South Dakota State enjoyed a storybook season in 2022. The Jackrabbits won their first national championship -- over hated rival North Dakota State, the biggest bully in the Football Championship Subdivision over the last decade -- and longtime coach John Stiegelmeier rode off into the sunset after 25 years.
You would think after that type of season there would be some drop off for the Jackrabbits, right? Nope.
South Dakota State is undefeated with dominating wins over North Dakota State, South Dakota and Northern Iowa. This year's team is littered with NFL prospects like running back Isaiah Davis, the Janke twins (Jadon and Jaxon) at receiver, offensive linemen Garret Greenfield and Mason McCormick, tight end Zach Hines and linebacker Isaiah Stalbird.
There has been so much turnover and chaos all season in the FCS, but the one constant has been the dominant play of South Dakota State, which looks like it's definitely planning a return trip to Frisco, Texas, under first-year coach Jimmy Rogers.
|1. South Dakota State
|Credit the Jackrabbits defense for the win over North Dakota State. They forced three turnovers and held the Bison out of the end zone until late in the game.
|The Paladins may have the deepest roster in the FCS. Their "next man up" mentality has gotten them a share of the SoCon title after their 17-14 win over Chattanooga.
|Montana has allowed only seven points in the last two games combined. The Grizzlies really took it to Sacramento State last weekend, 34-7.
|The Vandals are looking up to Montana in the Big Sky standings due to their head-to-head loss a few weeks ago. However, this is still a championship-level squad.
|5. Montana State
|With the way the Bobcats can dominate along the line of scrimmage offensively, it is no surprise they are able to take away an opponent's will.
|6. South Dakota
|What a defensive effort by the Coyotes, holding the explosive Southern Illinois offense to only a touchdown. Great bounce-back win.
|The Blue Hens got caught slipping against Elon. Big plays in the passing game ultimately doomed them against the Phoenix.
|8. North Carolina Central
|NCCU nearly let Norfolk State back in the game by taking its foot off the gas after halftime. QB Davius Richard wasn't going to let that happen, however, thanks in part to his three touchdown passes on the day.
|Back-to-back 40-burgers by this Wildcats offense. They are starting to peak at the right time on that side of the ball.
|10. Florida A&M
|The Rattlers defense tightened up after the first quarter. And in true Rattler fashion, the offense continued to strike in a 42-28 win over Alabama A&M.
|11. Sacramento State
|The Hornets couldn't find any answers against Montana. The good news is that Cal Poly provides them a get-right game this weekend.
|The Great Danes sit atop the Coastal Athletic Association. Just a fantastic job done by coach Greg Gattuso this season.
|Tough loss for the Mocs to Furman in a game they had won until a late score by the Paladins. The Mocs wrapped up their FCS season with that game and now have two weeks to prepare for a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
|14. Incarnate Word
|The Cardinals have been flirting with a loss for a few weeks now, and it finally came back to bite them in a 45-32 loss against Nicholls.
|15. Austin Peay
|Seven straight wins now for the Governors, who got a big one against Eastern Kentucky last weekend. Their last two games are vs. Utah Tech and Central Arkansas. They control their own destiny in the United Athletic Conference.
|16. Northern Iowa
|Quietly, the Panthers are third in the Missouri Valley Conference and have quality wins against both Youngstown State and North Dakota.
|A disappointing overtime loss against Colgate dropped the Leopards a few spots in this week's rankings. The defense has to be much better the rest of the way.
|With losses to both Furman and Chattanooga, the Bears' three-game winning streak can only increase their chances for an at-large bid.
|19. UT Martin
|The Skyhawks got back on the winning track with a victory over Tennessee Tech. However, they've given up 79 points in the last two weeks. That has to change quickly.
|20. Youngstown State
|YSU has been in and out of these rankings throughout the season. A three-game winning streak has gotten them back into the top 25. A huge test this week against South Dakota State awaits.
|21. Western Carolina
|If the Catamounts can get wins against East Tennessee State and VMI, it'll be hard to keep them out of the postseason with those eight D-I wins.
|22. North Dakota
|With the way the Missouri Valley has cannibalized itself this season, Saturday's matchup against South Dakota could be an at-large elimination game for the Fighting Hawks.
|Wide receiver Tim Dowd finished with 123 yards and a touchdown in the 38-24 rout of Columbia.
|24. Southern Illinois
|The Salukis take on the flailing North Dakota State Bison this weekend. After a 4-0 start to the year, SIU is only 2-3 in its last five games.
|The Spiders crawl back into the Top 25 after their fourth straight win. They get a chance to continue to climb up the CAA standings vs. Elon on Saturday.