Six weeks into the season, the FCS football field is starting to show its true colors. While the top two teams surprise no one at this point, the rest are fighting it out. Now is a good time to look at the big picture in the FCS.
The Valley has six teams in the FCS Coaches Poll Top 25. Four of those teams are in the top eight.
North Dakota State at No. 2 comes as no surprise, but South Dakota at No. 4 is. USD has invested heavily in their football program, and the investment is paying off. The Coyotes are also undefeated, with quarterback Chris Streveler playing extremely well.
Behind them, it seems that the only thing that will stop the Valley teams from making the playoffs will be each other.
For Youngstown State, ranked No. 8, a loss to USD last week and a visit from the Bison make their road to the playoffs tight. Same goes for Western Illinois, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Illinois State, who started the season 4-0 before losing to Northern Arizona last week.
The Jackrabbits have already lost to Youngstown State, while the Panthers have stuttered to a 2-3 start and take a trip to Brookings this week. One of those losses was to Western Illinois. The Leathernecks have a loss to the Coyotes.
Colonial Athletic Association
The CAA has grown into a very competitive conference. So much so that James Madison is getting “College GameDay” this week.
The Dukes are still ranked No. 1 in the nation and are still undefeated. They will take a 17-game win streak into Saturday’s matchup against Villanova, who is ranked No. 11.
In between the Dukes and Wildcats in the rankings is the other Wildcats. New Hampshire sits at 4-1, with their only loss to Holy Cross. They face a solid matchup this weekend against a Stony Brook team that just slipped out of the rankings.
Richmond slots in at No. 13 after a double-overtime game against Albany. The Spiders are off to a 3-2 start.
Elon sits atop the CAA due to staying unbeaten in conference games while JMU and New Hampshire were on bye last week.
Wofford have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the SoCon already. The only undefeated team left in the conference came in at No. 5 in the poll this week. Western Carolina tested the Terriers last week, but Wofford was able to come away with the overtime win. Western Carolina came in at No. 21 this week.
Samford is the third team ranked in the conference, coming in at No. 19 this week. They have one loss on the year coming against Western Carolina.
After losing to the Bison, Eastern Washington has gone on a four-game win streak. The Eagles remain undefeated in the conference to sit atop the Big Sky. Included in the streak is a tough win in Missoula against Montana. EWU sits at No. 10 in the poll.
Weber State and Northern Arizona are also undefeated in Big Sky play, but have played one less conference game than the Eagles. While Northern Arizona is not ranked, Weber State slots in at No. 18.
As for the other North Dakota school, the Fighting Hawks are struggling to a 2-4 start and 1-2 in the Big Sky.
Jacksonville State hold the No. 3 spot in the poll, having only lost to Georgia Tech of the FBS in their second game. One thing holding the Gamecocks back is a poor strength of schedule moving forward.
North Carolina A&T is the only FCS program to have a 6-0 record, but rank only No. 16 this week.
Two Ivy League programs remain undefeated at 4-0, Columbia and Princeton.