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…or, alternatively, just shouldn’t vote for the FCS top-25.

Remember this quote from UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson? It’s from Saturday, after the Skyhawks topped #7 Central Arkansas, their second win over an FCS ranked team in three weeks:

“If we aren’t in the top 20, it’s a joke. What else do you have to do to get in there. You don’t get a prize for it, but you get the self-satisfaction. It’s a slap in the face to our league, to our team, but it won’t affect how we prepare for our next game.”

Well, joke’s on him?

UT Martin was left out of this week’s FCS coaches top-25, falling five points short of the 25th position. They fared slightly better in the Sports Network media poll, but were still outside the top 20, at 24th.

In three weeks, the Skyhawks have won on the road at then #25 Chattanooga, understandably lost at FBS Boise State, and won at home against #7 Central Arkansas. I don’t care what you thought of this team at the beginning of the season, if you likened them to OVC bottom-dwellers (which was wrong to begin with) you’re telling me there are 25 teams with a better resume through three weeks?

Spoiler: there’s not. Here are the “resumes” of actual top-25 teams this week:

  • #24 Illinois State (0-2) – Lost at FBS Ball State 51-28, Lost at Eastern Illinois 57-24
  • T-#22 Villanova (0-2) – Lost at FBS Boston College 24-14, Lost at Fordham 27-24
  • #20 Richmond (1-2) – Won at home versus VMI 34-0, Lost at FBS NC State 23-21, Lost at Gardner-Webb 12-10

That’s just a sample. The team UT Martin just beat, Central Arkansas, has a 1-2 record and fell to #14. #19 Cal Poly is 1-2.

We’re three weeks into the season. I don’t care how good you thought these teams would be. UT Martin has proved they’re actually good. Some of these other teams haven’t proved anything.

Simpson’s right. It is a joke. It’s a joke that this poll even exists. This isn’t just a FCS problem: The FBS coaches, whose poll has counted for years towards the FBS, is often equally as tone deaf to what’s actually going on in their sport.

But are the rankings just for self-satisfaction? If a team, or a conference, is being “disrespected” in the polls, do you not worry if the same thing could happen when 11 athletic directors chooses who’s in and who’s out of the FCS playoffs?

In the end it comes down to this: why are the coaches voting, anyway? What does it serve. Clearly, many coaches don’t take it too terribly seriously, because I don’t think there’s a grudge against UTM or the OVC. The poll doesn’t mean a whole lot, and there is a media poll that exists, and honestly does a better job.

Simpson rhetorically asked what else it would take to get in the top-20. I can answer him: You have to start the season there.

Because I can promise you, the next time the Skyhawks lose, they’ll fall a lot farther and harder in the polls than Central Arkansas.

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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24