Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It's why they play the games.
With Youngstown State, Samford and Jacksonville State moving into The Sports Network FCS Top 25 on Monday, the rankings included six teams that were unranked to begin the season.
The half dozen teams were No. 9 McNeese State (5-1), No. 10 Fordham (6-0), No. 14 Maine (5-1), No. 18 Youngstown State (5-1), No. 23 Samford (4-2) and No. 24 Jacksonville State (5-1). Each fell in line behind top-ranked North Dakota State, which gained all 157 first-place votes this week.
Maine entered the Top 25 a week ago and was the biggest mover this week, jumping nine spots from No. 23 after posting a 62-28 rout of Delaware, which entered the game one spot behind the Black Bears in the rankings. Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski threw for three touchdowns, and running backs Nigel Jones and John Ebeling had two each on the ground as the Black Bears posted their biggest point total since 2006.
Four of the other five teams also beat ranked opponents this past Saturday: McNeese State routed Central Arkansas, 59-28; Fordham topped Lehigh, 52-34; Samford beat Georgia Southern, 44-34; and Jacksonville State won at UT Martin, 41-27. Youngstown State defeated Indiana State, 35-24.
North Dakota State (5-0), the two-time defending FCS champion, won the game of the weekend by rallying past No. 4 Northern Iowa, 24-23, in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Coach Craig Bohl's Bison have a 33-2 record since the start of the 2011 season.
The Bison collected 3,925 points in the poll to separate themselves from Sam Houston State and Towson, who barely separated from each other. Sam Houston State (4-1), idle this past weekend, remained No. 2 in the poll with 3,665 points, just eight more than Towson (6-0), which beat New Hampshire.
Northern Iowa (4-1) remained No. 4 despite the loss to North Dakota State, just ahead of No. 5 Eastern Illinois (4-1), which was idle over the weekend. Those two were followed by No. 6 Eastern Washington (3-2), No. 7 Montana State (4-2), No. 8 Coastal Carolina (5-0), No. 9 McNeese State and No. 10 Fordham.
Next up was Montana (4-1) at No. 11 followed by No. 12 Wofford (3-2); No. 13 South Dakota State (3-3), which is on a three-game losing streak; No. 14 Maine; No. 15 Villanova (3-2); No. 16 Bethune-Cookman (4-1); No. 17 Lehigh (4-1); No. 18 Youngstown State; No. 19 Northern Arizona (3-2); and No. 20 Central Arkansas (2-3).
Rounding out the Top 25 were No. 21 James Madison (4-2), which re-entered the rankings after a one-week absence; No. 22 Georgia Southern (3-2); No. 23 Samford; No. 24 Jacksonville State; and No. 25 New Hampshire (1-3), which despite falling to Towson still kept alive its nation-leading streak of appearances in the rankings at 132 consecutive weeks.
Cal Poly, UT Martin, Delaware and Gardner-Webb all fell from the Top 25 after losses this past Saturday.
A panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selects the national poll. In the Top 25 voting, a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.
During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon, except for the final weekend, when it will be released Sunday morning, Nov. 24, prior to the selection of the FCS playoff field.
The final Top 25 will be released on the Monday after the FCS championship game Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.