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FOOTBALL: STILL NOT TOP 25: Cardinals not yet ranked despite making playoffs

Not even a berth into the NCAA Division I playoffs nor a historic six-game winning streak could get Lamar into the STATS FCS Top 25 poll.

The latest poll, released Monday, shows Lamar would be ranked 26th with 294 voting points, well behind No. 25 Indiana State’s 350 points. The Sycamores — who did not make the playoffs — finished tied for third in the Missouri Valley Football Conference to Northern Iowa, which Lamar will play Saturday in the round of 24 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Two more of the 24 playoff teams — Northern Iowa (128 points, 27th) and Duquesne (40 points, 31st) did not break into the poll. That means four ranked teams — No. 10 Princeton, No. 11 North Carolina A&T, No. 18 Dartmouth and Indiana State — are not going to the playoffs.

It doesn’t mean those four weren’t good enough.

Princeton and Dartmouth finished first and second, respectively, in the Ivy League, which does not send a team to the NCAA playoffs. North Carolina A&T won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which sends its champion to the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta to determine the Division I historically black college national champion against the winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Indiana State was not selected as an at-large team for the playoffs.

A playoff committee separate from the STATS FCS Poll panel, which includes sports information directors and selected members of the media, select 14 teams at large to join 10 automatic qualifiers, each one finishing highest in its conference. Nicholls State shared the Southland Conference title with Incarnate Word but received the automatic qualifying berth because of its head-to-head victory over UIW.

The STATS FCS Top 25:

  1. North Dakota (11-0, received all 155 first-place votes); 2. Kennesaw State (10-1); 3. Weber State (9-2); 4. Eastern Washington (9-2); 5. South Dakota State (8-2);
  2. James Madison (8-3); 7. California-Davis (9-2); 8. Jacksonville State (8-3); 9. Colgate (9-1); 10. Princeton (10-0);
  3. North Carolina A&T (9-2); 12. Maine (8-3); 13. Wofford (8-3); 14. Nicholls State (8-3); 15. Stony Brook (7-4);
  4. Towson (7-4); 17. Elon (6-4); 18. Dartmouth (9-1); 19. University of San Diego (9-2); 20. Southeast Missouri State (8-3);
  5. Delaware (7-4); 22. East Tennessee State (8-3); 23. Montana State (7-4); 24. Incarnate Word (6-4); 25. Indiana State (7-4).

— I.C. Murrell

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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