Fresh off back-to-back wins over FBS Miami (Ohio) and FCS fifth-ranked Illinois State, Eastern Illinois football rocketed into the FCS Top 25 polls released on Monday afternoon. EIU climbed to No. 16 in the FCS Coaches Top 25 poll and was No. 18 in the STATS/FCS Media Poll. The Panthers also landed at No. 16 in the newly created HERO Sports Media Top 25.
EIU is currently one of three FCS teams in the nation that have beaten both an FBS opponent and nationally ranked FCS opponent this year. The other two are North Dakota State and Eastern Washington.
With this week’s ranking EIU has now appeared in the FCS Top 25 polls each of the last five years. The Panthers will put that ranking to test this weekend as they open Ohio Valley Conference play at home against Austin Peay.
North Dakota State was the unanimous number one in both FCS polls with the Bison ranked as the second team also receiving votes this week in the Associated Press FBS Top 25 after they knocked off nationally ranked Iowa. Sam Houston State moved up to second in both polls after No. 2 Richmond was upset by Stony Brook. The other top five upset last week was EIU’s 24-21 victory over then No. 5 Illinois State in the 105th playing of the Mid-America Classic.
The FCS Coaches Top 25 poll included North Dakota State at number one followed by Sam Houston State, Chattanooga, Jacksonville State, Eastern Washington, Montana, James Madison, William & Mary, Richmond and The Citadel in the top ten. Charleston Southern was 11th followed by Illinois State, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa, Villanova, Eastern Illinois, Youngstown State, South Dakota State, Harvard and McNeese State in 20th. The final five ranked schools included Colgate at No. 21 with North Carolina A&T, Albany, Stony Brook, Portland State and Northern Arizona. Portland State and Northern Arizona were tied for 25th in the rankings.
NDSU was the number one ranked team in the FCS STATS Media Top 25 with Sam Houston State, Jacksonville State, Eastern Washington and Chattanooga in the top five. Montana was sixth followed by Richmond, William & Mary, Illinois State, The Citadel, James Madison, Charleston Southern, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State in 15th. Youngstown State led the final ten ranked schools followed by Coastal Carolina, Eastern Illinois, Villanova, Stony Brook, North Carolina A&T, Albany, Colgate, McNeese State and Portland State.