For the first time in six years, there is a new team sitting atop the preseason FCS polls. After five straight years with North Dakota State taking the top spot in the preseason STATS FCS Top 25, the 2017 season will begin with James Madison ranked on top of the FCS world. The Dukes snapped the national championship run of the Bison last season, and once again are the ones bringing a North Dakota State streak to an end.
James Madison’s only loss a year ago came against North Carolina (James Madison opens the 2017 season at East Carolina on September 2). The CAA powerhouse marched to the school’s second football national championship with a 14-1 record and a key victory over North Dakota State and a championship game victory over Bo Pelini and Youngstown State. The Dukes return a loaded roster for the 2017 season and received 134 of 163 possible first-place votes. Youngstown State also appears in the top 10 of the preseason poll, coming in at No. 9.
North Dakota State is second in the poll, and Sam Houston State is ranked third. South Dakota State and Eastern Washington round out the top five.
STATS Preseason FCS Top 25
- James Madison
- North Dakota State
- Sam Houston State
- South Dakota State
- Eastern Washington
- Jacksonville State
- North Dakota
- Youngstown State
- New Hampshire
- Charleston Southern
- Central Arkansas
- The Citadel
- Northern Iowa
- Illinois State
- Grambling State
- Cal Poly
- Western Illinois
At least on the field, LJ Scott‘s latest boneheaded misstep won’t prove too costly.
Thursday, it was reported that Scott was arrested Wednesday for the seventh time in the last year and a half for driving on a suspended license or similar offense. There was some question as to whether this latest off-field incident will cost the running back playing time for Michigan State’s game this weekend against Indiana.
In a statement, head coach Mark Dantonio said it would. Kinda. Sorta.
In what has been a lengthy process, LJ Scott now has a valid driver’s license, free of any restrictions. He has resolved the matter completely, and has paid a price, both financially and publicly. His status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play.
Scott currently leads the Spartans with 408 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with three rushing touchdowns. He’s coming off a career-high 194 yards in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota.
After a rather quiet week or so on the arrest front, the last couple of days have made some noise.
The latest racket can be attributed to a Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football player, with multiple media outlets reporting that Ferrod Gardner was arrested last Friday for felony identity theft. The linebacker was released from jail after posting a $5,000 bond.
No details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.
As a result of the felony arrest, Gardner has been dismissed from the football program for violating unspecified team rules. UL confirmed the dismissal nearly a week after the arrest, and not long after the news of the situation became public knowledge.
Gardner was a JUCO transfer who joined the Sun Belt Conference team this past offseason. The Daily Advertiser writes that “Gardner was slated to start at the Will inside linebacker position, but he never played a game for the Cajuns after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a foot injured early in preseason camp.”
I’m going to go ahead and guess that some will have some fun with and/or angst over Lane Kiffin for the decision made by his current employer.
In mid-June, Kalib Woods was arrested on two counts of felony battery. The charges stemmed from a January party in which it’s alleged that the Florida Atlantic wide receiver broke the jaw of one man and caused internal bleeding in another.
Because of the charges, Woods was suspended for the Owls’ first six games of the season. Despite the fact that the felony charges are still pending — his next court appearance is Jan. 10 — his lawyer has confirmed to OwlAccess.com that his client will be allowed to play in this Saturday’s Homecoming Game against North Texas.
The decision was made during a university disciplinary hearing Monday.
“I applaud the university or doing the right thing despite the fact that criminal charges are still pending,” Woods’ attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told the website.
Initially barred from campus after the arrest, the school ultimately reversed course, which allowed Woods to attend classes and practice with the team. The website also reports that Woods was removed from scholarship and is now a member of the team as a walk-on.
Last season, Woods was easily the Owls’ top threat in the passing game as he led the team with 68 receptions for 934 yards. For his career, the redshirt senior’s 111 catches have produced 1,487 yards and six touchdowns.
As Texas looks to keep pace with the Iowa State’s of the Big 12, they’ll do so in a key matchup without a reliable piece of its running game.
By way of the Austin American-Statesman, it’s expected that Kyle Porter is “probably not going to play” in Saturday’s Week 8 game against Oklahoma State. The sophomore running back suffered an unspecified chest injury in the Week 7 loss to Oklahoma.
The American-Statesman writes that “Porter attempted to participate in Thursday’s practice but was pulled after feeling pain.”
Porter is currently second on the team in carries (56) and rushing touchdowns (three). His 161 yards rushing are third on the team behind quarterback Sam Ehlinger‘s 275 and Chris Warren‘s 274.
At 2-1, Texas is currently tied with Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia for second place in the Big 12, behind 3-0 TCU.