Delaware ascends to the No. 1 ranking

1:36 PM, Nov 15, 2010   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - An encouraging phone call from Vice President Joe Biden to Delaware football coach K.C. Keeler last week indicates what kind of season it's been for the Blue Hens.

The Blue Hens are all the talk in the Football Championship Subdivision, as Biden, the former U.S. Senator from Delaware, knows all too well.

Delaware ascended to the No. 1 ranking in The Sports Network/ FCS Top 25 on Monday, capturing 116 of the 159 first-place votes and 3,927 points in the poll of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters and writers

"It's neat for the kids. Obviously, you worked hard all season long and things fell our way in terms of some people losing and we get a chance to be ranked No. 1," Keeler said.

"We'll take a minute on Sunday and we'll discuss these kinds of things. They don't give you a ring for, hey, we were ranked for two weeks No. 1 in the country - that's not the way it works. Our kids get it, our kids understand that we have a lot in front of us. We've got to battle a very good Villanova this weekend and worry about that. It's a nice accomplishment for the program and a nice accomplishment for these kids."

Delaware (9-1) is ranked No. 1 for the first time since the 2004 preseason poll, which followed the Blue Hens' national championship season in 2003. The Blue Hens, behind an offense led by senior quarterback Pat Devlin and a defense that has allowed the fewest points in the FCS, have clinched at least a share of the CAA Football championship. They host Villanova on Saturday with a chance to make it an outright title and add the conference's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.

Delaware rose one spot from No. 2 following its 45-27 victory at Massachusetts and William & Mary, last week's No. 1, losing at James Madison, 30-24, on Saturday.

Appalachian State (9-1), which spent five weeks in the top spot earlier this season, had 28 first-place votes and grabbed the No. 2 spot. The Mountaineers were followed in the top five by Eastern Washington (8-2), which had eight first-place votes; Jacksonville State (9-1), which had two first-place votes; and Stephen F. Austin (8-2).

William & Mary (7-3) fell to No. 6, followed by Bethune-Cookman (10-0), the MEAC leader which received four first-place votes and is the only unbeaten team in the FCS; Montana State (8-2), which received one first-place vote; Wofford (8-2); and Southeast Missouri State (9-2).

Montana (7-3) climbed two spots to No. 11. The Grizzlies host rival Montana State on Saturday in one of the week's bigger games, perhaps needing a win to continue its record run of 17 straight FCS playoff bids.

South Carolina State (8-2) followed at No. 12. Then it's Northern Iowa (7-3), New Hampshire (6-4) and defending FCS champion Villanova (6-5), which likely has to beat Delaware on Saturday to earn a playoff bid.

Penn (8-1), whose only loss was to Villanova, checked in at No. 16, followed by North Dakota State (7-3), whose climb of seven spots to No. 17 was the biggest of the week; Richmond (6-4); Massachusetts (6-4); and Jacksonville (10-1).

Liberty (7-3) dropped to No. 21 following a loss. Poll newcomer Lehigh (8-2), the Patriot League champion, was No. 22, followed by Cal Poly (7-3), poll newcomer Dayton (10-1) and Grambling State (8-2). Dayton and Jacksonville finished as co-champions in the Pioneer Football League.

The Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon during the regular season except for the final weekend, when it will be released on Sunday, Nov. 21, due to its use as an official tool by the NCAA Division I Football Committee in selecting the playoff field.

The Sports Network and will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

The night before the FCS championship game, The Sports Network will present the Walter Payton (outstanding FCS player) Buck Buchanan (outstanding FCS defensive player) and Eddie Robinson (outstanding FCS coach) awards, which are sponsored by

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