A Too-Early FCS Top 25

If you’ve read anything on this site, it’s that we don’t stand behind any rankings or ratings that the algorithm comes up with until at least after Week 6.

But we’ve been anxious to show off a bit of what this thing can do. And admit it…you don’t know enough about the FCS to call out on sloppy premature numbers here anyways.

We’ve followed & input the FCS as a requisite to properly rank the FBS for two years now, and actually have a pretty good awareness of who should & shouldn’t be good.

You can read about Hierank’s late-season prediction accolades in last night’s FBS Top 25 post, but last year the algorithm also unofficially picked all but one FCS post-season tournament game correctly, including the final contenders & winner.

It picked 63% of Division I games correctly this week, with only 4 weeks’ data. It’s created to get more precise week-over-week, eventually finding The Season’s Final Score.

Even though you don’t know sh!t about these teams, I’ll disclaim our early figures here with the same labels from last night:
Dark Horse
About Right
Not There Yet
Fluky Garbage

The labels are mostly self-explanatory, but you can find more context in this week’s FBS Top 25, or in the countdown below. We’ll also stick less-rigidly to them than last night.


#25 Northern Iowa, 50.7 (2-2)

Expected Performance | 39-62 Power
Coaches Poll | #13
Hierank 2018-19 | #11
ASSESSMENT | Not There Yet. They play Iowa State and are in the strongest FCS conference (Missouri Valley). They are typically stronger than their record portrays, and will rise in these rankings.

#24 Campbell, 50.7 (3-1)

Expected Performance | 35-67 Power
Coaches Poll | #38
Hierank 2018-19 | #58
ASSESSMENT | Probably Fluky Garbage. They have won three non-blowouts to weak competitors and lost substantially to the FBS’s Troy.

#23 Kennesaw State, 51.5 (4-1)

Expected Performance | 40-63 Power
Coaches Poll | #4
Hierank 2018-19 | #8
ASSESSMENT | Not There Yet. The current Coaches Poll is probably closer, look for them to rise in Hierank, granted they mow down their weak FCS opponents the next few weeks.

#22 Austin Peay, 51.7 (3-2)

Expected Performance | 34-70 Power
Coaches Poll | #30
Hierank 2018-19 | #67
ASSESSMENT | Possibly Fluky Garbage. Hard to know and not looking too deep on this one this week.

#21 Sam Houston, 51.8 (3-2)

Expected Performance | 39-65 Power
Coaches Poll | #33
Hierank 2018-19 | #76
ASSESSMENT | Probably between a Dark Horse and About Right. Solid wins, losses tight to FBS’ New Mexico and perennial force, North Dakota.

#20 Montana State, 53.1 (4-1)

Expected Performance | 37-69 Power
Coaches Poll | #7
Hierank 2018-19 | #21
ASSESSMENT | About Right.

#19 North Dakota, 53.4 (2-2)

Expected Performance | 38-69 Power
Coaches Poll | #31
Hierank 2018-19 | #46
ASSESSMENT | Between Fluky Garbage and About Right

#18 South Dakota State, 53.5 (3-1)

Expected Performance | 46-61 Power
Coaches Poll | #3
Hierank 2018-19 | #4
ASSESSMENT | Not There Yet. They likely deserve a better ranking, and will rise as the season progresses.

#17 Cornell, 54.3 (1-1)

Expected Performance | 47-62 Power
Coaches Poll | NR
Hierank 2018-19| #45
ASSESSMENT | Fluky Garbage. The algorithm tends to favor those with fewer games early on. Will catch up in 1-2 weeks.

#16 UC Davis, 54.7 (2-3)

Expected Performance | 45-65 Power
Coaches Poll | #12
Hierank 2018-19 | #9
ASSESSMENT | About Right. Has the proud(?) distinction of being the only losing team on either Top 25 list published this week. Two of these losses are to a previously-undefeated FBS Cal team and to FCS Big-Daddy NDSU. But already has as many losses as their #9 squad from last year…time to buckle down.

#15 Princeton, 55.1 (2-0)

Expected Performance | 50-61 Power
Coaches Poll | #23
Hierank 2018-19 | #2
ASSESSMENT | Not There Yet. Weak competition, but they have been blowing out their Ivy opponents for a couple undefeated years now.

#14 Samford, 56.1 (3-2)

Expected Performance | 46-66 Power
Coaches Poll | NR
Hierank 2018-19 | #27
ASSESSMENT | Maybe Fluky Garbage, maybe Hierank is on to something?

#13 Davidson, 56.2 (3-1)

Expected Performance | 39-73 Power
Coaches Poll | NR
Hierank 2018-19 | #71
ASSESSMENT | Probably early Fluky Garbage. They are not usually very good.

#12 Sacramento State, 56.5 (2-2)

Expected Performance | 42-71 Power
Coaches Poll | #33
Hierank 2018-19 | #102
ASSESSMENT | So far, last year’s worst team to make either list. But first bold claim – this one’s an About Right Dark Horse. Both losses are by 12 & 14 points to respectable FBS teams, and the wins are 50 & 58 point slaughters.

#11 Central Arkansas, 57.5 (3-1)

Expected Performance | 51-64 Power
Coaches Poll | #10
Hierank 2018-19 | #91
ASSESSMENT | About Right

#10 Columbia, 57.9 (1-1)

Expected Performance | 46-70 Power
Coaches Poll | NR
Hierank 2018-19 | #13
ASSESSMENT | Let’s call this one Fluky Garbage. Discovering that Hierank likes the Ivys more than the coaches do. Much more.

#9 Georgetown, 58.2 (3-1)

Expected Performance | 50-66 Power
Coaches Poll | NR
Hierank 2018-19 | #72
ASSESSMENT | Fluky Garbage

#8 Villanova, 58.3 (5-0)

Expected Performance | 51-66 Power
Coaches Poll | #8
Hierank 2018-19 | #44
ASSESSMENT | About Right, it seems.

#7 Towson, 59.4 (3-2)

Expected Performance | 50-68 Power
Coaches Poll | #10
Hierank 2018-19 | #20
ASSESSMENT | About Right, maybe a touch overrated. Not garbage.

#6 Montana, 59.5 (4-1)

Expected Performance | 48-71 Power
Coaches Poll | #9
Hierank 2018-19 | #32
ASSESSMENT | About Right

#5 Youngstown State, 60.4 (4-0)

Expected Performance | 49-72 Power
Coaches Poll | #17
Hierank 2018-19 | #43
ASSESSMENT | About Right

Youngstown State 2019 Results through Week 5
All rankings shown here are Overall-CFB Ranking.
(#5 in FCS vs #63 overall for Youngstown St, in this case)

#4 James Madison, 60.6 (4-1)

Expected Performance | 48-73 Power
Coaches Poll | #2
Hierank 2018-19 | #6
ASSESSMENT | About Right. They’ve dominated east coast competition in recent years and always bring a top-tier FCS squad. Typically they have zero losses at this point, but this year they rolled the dice Week 1 with a perennially-tough West Virginia FBS team and lost…by 7. Solid.

James Madison NCAAF Schedule through Week 5
#61 in all of CFB, #4 in the FCS

#3 Yale, 62.9 (2-0)

Expected Performance | 48-78 Power
Coaches Poll | #29
Hierank 2018-19 | #16
ASSESSMENT | Fluky Garbage. Princeton may be this good, but not Yale. Maybe. Probably not. It’ll shake out in 1-2 weeks.

Yale NCAAF Results after Week 5
#53 in all of CFB, #3 in the FCS

#2 Dartmouth, 63.0 (2-0)

Expected Performance | 58-68 Power
Coaches Poll | #31
Hierank 2018-19 | #3
ASSESSMENT | More Fluky Garbage. A recurring Ivy League theme early-season due to their late start. Good wins, against a couple barrel-fish.

Dartmouth NCAAF Results Week 5
#52 in all of CFB, #2 in the FCS

#1 North Dakota State, 67.4 (4-0)

Expected Performance | 59-76 Power
Coaches Poll | #1
Hierank 2018-19 | #1
ASSESSMENT | #1…oops that was becoming habit. Yea this one’s legit. Actually less-dominant than last year, giving up touchdowns and winning by less than 50.
Hot Take: This Goliath is tuned to fall in 2019.
Looking at you, Northern Iowa, S Dakota St, or YSU.

North Dakota St NCAAF Results through Week 5
#31 in all of CFB, #1 in the FCS

NOTABLY MISSING

Coaches Ranking Team, HR #

  • #5 Weber State, #30
  • #6 Illinois State, #35
  • #14 Furman, #27
  • #15 Nicholls, #48
  • #16 North Carolina A&T, #34
  • #18 Delaware, #37
  • #19 SE Louisiana, #36
  • #20 Jacksonville State, #29
  • #22 Maine, #39
  • #24 Stony Brook, #45
  • #25 Houston Baptist, #68
  • #25 SE Missouri State, #38
FCS Top 25 after Week 5 2019
The FCS Top 25 after Week 5

What do you think? Is Hierank on the right track to claim accuracy after next week?

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