Preseason rankings for all 128 FCS teams


If you’ve got your coach on the hot seat after 23 wins and a nationnal championship in two seasons but last year he dropped to 7-3 then you might be an elitist.

Or, you might be a North Dakota State fan. 

The Fargo folks don’t take kindly to three losses in a nine game regular sesaon and they expect to at least make it to the national semifinal.

Can coach Matt Entz turn things around?  Probably.  The schedule is favorable.  But until he does, we’re sittin’ with the Fargo folks and saying, “Prove it.’

For the first time in five years, the Savvy Index does not start the season with NDSU as the number one team.  Instead, that designation goes to James Madison University.

And why not?  The Dukes have been to the championship game three times in the past five years and would likely have made it last season had they not squandered a 24-3 halftime lead to eventual champion Sam Houston State.  And, according to Savvy Index projections, James Madison has the most star power in the nation.

North Dakota State starts 2021 second ranked while South Dakota State is third after losing in the national final to Sam Houston State. Coach John Stiegelmeier has been the head coach at SDSU since 1998 which makes me wonder why he didn’t get to the final before.

Despite being the defending national champion, Savvy starts Sam Houston State fourth which is a derivative of a lower star-talent rating as well as the unconvincing manner in which the Bearkats won their semifinal and final games.

Keep an eye  on #5, the Weber State Wildcats. Coach Jay Hill has built this program into a national contender and despite a sputtering spring campaign, WSU has all of the pieces to go all of the way.

Eighth-ranked Montana State has a new head coach in Brent Vigen. He has never head coached a college team yet results from the Savvy Index rate him as the best new coach of 2021.

Also watch Kerwin Bell the new head man at Western Carolina.  He rates almost as high as Vigen and he is won’t need much time to turn WCU into a winner.

Sacramento State starts the year ranked 28th under former Utah assistant Troy Taylor. In his first season (2019), he turned three wins from the year before into nine wins and the progams first-ever playoff berth.  As a result, he was named 2019 national Coach of the Year.

Long Island University has a problem. With three weeks to go before the start of the season, LIU still has not come up with a head coach.    

Although fall workouts will add to our data, here are the current preseason rankings for all 128 FCS teams:


  Savvy Index        
  FCS preseason 2021        
           
ps rank 8/2/21   ranking points new coach? playoff tier last season star talent rating
1 James Madison 114   2 30
2 N Dakota St. 112   2 23
3 S Dakota St. 111   4 20
4 Sam Houston St. 110   5 20
5 Weber St. 109   1 22
6 Jacksonville St. 107   2 17
7 Delaware 106   2 17
8 Montana St. 105 yes 0 15
9 Kennesaw St. 103   0 16
10 S Illinois 103   2 17
11 Nicholls St. 101   0 16
12 Monmouth 101   0 15
13 Montana 99   0 13
14 E Washington 98   0 13
15 Villanova 98   0 13
16 N Dakota 98   0 14
17 N Iowa 98   0 14
18 UC Davis 97   0 14
19 N Carolina A&T 96   0 18
20 Illinois St. 95   0 11
21 Austin Peay 94   0 18
22 Towson 94   0 11
23 SE Louisiana 92   0 15
24 Yale 91   0 16
25 Richmond 91   0 10
26 Dartmouth 91   0 15
27 Sacramento St. 91   0 12
28 C Arkansas 90   0 15
29 Maine 90   0 10
30 SE Missouri St. 88   0 12
31 Princeton 86   0 13
32 Stephen F Austin 86   0 11
33 N Arizona 85   0 9
34 Albany 84   0 10
35 Stony Brook 83   0 8
36 Missouri St. 82   0 7
37 S Dakota 81   0 8
38 Elon 81   0 8
39 C Conn St. 81   0 15
40 New Hampshire 80   0 8
41 McNeese St. 80   0 10
42 Florida A&M 79   0 16
43 Murray St. 78   0 10
44 William & Mary 77   0 8
45 Davidson 77   1 13
46 San Diego 77   0 13
47 Southern Univ. 76 yes 0 16
48 VMI 76   1 17
49 Rhode Island 76   0 6
50 S Carolina St 75   0 12
51 Samford 74   0 13
52 E Tennessee St. 72   0 9
53 Alabama A&M 72   0 13
54 Portland St. 69   0 8
55 Lamar 69 yes 0 7
56 Idaho St. 68   0 7
57 Idaho 68   0 11
58 Chattanooga 68   0 10
59 Youngstown St. 67   0 6
60 Bethune-Cookman 67   0 11
61 Incarnate Word 65   0 8
62 Furman 65   0 13
63 Charleston S. 64   0 9
64 Tenn Tech 63   0 10
65 E Kentucky 63   0 9
66 Dayton 62   0 12
67 Ark Pine Bluff 62 yes 0 12
68 Tennessee St. 62 yes 0 7
69 Holy Cross 61   1 12
70 Tenn-Martin 61   0 10
71 Indiana St. 60   0 3
72 Duquesne 58   0 10
73 W Illinois 58   0 4
74 Hampton 57   0 8
75 Sacred Heart 57   1 13
76 Prairie Vw A&M 56   0 11
77 Campbell 54   0 7
78 Abilene Christian 53   0 6
79 Wofford 52   0 7
80 Houston Baptist 51   0 7
81 Gardner-Webb 51   0 7
82 Mercer 50   0 7
83 Jackson St. 50   0 9
84 Norfolk St. 49 yes 0 8
85 Penn 49   0 9
86 Robert Morris 48   0 8
87 N Alabama 47   0 6
88 Drake 47   0 9
89 N’western St. 46   0 5
90 N Colorado 46   0 4
91 Cal Poly 45   0 4
92 Morehead St. 45   0 10
93 Alabama St. 44   0 9
94 Stetson 44 yes 0 8
95 W Carolina 44 yes 0 5
96 NC Central 42   0 7
97 Fordham 42   0 10
98 Bryant 41   0 8
99 Alcorn St. 40   0 8
100 Harvard 38   0 7
101 S Utah 38   0 4
102 Long Island 38 yes 0 6
103 Colgate 37   0 7
104 Delaware St. 37   0 6
105 St. Francis PA 35   0 8
106 Morgan St. 34   0 6
107 Marist 33   0 7
108 Presbyterian 33 yes 0 6
109 Lafayette (Penn) 32   0 8
110 The Citadel 32   0 5
111 Columbia 30   0 6
112 Georgetown 30   0 8
113 Valparaiso 28   0 7
114 Cornell 28   0 6
115 Grambling St. 27   0 6
116 Bucknell 27   0 8
117 E Illinois 25   0 3
118 Howard 25   0 4
119 Merrimack 24   0 6
120 Texas Southern 22   0 4
121 St. Thomas 22   0 3
122 Wagner 21   0 4
123 Miss Valley St. 20   0 5
124 Butler 20   0 4
125 Lehigh 19   0 5
126 Dixie State 18   0 3
127 Tarleton St. 17   0 3
128 Brown 16   0 3

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