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Stan Becton | | September 12, 2022

How the FCS Week 3 rankings shake out after a week of upsets

FCS football season preview: Players to watch, potential upsets and more

Upsets drove last week's action in FCS football, leading to changes in Week 3's FCS Coaches Poll. Here's what you need to know.

FCS teams rise after victories over FBS teams

Week 2 saw four FCS-over-FBS wins and the latest poll reflects the impact of the upsets.

The highest-ranked team after winning an FBS game is No. 8 UIW. The Cardinals moved up one spot after knocking off Nevada, adding an FBS win to its top-10 FCS win in Week 1.

No. 12 Holy Cross and No. 13 Weber State rose four spots after their FBS wins. The Crusaders won with a hail mary, while the Wildcats dominated Utah State in a 24-point victory.

The fourth-ranked team with a Week 2 FCS-over-FBS upset is No. 24 Eastern Kentucky, a new entrant after a seven-overtime win over Bowling Green.

UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS upset

Last year's conference champions drop after losses

No. 18 UT Martin and No. 19 ETSU — 2021's OVC and SoCon conference champions, respectively — lost in Week 2, leading the teams to the biggest drops in this week's poll.

ETSU dropped the most of any FCS team remaining in this week's poll after a shocking loss to an unranked Citadel team on a game-winning field goal. UT Martin fell four spots — tied for the second most — after losing to Missouri State in a rematch of last year's playoff battle. With the bulk of conference play rapidly approaching, the former conference champions are heading in the wrong direction.

MOVEMENT: Making sense of FCS conference realignment

CAA teams rise after knocking off Big south opponents

While it may not garner the headlines of the Big Sky-MVFC challenge, the CAA saw its teams sweep the Big South in Week 2 as Rhode Island beat Bryant and William & Mary beat Campbell. The non-conference wins led each team to jump in the poll, with the Rams rising six spots to No. 14 and the Tribe rising five spots to No. 17. 

Rhode Island and William & Mary's moves in the poll show off a CAA that continues to flex its muscle as one of the nation's best conferences. In total, the CAA has four teams ranked in this week's poll, tied for the second most in the country.

MUST-WATCH: The top 12 non-conference games in the 2022 FCS season

New entrants

Three schools join Eastern Kentucky in the top 25: No. 21 Fordham, No. 23 Youngstown State and No. 25 Samford.

Fordham and Youngstown State join after starting the season 2-0. Fordham used strong play from one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS, Tim DeMorat, to pace it to its undefeated start. Youngstown State handily beat two non-conference teams, Duquesne and Dayton, that are typically conference-title contenders.

Meanwhile, Samford joins the rankings even though it lost Week 2. Yet, Samford's loss to defending FBS national champion Georgia was by fewer points than Pac-12 program Oregon. That, combined with a Week 1 top-10 upset, has Samford taking the final spot in this week's poll.

🏆: These 5 FCS teams could be the next first-time national champion

Games to watch this week

There's only one ranked vs. ranked FCS game in Week 3 as Delaware visits Rhode Island. Rhode Island is already 1-0 in conference play, while Delaware has yet to play a conference game but holds an FCS-over-FBS upset.

Here are other games involving ranked teams Saturday that are worth highlighting:

Grambling State vs. Jackson State would be a big game almost every year, thanks to the history between the two programs. However, this matchup has added flavor in 2022, thanks to a battle of big-name head coaches Hue Jackson (Grambling State) and Deion Sanders (Jackson State). 

COACH: Deion Sanders, Hue Jackson among HBCU coaches with pro experience that are changing the game

Sacramento State takes on Northern Iowa in the Big Sky-MVFC Challenge in Week 3. Sacramento State enters with a nine-game regular-season win streak — the longest in school history — but Northern Iowa beat the Hornets last year.

BIG SKY-MVFC: 1 word to know about all 6 Big Sky-MVFC Challenge matchups

One can argue that no team in FCS football has better wins in 2022 than UIW. The Cardinals now head across the state of Texas to play Prairie View A&M, the defending SWAC West champions. 

See the complete poll below:






1 North Dakota State (26) 2-0 674 1
2 Montana (1) 2-0 642 2
3 South Dakota State 1-1 617 3
4 Montana State 2-0 599 4
5 Villanova 2-0 557 5
6 Missouri State 2-0 528 7
7 Sacramento State 1-0 489 6
8 UIW 2-0 487 9
9 Chattanooga 2-0 456 10
10 Delaware 2-0 415 13
11 Jackson State 2-0 367 15
12 Holy Cross 2-0 363 16
13 Weber State 2-0 355 17
14 Rhode Island 2-0 272 20
15 Eastern Washington 1-1 262 11
16 Stephen F. Austin 1-2 233 12
17 William & Mary 2-0 227 22
18 UT Martin 1-1 218 14
19 East Tennessee State 1-1 210 8
20 Mercer 1-1 129 23
21 Fordham 2-0 60 NR
22 Kennesaw State 0-2 57 18
23 Youngstown State 2-0 56 NR
24 Eastern Kentucky 1-1 55 NR
25 Samford 1-1 46 NR

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