. Expect the unexpected as top teams enter competitive contests.

See the full FCS Coaches Poll from Oct. 4, 2021:

RANK

SCHOOL

RECORD

POINTS

PREVIOUS

1 Sam Houston (24) 4-0 694 1
2 James Madison (1) 4-0 653 2
3 South Dakota State (1) 4-0 646 3
4 Eastern Washington (2) 5-0 608 6
5 North Dakota State 4-0 601 5
6 Montana 3-1 511 4
7 Southern Illinois 4-1 503 7
8 UC Davis 5-0 492 8
9 Villanova 3-1 454 9
10 Delaware 3-1 453 10
11 Montana State 4-1 402 12
12 Northern Iowa 3-1 376 13
13 East Tennessee State 5-0 357 14
14 Southeastern Louisiana 3-1 326 15
15 North Dakota 2-2 312 11
16 Missouri State 3-1 286 16
17 Kennesaw State 3-1 230 20
18 Weber State 2-3 206 18
19 Chattanooga 2-2 200 19
20 Rhode Island 4-0 152 23
21 UT Martin 3-1 117 T-24
T-22 Harvard 3-0 73 NR
T-22 Jacksonville State 2-3 71 17
24 Princeton 3-0 41 NR
25 Monmouth (N.J.) 3-2 39 NR

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