Saturday, May 21, 2022

College football top 25: Montana rockets up to No. 4 in latest CBS Sports FCS Power Rankings

After a wild Week 1 of FCS college football action that saw six teams from the subdivision knock off FBS opponents and another 6 matchups coming down to within one score in the fourth quarter, we are back and ready for more in Week 2. As the slate of FCS games last week was played from Wednesday to Sunday, it was best to hold the ever-so-popular CBS Sports FCS Power Rankings until we got back to a normal schedule.

Plus, we would not have been able to account for all of the chaos we were treated to last week. With many FBS-FCS crossover games this week, I don’t foresee as many upsets as in Week 1, but who knows?

What I do know is that there were a lot of lessons learned about certain teams that’ll most definitely carry over the rest of the way. For example, South Dakota State, Montana, UC Davis and Jackson State — yes, that Jackson State — put the entire subdivision on notice, which should only make for an exciting Week 2 in the FCS.

Let’s kick off Week 2 the right way by unveiling The Czar’s latest top 25 rankings featuring Montana making a huge move after knocking off then-No. 20 Washington last week.

1. Sam Houston (1-0): The offense picked up right where it left off in the spring, dropping a 40-burger on Northern Arizona.

2. South Dakota State (1-0): The Jackrabbits looked more like a Mountain West team than Colorado State, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the FCS.

3. James Madison (1-0): JMU got its tune up game out of the way against Morehead. It faces a stiffer test this week against Maine.

4. Montana (1-0): Holy Grizzlies defense, Batman! Holding a Pac-12 offense to only one score is more than enough reason to skyrocket up the rankings.

5. North Dakota State (1-0): While the Bison got the job done, you can still tell they aren’t quite *there* yet … but will be soon.

6. North Dakota (1-0): We’ll see if the Fighting Hawks can be the next FCS team to pull off the upset against an FBS opponent this week when they face Utah State.

7. Eastern Washington (1-0): It is never easy for the Eagles, and this one went to overtime against UNLV, but it was well worth the wait as they got the win.

8. Montana State (0-1): The Bobcats were this|close to knocking off Wyoming last weekend. I expect them to be a serious player in the Big Sky this year.

9. Delaware (1-0): The Blue Hens offense got it into gear against Maine after they were getting blown out early. Hopefully, that was the spring season fog being shaken off.

10. Southern Illinois (1-0): It’s going to be a problem for opposing secondaries to try and match up against Avante Cox and company on the perimeter this season.

11. Weber State (0-1): I’m going to ignore the score against Utah, and you should as well. Weber is still a very good team.

12. UC Davis (1-0): The fact that UC Davis took a lead into a long weather delay, came back out and continued to dominate Tulsa speaks volumes.

13. Villanova (1-0): Impressive showing for the Wildcats against in-state rival Lehigh. Expect another great showing offensively this week against Bucknell as they continue their assault on the Patriot League.

14. Jacksonville State (0-1): The Gamecocks better find some offense between now and Saturday before they take the field against Florida State.

15. Southeastern Louisiana (1-0): Shout out to SLU, who had to move its home game with North Alabama to Alabama because of Hurricane Ida, yet they still got the win against the Lions.

16. Central Arkansas (0-1): UCA usually matches up well with Arkansas State, and it just came up short in Week 1. Pivotal game this week against Missouri State.

17. Richmond (1-0): Quietly, the Spiders are bubbling underneath the surface. I’m a big fan of quarterback Joe Mancuso’s game. He’s got the skills to be an All-CAA performer this year.

18. Murray State (1-0): Following up a strong spring season with a strong showing last week against Mississippi Valley State, the Racers are just stacking positives.

19. East Tennessee State (1-0): Put ETSU in the SEC! Great job by the Bucs dominating Vanderbilt from start to finish.

20. Austin Peay (1-0): The Governors are for real, and if you are not paying attention, they could steal the Ohio Valley this season.

21. Northern Iowa (0-1): For whatever reason, the Panthers matched up well against Iowa State. Despite the loss, they are definitely a top 25 team.

22. VMI (1-0): Proving the spring success wasn’t a fluke, the Keydets came out in Week 1 and took care of business against Davidson.

23. Holy Cross (1-0): Everyone picked Holy Cross to upset UConn, and they did exactly that! Coach Bob Chesney is a fast rising star, who has had success at every one of his coaching stops,at all levels.

24. Sacred Heart (1-0): Running back Julius Chestnut ran for 170 yards as the Pioneers blanked Bucknell.

25. Alabama A&M (1-0): NFL prospect QB Aqeel Glass was able to get his revenge against South Carolina State’s own NFL prospect in cornerback Decobie Durant, who picked Glass off three times in the spring matchup. Glass tossed a smooth 426 yards and a cool four touchdown passes without an interception on Saturday. 

Just missed the cut: Furman, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island

The Czar’s Game of the Week

Towson at New Hampshire: The Tigers made quick work of Morgan State last weekend, blanking the Bears 31-0. What was most impressive about the game was how dominant the Tigers were on both sides of the line of scrimmage and in the secondary. The offensive line helped settle in QB Chris Ferguson, and overall, Towson didn’t look like a team who didn’t play since 2019. New Hampshire played a great, opportunistic game against Stony Brook, leading big early before having to hold on late. This looks like your typical Wildcats team led by coach Kevin O’Connell, one that’ll scratch and claw their way to victory more often than not. Pick: Towson 24, New Hampshire 20

Players to watch: Towson CB Mark Collins Jr., New Hampshire WR Brian Espanet

The Czar’s Featured SportsLine Pick

Tennessee State vs. Jackson State: This year’s edition of the Southern Heritage Classic will be must-see TV. Both coaches in this game, Eddie George (Tennessee State) and Deion Sanders (Jackson State), based off Week 1, bring in excellent defenses and legit running games. See which passing game has the slight edge in this one by checking out my pick plus every Week 2 pick on SportsLine.

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