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FCS Rankings: Sam Houston State Tops Preseason Top-10

Oh, it’s that time of year again. The time of year where everyone gives their take on the who the best team or teams are. However, we at Flurry Sports like to put our rankings out for the FCS top-10. For anyone living under a rock, the FCS is the Division One Football Champion Subdivision. It was formerly known as 1-AA.

The FCS was played last spring instead of last fall. Sam Houston State (1) and head coach K.C. Keeler are looking to repeat as national champions this fall. However, the Bearkats will certainly have some competition on the chase to repeat. As always, (3) North Dakota State will be trying to win another championship in their storied history. Behind them are (2) James Madison and (4) Delaware. This season should be a good one, no matter how you rank it.

sam houston state college football fsc rankings
Credit: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Preseason Top-10 FCS Rankings (Record & Result From Spring Season)

1. Sam Houston State (10-0, National Champs)

The Bearkats will have plenty of teams chasing them. However, for a national title-winning team and coach, they bring back nearly their entire roster. The return of defensive linemen Jahari Kay, Joseph Wallace, Jevon Leon, and Trace Mascorro is a big lift for the Kats. On top of that, returning starter Eric Schmid is at his best when under pressure. Out wide, and in the return game, the Bearkats have the ever-scary Jequez Ezzard, who flourished in the playoffs.

Three Big Games

  • September 25th at Central Arkansas
  • October 2nd vs Stephen F. Austin (In Houston)
  • October 23rd vs (9) Jacksonville State
Did Sam Houston State Win? Or Did James Madison Lose?

2. James Madison (7-1, Lost In FCS Semi-Finals)

It’s very possible that the Dukes are the most talented team in the FCS this year. After falling in the semi-finals last year to eventual champion Sam Houston State. James Madison has won 14-straight CAA conference games. Minus the melt-down from last year’s semi-finals, the Dukes return a lot on both sides of the ball. The Dukes are led by linebacker Mike Greene, and Percy Agyei-Obese. However, Agyei-Obese is nothing without his offensive line, and that includes offensive tackle Liam Fornadel. The Dukes have all the tools to succeed, they just need to start playing.

Three Big Games

  • September 18th at (7) Weber State
  • October 9th vs Villanova
  • October 23rd at (5) Delaware

3. North Dakota State (7-3, Lost In FCS Quarter-Finals)

You know a program is good when they go 7-3 and call it a bad season. Well, that’s exactly what North Dakota State did after the spring season. As the big dog at the head of the house, you get everyone’s best shot. However, NDSU shouldn’t be too worried, considering last spring was the first time since 2010 that a North Dakota State team did not reach the FCS Semi-Finals. The biggest question in Fargo is who is going to play quarterback. Will it be Cam Miller who stepped in last year and played well. Or will it be Virginia Tech transfer Quincy Patterson. I feel like we say this every year, but watch out for Christian Watson, who might be the most electrifying player in all of college football.

Three Big Games

  • October 2nd at (6) North Dakota
  • October 9th vs Northern Iowa
  • November 6th at (4) South Dakota State
NDSU Gets Win Over Arch Rival in 2020

4. South Dakota State (8-2, Lost In National Championship)

The news that Mark Gronowski will not be playing this year is a major blow to the South Dakota State championship hopes. However, they still have plenty of talented players. Running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Isaiah Davis lead the offense. With no Gronowski this fall, the Jackrabbits will turn to either Keaton Heide, who played sparingly during the national championship game. The other option is Chris Oladokun, who’s a grad transfer from Samford.

Three Big Games

  • September 3rd at Colorado State
  • November 6th vs (3) North Dakota State
  • November 20th vs (6) North Dakota

5. Delaware (7-1, Lost In FCS Semi-Finals)

The Blue Hens were dominant last year. They also return four defensive backs in Kedrick Whitehead, Nijuel Hill, and Noah Plack. However, the real story is that returning CAA-offensive player of the year Dijoun Lee. On top of that quarterback Nolan Henderson needs to step his game up, especially in the playoffs, if the Blue Hens want to keep contending.

Three Big Games

  • October 9th at Rhode Island
  • October 23rd at (1) James Madison
  • November 20th vs Villanova

6. North Dakota (5-2, Lost In FCS Quarterfinals)

Unfortunately for North Dakota, they won’t be able to sneak up on anybody this year. This year, they’ll get the real test. The defense is led by Devon Krzanowski, who is also the teams leading tackler. However, on the offensive side of the ball is where we head next. Returning quarterback Tommy Schuster, wasn’t great, but he was well above average last year. Running back Otis Weah should also start to turn some heads.

Three Big Games

  • October 2nd vs (3) North Dakota State
  • October 16th at Southern Illinois
  • November 20th vs (4) South Dakota State
Fighting Hawks Get The Best of Cross-Town Rival

7. Weber State (5-1, Lost In First Round Of FCS Playoffs)

It’s no secret, I was a big believer in Weber State last year when they started out undefeated. I still have belief in them going into the fall season. Signal-caller Bronson Barron had a forgetful one game play-off, but he’s still a very good quarterback. His favorite target this fall is going to be Rashid Shaheed. On top of Shaheed, running backs Josh Davis and Dontae McMillian will control the pace of the game. Weber State needs to put it some work on the defensive side of the ball if they want this as a season to remember.

Three Big Games

  • September 18th vs (1) James Madison
  • October 16th vs Montana State
  • October 23rd at Eastern Washington

8. Southern Illinois (6-4, Lost In FCS Quarter-Finals)

Southern Illinois dominating win against (3) North Dakota State last year was incredible. After defeating the Bison, the Salukis went on to have a good, but not great year. However, they are primed for more this season. Head Coach Nick Hill has transfers coming in from all over this year. The offense is based around quarterback Stone Labanowitz, who will throw to a plethora of receivers including Avante Cox and Landon Lenoir, who combined for over 100 catches last season. On defense, cornerback James Ceasar is one of the best there is in the FCS. If Ceasar and the defense get on the same level as the offense, the sky is the limit for the Salukis.

Three Big Games

  • September 2nd at Southeast Missouri
  • October 9th at (4) South Dakota State
  • October 16th vs (3) North Dakota State
Biggest Win In Their History?

9. Jacksonville State (10-3, Lost In FCS Quarter-Finals)

The Gamecocks were one of the better stories last season. They also played more games than most FCS opponents, as you can clearly see. The Gamecocks run last year was predicated on defense. However, they have a lot of skilled offensive players as well. Zerrick Cooper will resume starting duties at the quarterback spot. A big part of JSU’s offense is play-action. They are able to keep teams at bay because of how good their run game is. On defense, defensive-end D.J. Coleman and safety Nicario Harper are names to remember, as they might be playing on Sundays some time soon.

Three Big Games

  • September 1st vs UAB (In Montgomery, Alabama)
  • October 2nd at Kennesaw State
  • October 23rd at (1) Sam Houston State

10. Montana (Did Not Play During Spring Season)

Montana State and Montana both opted-out of playing during the spring last year. They also have the advantage of playing an extra two non-conference games last year. On offense, the Grizzlies go as quarterback Cam Humphrey goes. Samuel Akem is his favorite target, so look for him often. Before the spring 2020 season, we obviously have the regular FCS playoffs. The last year Montana played, 2019, they made it to the quarter-finals. On defense linebacker Jace Lewis and defensive back Robby Hauck will do a lot of the heavy lifting. This is Montana’s first season since the pandemic, so I’m sure they’re bugging to get on the field.

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