Bearkats Finished Season At No.2
Courtesy: Paul Ridings, Jr., SHSU Sports Information
For the second year in a row, the Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bearkats have finished the season as No.2 in the FCS Sports Network polls.
The Bearkats went through three Big Sky tri-champion teams (Cal Poly, Montana State and Eastern Washington) to make a return trip to the FCS National Championship game in Frisco, where they lost to the eventual champion, North Dakota State (NDSU) Bison.
NDSU was the Sports Network’s No. 1 team and were ranked No. 1 in 11 of the 14 polls this season.
SHSU (11-4) was voted second on 128 of the 142 ballots.
Coach Willie Fritz’s Bearkats, the Southland Conference co-champions, finished behind North Dakota State in the point total, 3,550 to 3,386.
The other two teams to reach the national semifinals, Southern Conference tri-champion Georgia Southern (10-4) and Eastern Washington (11-3), finished No. 3 and 4, respectively.
The rest of the Top 10 was No. 5 Montana State (11-2), No. 6 Old Dominion (11-2), No. 7 Wofford (9-4), a SoCon tri-champion; No. 8 Illinois State (9-4), No. 9 Appalachian State (8-4), a SoCon tri-champion and No. 10 Central Arkansas (9-3), a Southland co-champion.
Next up were No. 11 Stony Brook (10-3), a Big South Conference tri-champion, No. 12 Cal Poly (9-3), No. 13 New Hampshire (8-4), a CAA Football tri-champion, No. 14 South Dakota State (9-4), No. 15 Villanova (8-4), a CAA tri-champion, No. 16 Lehigh (10-1), No. 17 Towson (7-4), a CAA tri-champion, No. 18 Richmond (8-3), a CAA tri-champion, No. 19 James Madison (7-4), and No. 20 Northern Arizona (8-3).
Northeast Conference champion Wagner (9-4) finished at No. 21, followed by No. 22 Bethune-Cookman (9-3), the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, No. 23 Eastern Kentucky (8-3), No. 24 Coastal Carolina (8-5), a Big South tri- champion; and No. 25 Colgate (8-4), the Patriot League champion.
The first teams outside the Top 25 were Eastern Illinois, the Ohio Valley Conference champion, and Indiana State, which handed North Dakota State its only loss of the season, 17-14 on Oct. 13.
The CAA finished with the most teams in the Top 25 with six, followed by the Big Sky with four and the Missouri Valley and SoCon with three each.
There were two teams each from the Southland, Big South and Patriot League, and one each from the MEC, NEC and Ohio Valley Conference.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selected the Top 25 throughout the season.
A first-place vote was worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.