Once again, the Big Sky made itself the story of the Football Championship Subdivision in Week 4. Five of the top 10 teams in last week's FCS Power Rankings were from the Big Sky. With the start of conference play, last weekend's results definitely shake things up a bit as we head into this Week 5. Four new teams -- UT-Martin, Villanova, Eastern Illinois, Chattanooga -- make their way into the rankings as a result.
Let's start with Sacramento State. The Hornets were the toast of the town in the FCS after their upset over Stanford, getting revenge on former coach Troy Taylor. But the Hornets may have read their press clippings a bit too much and lost to Idaho Vandals in Week 4.
Speaking of the Vandals, this is a team that has dominated one FBS opponent (Nevada), led another (Cal) and knocked off a strong Sacramento State team. Maybe the Vandals have earned the moniker of team that nobody wants to play.
The most surprising game of the weekend involving the Big Sky was the 40-0 thumping Montana State gave Weber State -- and on the Wildcats' home field, no less. Everything went right for the Bobcats on both sides of the ball in a thorough domination from start to finish.
How will Weber State respond this week? And how does Montana shake off its upset loss to conference foe Northern Arizona? The Griz are the biggest fallers this week, down eight spots to No. 17. We'll find out in what should be an even more exciting weekend of FCS football as many teams begin conference play.
|1. South Dakota State||3-0||The Jackrabbits defense has been stellar. That's always a good thing to have as they begin conference this weekend vs. North Dakota.|
|2. Idaho||3-1||The Vandals knocked off No. 2 Sacramento State and, to me, look like a squad that has its sights set on getting to Frisco, Texas, in January.|
|3. Montana State||3-1||The Bobcats thumped Weber State 40-0 on the road. I've always said a run game and defense travels well. Montana State's defense got the shutout, and the Bobcats ran for 346 yards.|
|4. North Dakota State||3-0||North Dakota State dives into conference play this week vs. South Dakota after three impressive nonconference wins.|
|5. William & Mary||4-0||Running backs Bronson Yoder and Malachi Imoh both ran for more than 100 yards as the Tribe's run game took care of business against Maine.|
|6. Holy Cross||3-1||The Crusaders continue to pass tests. They have another one this weekend against the explosive Harvard Crimson.|
|7. Sacramento State||3-1||No shame in taking a loss to the Idaho Vandals, but it was a bit of a letdown considering the Hornets were coming off an upset over Stanford.|
|8. Incarnate Word||3-1||The Cardinals had a tune up game vs. NAIA North American University before jumping into Southland Conference play this weekend against the surprisingly winless Southeastern Louisiana.|
|9. Southern Illinois||3-0||This Salukis team has something special. Conference play begins this week against a solid Missouri State squad.|
|10. Furman||3-1||The Paladins' bye this weekend comes at a perfect time. They now have two weeks to prepare for the vaunted option attack of The Citadel.|
|11. North Dakota||2-1||The Fighting Hawks had two weeks to prepare for their upcoming matchup vs. South Dakota State. We'll see if that extra prep helps them pull off the upset.|
|12. Delaware||3-1||I said last week if the Blue Hens continue to win they may be ready to soar up the rankings. Thanks to an 18-point comeback against New Hampshire last weekend, Delaware has flown up to No. 12.|
|13. Weber State||2-2||What a shocking loss last weekend to Montana State. I don't think I've ever seen the Wildcats struggle like that on both sides of the ball.|
|14. North Carolina Central||3-1||Quarterback Walker Harris got the start for the Eagles in place of an injured Davius Richard and scored five touchdowns touchdowns in a 45-3 thumping of Mississippi Valley State.|
|15. Florida A&M||3-1||With their win over Alabama State, the Rattlers have extended their home winning streak to 17 games. Again, coach Willie Simmons has done a fantastic job with this program.|
|16. New Hampshire||2-2||Blowing an 18-point lead is bad enough, but doing so against a conference opponent makes it even worse. Let's see how the Wildcats respond this week against Towson.|
|17. Montana||2-2||Because of Weber State's loss, the smoke hasn't found the Grizzlies yet. But their loss to Northern Arizona was definitely an eye-opener.|
|18. Western Carolina||3-1||The Catamount are another team from the Southern Conference playing really good bal. If they don't overlook The Citadel this week, it sets up a huge game against Chattanooga on Oct. 7.|
|19. UT Martin||3-1||The Skyhawks have won three straight games, setting up a pivotal matchup this weekend against a tough Tennessee State squad in a battle for first place in the Big South-OVC Association.|
|20. Villanova||3-1||I came away impressed with the defensive effort of Villanova against Rhode Island. That's a difficult offense to defend, and the Wildcats were able to keep the Rams' passing game ineffective throughout.|
|21. Youngstown State||3-1||The Penguins are coming off a bye week as they begin conference play against Northern Iowa.|
|22. Fordham||3-1||Fordham has done a good job in the nonconference and begin their chase for the Patriot League title this weekend vs. Georgetown.|
|23. Eastern Illinois||3-1||Chris Wilkerson has quietly turned this EIU program around. A stellar coach at the University of Chicago, he has this team playing with the type of grit and toughness that is sustainable.|
|24. Chattanooga||3-1||Don't look now, but the Mocs are undefeated in SoCon play and look to keep it that way vs. Wofford this weekend.|
|25. Rhode Island||2-2||A tough loss to Villanova. The Rams have to quickly regroup as they take on Bryant in a battle for state bragging rights.|