Not many will be surprised if they meet again in the playoffs, but round one of Montana State-South Dakota State went to the Jackrabbits on Saturday with a 20-16 win in Brookings. The computer had Montana State ranked 1st headed into the game but predicted the SDSU victory.
There are already just 24 undefeated schools remaining in the FCS out of 128 programs over-all, and a full one-third of those are only unscathed because they are the eight Ivy League programs that begin play this week. Again, counting those eight Ivy teams, there are 55 schools that haven't won a game.
We point that out because those FCS-FBS matchups have consequences in the FCS rankings this week. Rarely are those consequences of the good variety, but Idaho certainly turned such a matchup in its favor when the Vandals handed FBS member Nevada a 33-6 beatdown in Reno. As a result, Idaho catapulted up the rankings from 16th to 8th.
Idaho was one of three FCS schools to defeat a FBS program this week. The other FCS winners were Fordham at Buffalo, and Southern Illinois at Northern Illinois.
(SEE: FCS Top 128)
FCS schools also had their share of losses to lower division schools. For starters, NAIA member Indiana Wesleyan won as expected, 24-22 at home, over FCS member Valparaiso. Another NAIA program, Northwestern College, defeated Drake 27-24 in overtime in Des Moines.
Davidson fell 33-31 at home to D2 Barton, Alabama State lost 21-17 at home to D2 Lane, and San Diego lost 28-21 in double-overtime to D2 Colorado Mesa.
(SEE: Last week Scores and Picks)
A few other FCS teams came close to knocking FBS schools. Eastern Washington took Fresno State to double-overtime before coming up on the wrong end of a 34-31 score, Morgan State lost 24-21 at Akron, Holy Cross fell by 31-28 at Boston College, and New Hampshire lost 45-42 at Central Michigan (45-42).
One of the more impressive wins this week was Weber State's 34-17 road victory at Northern Iowa that propelled the Wildcats from 13th to 10th. Just as SDSU's win was a big signature win for first-year head coach Jimmy Rogers, the Weber State victory was huge for first-year head coach Mickey Mental. To say that both assumed the top role in successful programs would be an understatement. After all, South Dakota State is the defending national champion, and Weber State has been a FCS playoff in 6 of the last 9 seasons.
No. 3 William & Mary was a 23-6 home winner over Wofford, giving the Tribe 13 victories in their last 15 contests.
Another new head coach led No. 4 Sacramento State to a 34-6 home win over Texas A&M-Commerce. Andy Thompson was promoted from defensive coordinator when Tory Taylor left to become the head coach at Stanford. The next game for the Hornets is at Stanford.
This season has 117 of the 133 FBS schools facing one FCS opponent, and Army playing two such games for a total of 118 FBS-FCS matchups.
Of the 16 FBS schools that do NOT play a FCS program, 7 are in the B1G (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Wisconsin). 6 more are evenly split between the Big 12 (Houston, Oklahoma, Texas) and Pac-12 (Colorado, USC, Washington). The other three are Liberty (CUSA) , UTSA (American), and Virginia Tech (ACC).
FBS schools were 35-3 this past weekend and are 77-3 this year against the FCS schools. Over-all, the FBS is a collective 1,763-151 (.921) since we began tracking this in 2003.
Here are the FCS wins in 2023, so far:
September 9: Idaho 33, Nevada 6
September 9: Southern Illinois 14, Northern Illinois 12
September 9: Fordham 40, Buffalo 37
Here are the FCS wins in 2022 when the FBS was 112-8 (.933):
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - Won 16 straight over-all
Last: 20-16 home win over Montana State on Saturday, September 9.
Next: vs. Drake at Minneapolis on Saturday, September 16.
MONTANA STATE - Won 21 straight home games.
Last: Lost 20-16 at South Dakota State on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Hosts Stetson on Saturday, September 16.
SACRAMENTO STATE - Won 18 straight conference games, and 11 straight road games.
Last: 34-6 home win over Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Visits FBS member Stanford and former head coach Tory Taylor on Saturday, September 16.
WESTERN ILLINOIS - Lost 15 straight over-all.
Last: 34-18 home loss to Illinois State on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Hosts Lindenwood on Saturday, September 16.
WAGNER - Lost 22 straight road games.
Last: 24-0 at Navy on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Visits Sacred Heart on Saturday, September 16.
PRESBYTERIAN - Lost 16 straight conference games.
Last: 48-17 win at home over D2 member VUL (Virginia University of Lynchburg) on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Visits Wofford on Saturday, September 16.
NORFOLK STATE - Lost 7 straight home games.
Last: 31-23 win at Hampton on Saturday, September 9.
Next: Visits Temple on Saturday, September 16.