Jeff's top 25: Illinois State makes its move

North Dakota State’s Jalen Bussey celebrates a touchdown against Western Illinois during their football game Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO - After 10 weeks, Illinois State finally made a move. The Redbirds registered their first quality win of the season and because of the timing of it vaulted the 'Birds into the top five in my ballot for the top 25 media poll.

The victory over South Dakota State was also good for Northern Iowa and gave the Missouri Valley Football Conference three of the top five spots on my list and four of the top six. It also further solidifies how top heavy the league is this season. The official poll comes out late Monday morning.

Southeastern Louisiana also resurfaced as a worthy team, shutting out Central Arkansas 34-0 in Conway, Ark. That loss was puzzling in that the Bears seemed to be primed for a top eight seed. With the season down to two weeks, there is a fight to playoff consideration with a boatload of teams with three or four losses.

  1. North Dakota State (10-0)

  2. James Madison (9-1)

  3. Weber State (8-2)

  4. Northern Iowa (7-3)

  5. Illinois State (7-3)

  6. South Dakota State (7-3)

  7. Sacramento State (7-3)

  8. Montana (8-2)

  9. Furman (7-3)

  10. Monmouth (8-2)

  11. Montana State (7-3)

  12. Southeast Missouri State (7-3)

  13. Towson (6-4)

  14. Southeastern Louisiana (6-3)

  15. Wofford (6-3)

  16. Villanova (7-3)

  17. Southern Illinois (6-4)

  18. North Dakota (5-4)

  19. Central Arkansas (7-3)

  20. Kennesaw State (8-2)

  21. The Citadel (6-4)

  22. Austin Peay (7-3)

  23. Central Connecticut State (9-1)

  24. New Hampshire (5-4)

  25. Nicholls (6-4)

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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