Overcooked, Undercooked, or Just Right?

By Preston Adams, FCS Fans Nation Contributor

Preseason rankings are often hot topics for us fans to chew on before a season starts. Looking over some polls, I’ve had thoughts about where I think certain teams ended up. So, I have picked out 8 teams that folks have had questions about, and based on their average preseason ranking have deemed them undercooked, overcooked or just right. For my average I used 4 preseason polls for my averages; Hero Sports, Athlon, STATS, and Coaches.


Eastern Washington

Average Ranking - 6.5

My Opinion - Just Right

Astrophysicists would be very excited. I think that Eastern Washington is right in the goldilocks zone when it comes to their preseason rankings. They return 17 starters, and are poised to return to their high flying offensive ways. If this team wins the Big Sky or shares the title, expect them to get a top 5 national seed for the playoff.


Delaware

Average Ranking - 13.25

My Opinion - Undercooked.

Delaware was a snub last year by many people’s standards for the playoffs as a CAA representative (despite the success of New Hampshire) so I expect this team coached by former Richmond HC Danny Rocco to have that team hungry. They have a great out of conference game at NDSU and will bring a stingy defense to Fargo. If they get above average QB play, look out for Delaware.


Sam Houston State University

Average Ranking - 5.75

My Opinion - Overcooked

Once you wipe the bad taste of two truly awful showings in the playoffs over the last couple of years out of your mouth, SHSU truly does have one of the most consistent programs of the decade in the FCS. That being said, I would still have them ranked somewhere more around 9-12 until they can prove that they can play some defense. This isn’t hate on SHSU, and with other ranked teams in the Southland they have opportunities for quality wins. Come playoff time though, I don’t want to see them with a national ranking unless they’re completely manhandling the Southland on both sides of the ball consistently all year.


North Carolina A&T

Average Ranking - 17.25

My Opinion - Undercooked

Yes, I realize that hindsight is 20/20, but all polls have a history of undercooking (and under seasoning) HBCU programs. The Aggies are the real deal. Are they gonna go up for Fargo or Harrisonburg and completely beat the breaks off of an NDSU or JMU? No, but they have real talent on offense, a bend but don’t break defense, and excellent coaching. They will be legitimately challenged in the MEAC this year by Bethune Cookman and Howard for the title, so don’t sleep on the Aggies, or the MEAC this year.


Elon

Average Ranking - 11.5

My Opinion - Overcooked

I thought this team was a fraud last year, and this year it is on them to prove me wrong. I am not as high as everyone else seems to be on their QB Davis Cheek, and I never saw them as a legitimate playoff team last year. There is something to be said for winning the close games, but their largest margin of victory was 8, they beat Rhode Island by 1, and Albany by 6 in a 6-0 barn burner. As soon as they came up against adequate FCS/CAA competition in UNH and JMU, they got handled. Maybe after their games against Furman and William and Mary my mind will be changed but for now, too highly ranked for me.


Jacksonville State

Average Ranking - 7.5

My Opinion - Overcooked

Again, hindsight is 20/20, and some JSU fans seeing this might freak out and think I’m trying to plummet them in the rankings based off of one game. Let’s pump the breaks. If JSU goes undefeated from here on out, they will be right on the cusp of a national seed as they always are. With better QB play and the defense continuing to be incredible, this is a real possibility. As of now though, this team should be in the 10-12 range and they need to put on a show the rest of the season. Y’all can still stay cocky.


New Hampshire

Average Ranking - 6.5

My Opinion - Just Right

We have another program right in the goldilocks zone with the Wildcats. I expect them to seriously challenge JMU for the CAA title this year. Their head to head matchup will likely decide the conference. They return 18 starters and one of the most dynamic QB and WR combos in the FCS. Don’t be surprised if you see UNH with a top 5 and certainly national seeding even with 1 loss in conference. The CAA is that good at the top and in the middle this year.


South Dakota State

Average Ranking - 3.75

My Opinion - Overcooked

This was tough for me. SDSU lost key seniors and some serious offensive firepower to the NFL, but they still return their QB Taryn Christion. Plus, I know that their last performance of the season was not indicative of how dominant this defense can be. The MVFC doesn’t have any games you can lay down on so if they can get through the conference with 1 or 2 losses, they might still be able to get a national seed for the playoff. NDSU will be coming for blood on September 29th though so that Dakota Marker should be one for the ages.


I could do this all day but these were some that stuck out to me. Kennesaw State and Samford are very interesting schools in terms of potential quarter final and semi final sleepers. Needless to say this should be a great season with a lot more parody, and the onslaught of games “officially” starts Thursday.