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Underdogs in the Polls, Week 4

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A couple of surprises as the week 4 AP poll was released

NCAA Football: North Dakota State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Some eyebrows may have been raised Sunday when the Week 4 AP poll was released (I know mine were). Let’s take a look at how teams outside the Power 5 are faring.

Obviously, Houston gonna Houston. After beating Cincinnati in a game that didn’t look close in final score but was a much better game for those who watched it, Houston is holding steady at 6.

But otherwise, so far, no other G5 team had cracked the top 25.

Today, the Mountain West’s San Diego State checks in at 22 (although unranked by the coaches’ poll). The Aztecs are 3-0 following wins over FCS New Hampshire, Northern Illinois, and the Pac-12’s Cal. SDSU is the reigning MWC champion who slaughtered Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl last year.

Other Group of 5 teams have been hanging around the received votes category all season. This week we have Toledo (6 votes), Western Michigan (6), South Florida (7), Central Michigan (16), and Boise State (69).

The real eyebrow raiser, though, was not a Group of 5 team. After “upsetting” (was it really an upset though?) #13 Iowa, FCS #1 North Dakota State breaks into the AP Poll with 74 votes, which ties with UCLA for would-be #27.

FCS teams have been allowed to be ranked by the AP ever since Appalachian State’s upset of the century against #5 Michigan back in 2007. App State was at the time the 2-time defending FCS national champion and would go on to win their 3rd straight that season. App State would not break the top 25, but did receive votes during the season. App State has since moved up to the FBS level and has quickly established itself as a dominant team in the Sun Belt.

NDSU is now the 5-time defending FCS champ and is looking for a sixth this season. How long until they follow App State’s example and join the FBS? MAC? Maybe MWC? NDSU has been dominant with an FCS scholarship load, winning 6 straight against FBS opponents. What could they do with an FBS scholarship group?

In case you’re wondering, their next game currently scheduled against the FBS is Oregon in 2020.

Games of interest involving the above teams this coming week: Houston @ Texas State, Georgia Southern @ Western Michigan, Boise State @ Oregon State, Central Michigan at Virginia, and a reeling Florida State @ South Florida. NDSU hosts Illinois State for homecoming.

Now for the real question. If NDSU continues to win, can they crack the top 25? As strange as this season has been so far, I’m not ruling it out.