Final FCS Computer Rankings for 2023: South Dakota State, Montana Finish 1-2

January 8, 2024 by Staff

South Dakota State easily locked down the No. 1 spot for the 2023 season in the final Congrove Computer Rankings at  The Jackrabbits won their second straight national title by defeating Montana 23-3 in the FCS Championship game on Sunday (January 7) in Frisco, Texas. They outscored four playoff opponents by a cumulative score of 146-15, while allowing just 1 touchdown.

The most amazing thing about the back-to-back titles is that it came under two separate head coaches. Jimmy Rogers got this one after John Stiegelmeier got his in his 26th season. Rogers was promoted to succeed Stiegelmeier when he retired after last year's championship win. Rodgers was an assistant under Stiegelmeier since 2013 and served as his sole defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2022.

Back-to-back titles with different head coaches have now happened 3 times with 2 different schools since 2013.

During North Dakota State's run of 9 titles in 11 seasons between 2011 and 2021, the Bison went back-to-back twice when Chris Klieman (2014) followed Craig Bohl (2013), and Matt Entz (2019) followed Klieman (2018).

In the final computer rankings, South Dakota State has a power rating that is 12.57 points greater than the next-closest team (Montana), and a rating that is 20.92 points higher than No.2 Montana.

The computer's preseason projections had Montana State (not Montana) playing South Dakota Dakota State for the tile, with the Bobcats picked to win it all. The Griz were a projected 5-seed in the preseason.

North Dakota State finishes at No. 3 in this season's rankings, followed by Villanova and Furman. Villanova played SDSU the closest in the playoffs, losing 23-12 while accounting for 12 of the 15 points the Jackrabbits allowed and the only TD surrendered.

Montana State is No. 6 in the final tally, followed by Celebration Bowl winner Florida A&M at No. 7.

Rounding out the top ten are Austin Peay, Incarnate Word and a Tarleton State team that was ineligible for the playoffs due to restrictions based on schools in transition from D2. The Texans become fully eligible next season.

See the complete Final FCS Top 128.