PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Sports Network)- For the first time since 1990, the Furman Paladins hold the No. 1 ranking in The Sports Network I-AA top 25. The Paladins moved up one spot after a bye week due to Western Kentucky's 31-20 loss to Southern Illinois. Furman was ranked No. 2 for four weeks this season and six weeks during the 2004 campaign. The Paladins have a 7-1 mark and a 4-1 record in the Southern Conference, and face a major test on Saturday with a trip to No. 14 Georgia Southern. Furman picked up 61 of a possible 112 first-place votes and 2,742 points to claim the top spot.
New Hampshire jumped up two places to No. 2 after winning at No. 7 Massachusetts, 34-28. Idle Hampton remained at No. 3, while Montana bumped up a spot to No. 4 after a 37-16 victory against Portland State. With the win against Western Kentucky, the Salukis jumped up three spots to No. 5.
Western Kentucky slid five spots to No. 6, while Appalachian State made a five spot move forward to No. 7. Massachusetts dropped just one spot to No. 8. Coastal Carolina is up four places to No. 9, while Texas State fell four spots to No. 10 after a 32-29 loss in overtime at Nicholls State.
A pair of Big Sky teams take the next two positions, with Eastern Washington at No. 11 and Montana State at No. 12. Lehigh jumped three spots to No. 13, while Georgia Southern is up five positions to No. 14. Youngstown State fell four spots to No. 15 after a 21-7 loss at Northern Iowa.
William & Mary suffered a seven position drop to No. 16. UNI is up to No. 17, with Cal Poly at No. 18, Grambling State at No. 19 and South Carolina State at No. 20.
The final five teams in the poll all enter the rankings this week. UC Davis is at No. 21, Brown is at No. 22, Richmond is at No. 23, North Dakota State is No. 24 and Eastern Illinois comes in at No. 25. Brown is ranked for the first time since 1999, while Richmond was last in the top 25 in 2002 and Eastern Illinois enters the rankings for the first time since 2003. Defending national champion James Madison was among the five teams that dropped out of the top 25.
Every ranked team plays this weekend, with some intriguing matchups between top 25 squads. Furman's trip to Georgia Southern highlights the weekend, but there are also a pair of interesting Gateway Conference games as No. 5 Southern Illinois hosts No. 15 Youngstown State and No. 6 Western Kentucky hosts No. 17 Northern Iowa. In a non-conference battle, No. 11 Eastern Washington visits No. 18 Cal Poly.
|Team (First-place votes)||Record||Points||Previous Rank|
|1. Furman Paladins (61)||7-1||2,742||2|
|2. New Hampshire Wildcats (25)||7-1||2,628||4|
|3. Hampton Pirates (23)||8-0||2,576||3|
|4. Montana Grizzlies (2)||6-2||2,491||5|
|5. Southern Illinois Salukis (1)||6-2||2,337||8|
|6. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||6-2||2,131||1|
|7. Appalachian State Mountaineers||6-2||2,088||12|
|8. Massachusetts Minutemen||6-2||1,808||7|
|9. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||7-1||1,765||13|
|10. Texas State Bobcats||6-2||1,578||6|
|11. Eastern Washington Eagles||5-3||1,566||14|
|12. Montana State Bobcats||5-3||1,446||15|
|13. Lehigh Mountain Hawks||6-2||1,335||16|
|14. Georgia Southern Eagles||6-3||1,146||19|
|15. Youngstown State Penguins||7-2||1,082||11|
|16. William & Mary Tribe||5-3||1,067||9|
|17. Northern Iowa Panthers||5-3||1,043||21|
|18. Cal Poly Mustangs||5-3||957||10|
|19. Grambling State Tigers||6-1||904||22|
|20. South Carolina State Bulldogs||6-2||731||23|
|21. UC Davis Aggies||5-3||525||NR|
|22. Brown Bears||6-1||393||NR|
|23. Richmond Spiders||5-3||339||NR|
|24. North Dakota State Bison||5-3||300||NR|
|25. Eastern Illinois Panthers||6-2||283||NR|
Others receiving votes: Northwestern State 240, McNeese State 191, Lafayette 134, James Madison 131, Illinois State 130, Portland State 122, Nicholls State 80, Alabama State 78, Hofstra 55, Weber State 52, Penn 50, Wofford 38, Alabama A & M 35, Jacksonville State 28, San Diego 25, Bethune-Cookman 18, Western Carolina 17, Princeton 15, Delaware 7, Southeastern Louisiana 5, Missouri State 5.