Catamount Football Hits Top 10, Ranked in Both Polls
Winners of five-straight games and with eight-consecutive victories against NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) foes dating back to last season, Western Carolina broke into the Top 10 in one poll on Monday while advancing inside the Top 15 in the other national tabulation.
Following Saturday’s instant classic victory at No. 20/24 Chattanooga, the Catamounts moved to No. 9 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 media poll – up two spots from the No. 11 ranking last week, while climbing from No. 17 to No. 14 in the AFCA Coaches polling.
Western Carolina’s current No. 9 ranking in the Stats Perform FCS media poll represents its best national ranking since 1993 when the Catamounts tipped the scales at a program Division-I best eighth in an early-September tabulation.
It's the fourth straight week that the Catamount football team has been among the national rankings – and the third consecutive to be listed in both national polls. Back in 2017, WCU maintained a number next to its moniker for six consecutive weeks from early October through mid-November representing the longest streak since double-digit runs in the 1993 and 1994 seasons.
WCU is among three SoCon teams in the rankings and five that received votes this week. Furman paces the conference a No. 4 in the coaches poll and No. 5 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25, while Chattanooga hangs on in a tie for 20th in the AFCA coaches poll and is ranked 25th by the media. Mercer is receiving votes in both polls, while the Samford Bulldogs garnered votes from the media only.
Also on Monday, Western Carolina was listed as an honorable mention for the FedEx Ground National Team of the Week. It’s the second time WCU has been mentioned for that weekly honor, claiming the top team of the week following the upset win over Samford back on Sept. 9. At the same time, one of the heroes from Saturday’s road win at No. 20/24 Chattanooga – placekicker Richard McCollum – was dubbed an honorable mention for the FedEx Ground National Special Teams Player of the Week in the same release by Stats Perform FCS.
McCollum scored 10 points in the 52-50 road win over the Mocs, connecting on seven PATs and hitting the walk-off, 32-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired that propelled the Catamounts to its first road victory over a nationally-ranked FCS opponent since 1984, snapping a 47-game winless drought away from Cullowhee against Top 25 foes.
First-place in the Southern Conference, Western Carolina (5-1, 3-0 SoCon) enters its bye week before hosting back-to-back home games against two of the preseason league favorites in Cullowhee. WCU welcomes No. 4/5 Furman (4-1, 2-0 SoCon) on Heroes Day on Oct. 21 before hosting RV/RV Mercer (4-2, 2-1 SoCon) on Oct. 28 for Homecoming 2023. Furman visits Samford and Mercer hosts Wofford this Saturday in conference action.