College football’s top 25: Monmouth enters CBS Sports FCS Power rankings in pursuit of Big South title

It’s the last week of the regular season in the Championship soccer division, and there’s nothing short of excitement and intrigue in week 12. There are plenty of lectures yet to be won, but teams like Holy Cross, Sam Houston and UT-Martin have clinched playoff spots. in the Patriot League, AQ7 and Ohio Valley Conference, respectively.

Last week’s results did a fantastic job of once again blurring the image of the playoffs in general. Teams like Southern Illinois, Chattanooga and the State of South Dakota – which lost on a Hail Mary to South Dakota – have put multiple scenarios on the line because of the Week 11 results.

While some teams have strong resumes, you never want to leave it to chance and put your fate in the hands of the selection committee. The teams on the bubble desperately need to end the season with a win. Those at the back of the Top 25 should try to increase a few places before Selection Sunday.

Here’s what the FCS Power poll looks like before week 12 …

1. Sam Houston (9-0): The Bearkats haven’t lost a game since late 2019 and on a 20-game winning streak. How cool would it be for them to run the table and say goodbye to the entire undefeated subdivision in their last two seasons in the FCS?

2. State of Montana (9-1): The Brawl of the Wild could decide the Big Sky Conference – or, at least, part of it for the Bobcats since they can’t play in Sacramento State.

3. James Madison (9-1): JMU’s only loss was a one-point decision against Villanova. Since then, they have not eased off the gas defensively.

4. Villanova (8-2): The Wildcats face Delaware in a big game this weekend. Can they avoid hitting their toes on the Blue Hens?

5. State of North Dakota (9-1): It may not look the same, but the results tend to stay the same. The Bison are still the Bison, and they’re a team you don’t want to see in the playoffs.

6. Sacramento State (8-2): The Hornets can win a share of the Big Sky title if they beat UC Davis. It is certainly not an easy task, but it would be a well-deserved victory.

7. UT-Martin (9-1): Championship and playoff tickets already in hand, the Skyhawks face SE Missouri State in a rematch at the start of the season.

8. East Washington (8-2): What a huge win over UC Davis for Eastern Washington. It’s now seven wins against Division I opponents this season, including the surprise of UNLV in Week 1.

9. East Tennessee State (9-1): ETSU is set to earn a Top-8 seed in the playoffs if it can handle business against Mercer. That would give him the outright SoCon title and 10 wins, including one against an SEC team at Vanderbilt. This team deserves a pass in the first round.

10. Jackson State (9-1): The Tigers are so good on both sides of the ball that they can play with their opponents until their opponents jump into the game before activating it and claiming the victory.

11. Montana (8-2): The Griz have a chance to ruin their most hated rival Montana State’s regular season special in the Brawl of the Wild.

12. UC Davis (8-2): UC Davis suffered a loss to Eastern Washington, which put him out of contention for the Big Sky title. It will be interesting to see where this team ends up in the playoffs. He may have a great chance if he can bring down the state of Sacramento.

13. Incarnate verb (8-2): The UIW controls its own destiny in the Southland Conference race.

14. Southeast Louisiana (8-2): The Lions will be Nicholls ‘biggest fans, hoping for the Colonels’ victory over the UIW this week.

15. Kennesaw State (9-1): The Deep South Championship is on the line this week against Monmouth. In the past three seasons, these two have played for the title.

16. South Dakota State (7-3): As good as this team has been all season, even since the spring, the Jackrabbits can’t afford another loss. Right now they only have six DI wins over the season and the magic number is seven. Hopefully last week they learned to always blitz the QB in an attempt at Hail Mary. .

17. State of Missouri (7-3): It has been a very good year for the State of Missouri. He’s on a three-game winning streak and is expected to advance to the playoffs by playing his best ball.

18. Dartmouth (8-1): A Big Green victory over Brown coupled with a loss at Princeton means Dartmouth wins the Ivy League title. Coach Buddy Teevens is one of the best in the country.

19. Florida A&M (8-2): With seven DI wins and a seven-game winning streak, it’s not just bragging rights that depends on this annual Florida Classic rivalry game against Bethune-Cookman. The Rattlers are thinking of the FCS Playoffs.

20. Mercier (7-2): Mercer can’t afford a loss to the ETSU as he would only have six DI wins and his resume would be scrutinized which could prevent him from making the playoffs. It is essentially a role-playing game.

21. South Dakota (7-3): With their Hail Mary win over South Dakota State, the Coyotes have now entered the general offer conversation.

22. Holy Cross (8-2): The Cruisaders did a great job in the Bronx last weekend, beating Fordham for the Patriot League title. Coach Bob Chesney is one of the bright young stars in the profession.

23. Stephen F. Austin (7-3): The Lumberjacks have quietly positioned themselves to win a global offer. Four-game winners in a row, they need this one against Abilene Christian, as that would give them the required seven wins in DI. But is the CV strong enough?

24. Monmouth (7-3): Monmouth fought a ton of adversity to put himself in position to win a Deep South Championship. Can the Hawks complete the exercise like they did in 2019?

25. Sacred Heart (7-3): The Pioneers must win in order to get the automatic playoff bid from the Northeastern Conference.

Just missed the cut: Prairie View A&M, Princeton, Davidson

The Tsar’s games of the week

Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman: The Florida Classic has been played between these two HBCUs since 1925, with FAMU leading the overall 50-24-1 series. What makes it intriguing, however, is that Bethune-Cookman has won the last eight games of the series, often spoiling the Rattlers’ hopes of making it to the Celebration Bowl or having a winning season.

This particular game has just as much at stake for Florida A&M. If the Rattlers can win convincingly, it strengthens their case for landing an overall playoff bid. All the pressure is on Florida A&M. Bethune-Cookman plays with the money of the house. He won back-to-back games with a push-for-three chance while knocking his rival out of the playoffs. Expect it to come down to the wire, but with the Rattlers able to squeeze past the Wildcats. Picks: Florida A&M 30, Bethune-Cookman 27

Montana State in Montana: I’ve been saying “The Brawl of the Wild” throughout this article, so it would be a crime if I didn’t have this game in the “Game of the Week” section. The state of Montana, despite the better record, still feels like it’s in a nationwide ‘prove it’ situation. The Bobcats are simply not respected enough nationally for their exceptional season. Statewide, the Grizes try to let people know that they are a legitimate national title contender despite some of their slippages. This game will come down to offense and which side can maximize their possessions. For my money, this team is currently the second in this poll. Choices: Montana State 21, Montana 17

The upheaval of the Tsar of the week

Rhode Island to Elon: Rhode Island came back to the forefront with their life-shattering victory over UMass a few weeks ago, and he would love to claim an eighth DI victory against an Elon team who are likely ready for the end of this miserable season. But, this Rams team has a tendency to doze off at the start of ball games. Elon has shown his ability to generate splash plays, so by the time the Rams wake up it might be in the offseason and not the playoffs. Picks: Elon 27, Rhode Island 21

The SportsLine lock of the Tsar’s week

Monmouth in Kennesaw State: It is for all marbles. The automatic bid is in play again as Monmouth travels to Kennesaw to take on the Owls. We saw the Hawks kill the Kennesaw dragon in 2019, made it a light job in the spring and will be looking to do it again this weekend. Will Kennesaw State save his best for last against the confident Hawks? You can find my pick for this game, along with all of my week 12 picks, on Sportsline.

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