Coaches and media might believe Jacksonville State is only the second best team in the country but the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee believes the Gamecocks are the team to beat.
The committee rewarded the 7-1 Gamecocks with the top spot in the initial rankings on Thursday. It's the first time the committee released rankings prior to the end of the season.
JSU's only loss came on a trip to LSU in September. FCS teams are typically not punished for losses to FBS programs.
JSU trails undefeated Sam Houston State in both major FCS polls, but the Bearkats are listed as the second best team by the committee. Eastern Washington comes in at No. 3 followed by five-time defending national champion North Dakota State at No. 4.
The Gamecocks earned the No. 1 seed in last year's playoffs and enjoyed home-field advantage until losing to the Bison in the national championship game in Frisco, TX. If the rankings remain the same, the gamecocks will be positioned to claim their second straight No. 1 overall seed.
The committee will reveal its playoff bracket on Sunday, Nov. 20. The top eight seeds will earn a bye during the first round of the 24-team tournament.
Rankings will be released again on Thursday, Nov. 10 and Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The rankings are as follows:
Copyright 2016 WBRC. All rights reserved.