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Stan Becton | | October 11, 2021

FCS football rankings: A wild weekend of top-10 upsets shakes up the latest FCS Coaches Poll

Sam Houston defeats South Dakota State 23-21 to win first FCS title

A chaotic Week 6 that saw nine ranked teams lose, with two losses coming from top-3 teams, has led to immense changes in the latest FCS Coaches Poll.

Here are some takeaways from the latest FCS Coaches Poll on Oct. 11.

Scrambling in the top 10

The top 10 has a brand new look after a wild week of action. No. 4 Southern Illinois and No. 5 Villanova moved into the top five after defeating the third and second ranked teams in the country last week, respectively, in South Dakota State and James Madison. Filling in the top three are No. 2 Eastern Washington and No. 3 North Dakota State; James Madison dropped to No. 7 and South Dakota State follows at No. 8.

The two new entrants in this week’s top 10 are No. 9 Montana State and No. 10 East Tennessee State. It’s the first time either school has cracked the top 10 this season and it’s East Tennessee State’s highest ranking since 1997.

Yet, amid all the movement, No. 1 Sam Houston remains above the rest as the defending champions have a 16-game win streak, the longest in the FCS.

WEEK 6 RECAP: Two top-3 teams lose as 9 ranked teams fall in a crazy week

A lot of movement... A lot

Only two teams dropped out of this week’s poll, Chattanooga and Monmouth. However, just one team outside of the top 10, No. 18 Weber State, remained in the same spot in the FCS Coaches’ Poll as last week.

This week’s biggest riser was No. 14 Rhode Island. The 5-0 Rams surged six spots after knocking off then-No. 10 Delaware to stay one of eight unbeaten teams in the FCS. UT Martin jumped five spots after defeating Murray State. Two teams moved up four spots as No. 13 Kennesaw State and No. 20 Princeton each rank in the top 20.

The biggest faller of the week was No. 24 North Dakota, dropping nine spots; the Fighting Hawks have lost two straight games and are now 2-3 on the season. Elsewhere in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, No. 16 Missouri State dropped seven spots after a crazy fourth-quarter loss. Two teams fell out of the top 10 after No. 12 UC Davis and No. 15 Delaware suffered surprise losses.

Joining the Top 25 for the first time are No. 21 South Dakota and No. 25 Jackson State. The Coyotes and Tigers are the latest teams to join the poll, rising from 30th and 34th in the receiving votes category last week.

HBCU: Keep up with scores and updates from the HBCU football season

Can Week 7 continue the chaos?

After last week's mayhem, the FCS appears to be wide open. Entering Week 7, an unpredictable season could continue with three games featuring two ranked teams.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with No. 9 Montana State visiting No. 18 Weber State. The game will be Weber State’s fourth game against a ranked opponent; they’ve played two ranked FCS opponents (James Madison and UC Davis) and one ranked FBS opponent (Utah) this season. 

On Saturday, No. 4 Southern Illinois hosts No. 24 North Dakota and newly-ranked No. 21 South Dakota heads to No. 17 UNI. Both of Saturday’s games come from the MVFC as the conference leads the country with seven ranked teams.

Some other games featuring ranked teams to watch include:

These teams should be on upset alert, facing competitive conference opponents. Chattanooga is unranked for the first time this season, while Richmond features two of the nation’s top defenders in LB Tristan Wheeler and DL Kobie Turner. Meanwhile, No. 13 Kennesaw State will head into a hostile environment on the road against a North Carolina A&T team that has won three straight games.

SURPRISE: 6 FCS teams that can make a surprise conference run

See the full FCS Coaches Poll from Oct. 11, 2021:






1 Sam Houston (27) 5-0 698 1
2 Eastern Washington (1) 6-0 664 4
3 North Dakota State 5-0 639 5
4 Southern Illinois 5-1 588 7
5 Villanova 4-1 566 9
6 Montana 4-1 562 6
7 James Madison 4-1 508 2
8 South Dakota State 4-1 483 3
9 Montana State 5-1 475 11
10 East Tennessee State 6-0 467 13
11 Southeastern Louisiana 4-1 413 14
12 UC Davis 5-1 346 8
13 Kennesaw State 4-1 336 17
14 Rhode Island 5-0 334 20
15 Delaware 3-2 261 10
16 UT Martin 4-1 253 21
17 Northern Iowa 3-2 244 12
18 Weber State 2-3 207 18
19 Harvard 4-0 142 22
20 Princeton 4-0 125 24
21 South Dakota 4-2 104 NR
22 Jacksonville State 3-3 102 23
23 Missouri State 3-2 95 16
24 North Dakota 2-3 94 15
25 Jackson State 4-1 73 NR

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