BOZEMAN — The 2019 FCS football season came to an end this past weekend when No. 1-ranked North Dakota State held off second-ranked James Madison 28-20 for its eighth national championship in nine years. The final FCS STATS top 25 rankings were released Monday, and, naturally, the Bison and Dukes were ranked first and second, respectively.
But what seemed even more impressive was that the four Big Sky Conference teams featured in the final rankings were all ranked inside the top 10.
After falling to the eventual national champions in the semifinals, the Montana State Bobcats finished fourth to culminate one of the most successful seasons in recent years. The Bobcats advanced to the playoffs for the second consecutive season under coach Jeff Choate, reaching semifinal round for the first time since 1984. MSU finished the season with an 11-4 record, including a 6-2 mark in Big Sky play. The Bobcats won their final four regular-season games and then defeated Albany and Austin Peay in the playoffs before ending their season at NDSU.
The Montana Grizzlies, meanwhile, finished at No. 6 in the final rankings after losing to Big Sky foe Weber State in the FCS quarterfinals. The Grizzlies compiled a 10-4 overall record (6-2 conference). UM won four of its final five regular-season games -- the lone loss coming at Montana State in the regular-season finale -- to return to the playoffs in Bobby Hauck's second year back coaching the team. The Griz defeated Southeastern Louisiana in the second round of the playoffs.
Weber State finished one spot above the Bobcats at third after losing to national runner-up James Madison in the semifinals, and the Sacramento State Hornets, who were arguably the biggest surprise from the Big Sky Conference this year, finished the 2019 campaign ranked ninth in the nation.
The full STATS FCS Top 25 poll can be found below.
|1||North Dakota State (16-0)||3825 (153)||1|
|2||James Madison (14-2)||3672||2|
|3||Weber State (11-4)||3490||4|
|4||Montana State (11-4)||3366||5|
|5||Northern Iowa (10-5)||3101||6|
|7||Illinois State (10-5)||2886||13|
|8||Austin Peay (11-4)||2592||18|
|9||Sacramento State (9-4)||2590||3|
|10||South Dakota State (8-5)||2312||10|
|11||Central Arkansas (9-4)||2123||9|
|13||Kennesaw State (11-3)||1989||15|
|17||Southeast Missouri State (9-4)||1285||12|
|19||Southeastern Louisiana (8-5)||1170||NR|
|20||North Carolina A&T (9-3)||782||23|
|23||Central Connecticut State (11-2)||606||17|
|24||Florida A&M (9-2)||527||20|