FCS Top 25: James Madison, Montana State, North Dakota State to make closing arguments

NCAA Football

(Stats Perform) – The race right behind top-ranked Sam Houston in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 is sizzling heading into the final full week of the regular season.

On Monday, the Bearkats (9-0) remained as a unanimous No. 1, a spot they’ve held since the preseason. The voting, though, is competitive between No. 2 James Madison, No. 3 Montana State and No. 4 North Dakota State, which are all 9-1 and trying to position for one of the top two seeds in the 24-team playoff field, which the NCAA will announce on Sunday.

The top two seeds are guaranteed home-field advantage through the semifinals. Sam Houston, the defending national champion and only unbeaten FCS team, appears to be in line for the No. 1 seed if it beats Abilene Christian on Saturday, which would extend its Division I-high 20-game winning streak.

The other closing arguments: James Madison will host Towson, while Montana State (at Montana) and North Dakota State (South Dakota) face more difficult opponents.

A national media panel selects the Stats Perform FCS Top 25. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

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Stats Perform FCS Top 25 (Nov. 15)

1. Sam Houston (9-0, 5-0 AQ7), 1,250 points (50 first-place votes)

Previous Ranking: 1; Week 11 Result: 42-28 win over Eastern Kentucky

2. James Madison (9-1, 6-1 CAA), 1,182

Previous Ranking: 2; Week 11 Result: 32-22 win at then-No. 25 William & Mary

3. Montana State (9-1, 7-0 Big Sky), 1,163

Previous Ranking: 3; Week 11 Result: 20-13 win over Idaho

4. North Dakota State (9-1, 6-1 Missouri Valley), 1,096

Previous Ranking: 5; Week 11 Result: 49-17 win at Youngstown State

5. Eastern Washington (8-2, 5-2 Big Sky), 1,013

Previous Ranking: 7; Week 11 Result: 38-20 win at then-No. 6 UC Davis

6. Villanova (8-2, 6-1 CAA), 938

Previous Ranking: 8; Week 11 Result: 33-14 win over Stony Brook

7. Montana (8-2, 5-2 Big Sky), 889

Previous Ranking: 9; Week 11 Result: 30-3 win at Northern Arizona

8. ETSU (9-1, 6-1 Southern), 811

Previous Ranking: 11; Week 11 Result: 56-35 win at Western Carolina

9. Kennesaw State (9-1, 6-0 Big South), 802

Previous Ranking: 10; Week 11 Result: 28-24 win at North Alabama

10. UC Davis (8-2, 5-2 Big Sky), 749

Previous Ranking: 6; Week 11 Result: 38-20 loss to then-No. 7 Eastern Washington

11. Sacramento State (8-2, 7-0 Big Sky), 721

Previous Ranking: 12; Week 11 Result: 49-20 win over Portland State

12. South Dakota State (7-3, 4-3 Missouri Valley), 701

Previous Ranking: 4; Week 11 Result: 23-20 loss at then-No. 19 South Dakota

13. UT Martin (9-1, 5-0 Ohio Valley), 686

Previous Ranking: 13; Week 11 Result: 42-3 win at Tennessee Tech

14. Missouri State (7-3, 6-2 Missouri Valley), 600

Previous Ranking: 16; Week 11 Result: 34-27 win over then-No. 20 Northern Iowa

15. Southeastern Louisiana (8-2, 6-1 Southland), 577

Previous Ranking: 14; Week 11 Result: 56-28 win over Northwestern State

16. South Dakota (7-3, 5-2 Missouri Valley), 552

Previous Ranking: 19; Week 11 Result: 23-20 win over then-No. 4 South Dakota State

17. Southern Illinois (7-3, 5-2 Missouri Valley), 546

Previous Ranking: 15; Week 11 Result: 47-21 win at Indiana State

18. UIW (8-2, 6-1 Southland), 479

Previous Ranking: 17; Week 11 Result: 27-23 win at Nicholls

19. Jackson State (9-1, 7-0 SWAC), 373

Previous Ranking: 18; Week 11 Result: 21-17 win at Southern

20. Dartmouth (8-1, 5-1 Ivy), 252

Previous Ranking: 22 (tie); Week 11 Result: 41-7 win over Cornell

21. Mercer (7-2, 6-1 Southern), 228

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Week 11 Result: 10-6 win over then-No. 22 Chattanooga

22. Stephen F. Austin (7-3, 3-2 AQ7), 105

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Week 11 Result: 27-14 win at Central Arkansas

23. Florida A&M (8-2, 6-1 SWAC), 96

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Week 11 Result: 37-7 win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff

24. Princeton (8-1, 5-1 Ivy), 93

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Week 11 Result: 35-20 win over Yale

25. Rhode Island (7-3, 4-3 CAA), 76

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Week 11 Result: 28-3 win over New Hampshire

Dropped Out: Northern Iowa (20), VMI (21), Chattanooga (22 tie), Prairie View A&M (24), William & Mary (25)

Others Receiving Votes (schools listed on two or more ballots): Northern Iowa 64, Monmouth 61, Holy Cross 37, VMI 25, Chattanooga 21, William & Mary 17, Prairie View A&M 14, North Dakota 11, Eastern Kentucky 7, Sacred Heart 7, Harvard 4

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Stats Perform FCS Top 25 Voters – Stats Perform: Craig Haley, Gary Reasons. ASUN: Patrick McCoy, Mike Parris. Big Sky Conference: Doug Kelly, Tyson Rodgers, Larry Weir. Big South Conference: Brian Cleary, Matt Harmon, Mark Simpson. CAA Football: Scott Klatzkin, Greg Madia, Rob Washburn. Ivy League: Rick Bender, Craig Larson. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Bill Hamilton, Maurice Williams. Missouri Valley Football Conference: Dom Izzo, Mike Kern, Randy Reinhardt. Northeast Conference: Tad Maury, Ralph Ventre. Ohio Valley Conference: Neal Bradley, Kyle Schwartz. Patriot League: Eric Malanowski, Ryan Sakamoto. Pioneer Football League: Cody Bush, Jack Cronin. Southern Conference: David Fox, Jeff Hartsell, Phil Perry. Southland Conference: Zack Carlton, Josh Yonis. Southwestern Athletic Conference: Ronnie Johnson, Travis Jarome, Andrew Roberts. Western Athletic Conference: Josh Criswell, Chris Thompson. National Representatives: Josh Buchanan, Riley Corcoran, Sam Herder, Emory Hunt, Brett Huston, Kyle Kensing, Brandon Lawrence, Jon Passman, Lawrence Smith, Phil Sokol, Reggie Thomas, Jamie Williams.

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