College football top 25: William & Mary arrives, Missouri State falls in CBS Sports FCS Power Rankings

Last weekend, a bevy of big-time upsets in the FCS meant James Madison, South Dakota State, UC Davis and Missouri State all came away with losses — with UC Davis (27-17 to Idaho State) and Missouri State (41-33 to Youngstown State) being the biggest. Having a weekend like that adds more intrigue to the season and makes college football fun as a whole. Who doesn’t love the chaos?

As a result, new teams debuted in the weekly Top 25. 

One team in particular, William & Mary, makes it into this week’s power rankings. The Tribe are led by coach Mike London, who has a Division I national championship from his time at Richmond in 2008. Now, he is trying to bring one down I-95 to Williamsburg. London is one of the best and brightest football minds in the game, and his Tribe are set up for sustained success in the Colonial Athletic Association, as well as in the FCS as a whole.

Let’s get to the power rankings … 

1. Sam Houston (5-0): Quarterback Eric Schmid was back in the lineup for the Bearkats as they blew out Lamar 41-7. They have a big game this week against the pesky Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

2. North Dakota State (5-0): The Bison just keep rolling along. NFL Draftniks need to become very familiar with the name Christian Watson. The explosive wideout is one of the best gamebreakers in the FCS.

3. Montana State (5-1): The Bobcats have dominated defensively, only giving up about 11 points per game. They have a big test this Friday against Weber State

4. Eastern Washington (6-0): EWU is the No. 1 scoring team in the FCS and led by QB Eric Barriere. The Eagles are also playing much better defensively the last three weeks. 

5. Southern Illinois (5-1):  Once again, the Cardiac Salukis showed up and showed out, upsetting South Dakota State 42-41 in overtime with an impressive comeback. Wideout Landon Lenoir was both clutch and spectacular. 

6. South Dakota State (4-1): I can’t knock the Jackrabbits down too far in the poll. They left the door cracked open for SIU to get the win after leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter.

7. James Madison (4-1): The Dukes took their first loss of the season, 28-27 to Villanova. JMU’s offense went ice cold in the fourth quarter.

8. Montana (4-1): The Grizzlies rebounded nicely with a 31-14 win over Dixie State. Up next is Sacramento State, which is undefeated in conference play and on a two-game winning streak.

9. East Tennessee State (6-0): A lot is said about the Eastern Washington offense, but the Bucs can definitely score, too, averaging 39 points per game.

10. Villanova (4-1): After upsetting JMU, we’ll see if the Wildcats can avoid the upset themselves as they take on Albany this weekend. The Wildcats have been one of the more consistent teams so far.

11. Southeastern Louisiana (4-1): Picking up right where he left off in the spring season, QB Cole Kelley is making a strong case to win back-to-back Walter Payton Awards.

12. Rhode Island (5-0): Quietly, the Rams are the lone undefeated team in the Colonial Athletic Association. Head Coach Jim Fleming is doing a phenomenal job.

13. UC Davis (5-1): The Aggies may have had the worst loss of the weekend, falling to winless Idaho State. UC Davis looked flat all game and definitely earned that loss. 

14. UT-Martin (4-1): After being up 41-3, the Skyhawks put it in cruise control against Murray State. UT-Martin is the team to beat in the OVC. 

15. Incarnate Word (4-1): We talk a lot about QB Cameron Ward, but let’s give some of that love to a Cardinals secondary that has been stellar, allowing just 6.3 YPA and six touchdown passes.

16. Jackson State (4-1): Coach Prime was able to avenge his team’s spring season loss to Alabama A&M, beating the Bulldogs 61-15. Again, this Jackson State defense is not playing any games; no team has scored more than 17 points on the Tigers. 

17. Kennesaw State (4-1): Since their Week 2 loss to Georgia Tech, the Owls have ripped off three straight victories, all of which have been highly impressive. I feel like they are starting to peak at the right time.

18. Mercer (4-1): ETSU isn’t the only strong team in the SoCon. Mercer has been passing tests and checking boxes. It has another big exam this week against VMI.

19. South Dakota (4-2): The Coyotes knocked North Dakota completely out of my Top 25. This team is a few plays away from being undefeated. I would expect them to continue to climb this list as the season rolls along.

20. Princeton (4-0): Princeton got a big win vs Monmouth and made a statement for the Ivy League in the process. The Tigers, and the rest of the Ivy League for that matter, just continue to dominate in nonconference play. 

21. Northern Iowa (3-2):  Coming off of a 34-20 loss to North Dakota State, the Panthers have a chance to redeem themselves with a game against South Dakota. 

22. Missouri State (3-2): An ugly loss to Youngstown State knocked Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State down 11 spots in my power rankings. For as well as the Bears had been playing, that loss was just inexplicable.

23. William & Mary: (4-1):  London is doing a great job down in Williamsburg. Tthe Tribe are playing with great discipline on both sides of the ball, and if they can keep this up, should make a push for an at-large bid in the FCS Playoffs.

24. Duquesne (4-1):  The Dukes got great play last week from QB Darius Perrantes, whose go-ahead score late in a 39-34 win over Bryant was one of three touchdown passes on the day. This week they’ll need their run defense taking on Sacred Heart.

25. Prairie View A&M (4-1): The Panthers were off last week and now face a winless Bethune-Cookman squad, which is in its first as a member of the SWAC.

Just Missed the Cut: Harvard, Dartmouth, Eastern Kentucky, VMI

The Czar’s Game of the Week

North Carolina A&T at Kennesaw State: This is a huge game in the Big South Conference between the Aggies & Owls. Both North Carolina A&T and Kennesaw State are on three-game winning streaks and playing some of their best football. The Aggies are getting solid play from QB Jalen Fowler, whose arm is balancing the offense and preventing opposing defenses from stacking the box against RB Jah-Maine Martin. Kennesaw’s option attack is operating at the same level of cohesiveness that we’ve seen over the last five years. Plus, they are playing much better defensively. 

This game will ultimately come down to whether North Carolina A&T can remain disciplined defensively and steal a possession while maximizing their own opportunities on offense. That’s a tall order to ask of a team, especially only having a week to prepare for this Owls option offensive attack. Pick: Kennesaw State 30, North Carolina A&T 21

The Czar’s Upset Pick of the Week

Yale at UConn: It amazes — but doesn’t totally surprise — me that UConn looked good enough in the two weeks leading up to a winnable game against UMass, only to fall flat in a 27-13. Folks, the Huskies are a historically bad team, and this week they welcome Yale, a strong opponent looking to bounce back after a loss to Dartmouth. 

The last time Yale played an FBS opponent was in 2014 — a 49-43 overtime win for the Bulldogs. UConn already has a loss against an FCS team — Holy Cross beat ’em 38-28 in Week 1 — and look for the Bulldogs to stake their claim as the best team in the state by knocking off the Huskies. Pick: Yale 23, UConn 20

The Czar’s SportsLine Lock of the Week

South Dakota at Northern Iowa: The Missouri Valley Conference is arguably the FCS’ strongest and this matchup between South Dakota & Northern Iowa is a pivotal one. If you love strong point-of-attack play, this is your game. Whichever team is able to control that will ultimately have the best chance to win. This one may come down to the wire.  Check out my pick plus every Week 7 pick on SportsLine.

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 7, and which top-10 team will get a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,800 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.

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