MISSOULA -- What does a team have to do to climb the rankings around here?
Despite perhaps the most dominant two-game stretch in program history, the Montana Grizzlies are cemented at No. 10 for the third straight week in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll.
The Griz beat their last two opponents by a combined 121 points, scoring 60-plus points in back-to-back weeks for the first time in the football team's long and storied existence. But some major victories around the country kept the Griz from gaining any ground when the latest poll was released Monday morning.
Sure Chattanooga, last week's No. 5 team, lost its unbeaten title and dropped behind the Griz, but South Dakota State kept Montana (5-1) from advancing. North Dakota State, the unanimous No. 1 the past four weeks that hadn't budged from the top spot since the preseason, suffered its first defeat at the hands of its Missouri Valley Football Conference foe.
The 19-17 triumph at the Fargodome vaulted SDSU (4-2) up four spots -- and over the Grizzlies -- to No. 7 this week.
The Rabbits' big day also gives the poll a new leader for the first time this fall. Southland Conference pacesetter Sam Houston State (6-0) takes over the top spot. The Bearkats are one of just two undefeated teams left in the nation and drew 113 first-place votes.
The Citadel (6-0), which checks in at No. 5 this week, is the other team with a spotless record. The Bulldogs picked up five-first place votes and moved up three spots after knocking off Southern Conference power Chattanooga (6-1) on Saturday, 22-14.
Five teams in all earned at least five first-place votes -- the most this season.
Ohio Valley Conference top dog Jacksonville State (5-1) picked up 19 firsts to reach No. 2 and the Big Sky Conference's Eastern Washington (5-1) landed in third place with 17 firsts. The recently vanquished Bison (5-1) still garnered 11 first-place votes and fell to No. 4.
The rest of the top 10 features Colonial Athletic Association front-runners Richmond (6-1) and James Madison (6-1) at Nos. 6 and 8 around South Dakota State, and Big South leader Charleston Southern (3-2) one spot ahead of the Griz.
Chattanooga (6-1) fell five places to No. 11.
There are again four Big Sky programs ranked in the top 25 this week. After EWU and Montana, Cal Poly (4-2) is up two spots to No. 17 (tied with Coastal Carolina), and North Dakota (5-2) is up three to No. 19. That's the highest the Fighting Hawks have been ranked since checking in at No. 19 in the preseason poll as well.
Weber State (4-2) and Southern Utah (3-3) were the only other Big Sky teams to earn a few votes in the poll, but each fell well outside the top-25 perimeters.
Montana is No. 10 in the FCS coaches' poll as well.