It’s week eight of the college football season and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is shaping up to have an exciting second half as it usually does.
Two-time reigning champions North Dakota State sit atop the polls with a perfect 6-0 record and much like Alabama in the FBS, they likely will remain there unless someone knocks them off. That someone has a tough challenge as even Kansas State couldn’t beat Brock Jensen and the Bison earlier this season, although Southern Illinois will give it their best shot this week. The Salukis (4-3) are coming off back-to-back upsets of top 10 teams defeating South Dakota State and Northern Iowa and hope to make it three in a row.
Outside of the top ranked Bison, only four other FCS teams remain undefeated: Fordham (7-0) is in the Patriot League that usually isn’t known for quality opponents so by reaching this point in the season it’s likely the Rams could run the table with not many challenges in the way.
After starting the season a month late as all Ivy League schools do, the Harvard Crimson have opened to a 4-0 record. The other two, Coastal Carolina (6-0) and Charleston Southern (7-0) are in the Big South. Coastal appears to be a real threat and will likely make a deep run in the playoffs. CSU still has it’s toughest three conference opponents, one being Coastal, remaining on the schedule and faces a tough task this week at Colorado.
Eastern Illinois so far has looked nearly unstoppable and fell only in a shootout with FBS ranked Northern Illinois. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, is arguably the leading candidate for the Walter Payton Award which is the FCS version of the Heisman. Garoppolo leads the nation in passing with over 2,300 yards and has 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
Central Arkansas started out as a top team but a tough early schedule has given the Bears a 3-3 record. While the games may get easier, the season took a tough turn Saturday when playmaking quarterback Wynrick Smothers was lost for the season with a broken ankle. The injury ends not only the season, but the career for the senior player.
Georgia Southern and Appalachian State are ineligible for the 24 team postseason as the two programs prepare to move to the Sun Belt, but the schools are heading in opposite directions. The Eagles remain ranked and playing fairly well, while the always dominant Mountaineers have stumbled out of the gate to an embarrassing 1-5 start with upset after upset coming under a new first year head coach.