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  • Daniel Hooker

Catamount Football in the Latest FCS National Rankings

Coming off a Southern Conference road victory over Wofford last Saturday in Spartanburg that snapped a two-game seasonal slide against NCAA FCS playoff contenders Furman and Mercer, Catamount football remains in both NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national polls that were released on Monday (Nov. 6). Western Carolina is ranked 17th in this week’s Stats Perform FCS Top 25 media poll and tips the scale at No. 21 in the latest AFCA Coaches poll.

This marks the eighth consecutive week that the Catamount football team has been among the national rankings – and the seventh straight for WCU to be listed in both national polls. The eight-straight weeks ranked continues to mark the longest run for WCU since it spent 11-straight weeks carrying a number next to its name in the 1994 season, one week longer than the 10 weeks among the rankings in 1993.

Western Carolina slipped one position from its 16th-place ranking in the media poll from a week ago, and the Catamounts were additionally down one spot from their No. 20 national ranking in last week’s coaches tabulation.

WCU remains among three Southern Conference teams in both NCAA Top 25 polls with a fourth breaking back into the media vote. A combined five league teams received votes between the two national rankings.

Furman, which claimed at least a share of the 2023 SoCon title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA FCS postseason with last week’s road win at Chattanooga, continues to lead the conference at No. 2 in both polls entering the week. The Mocs are 17th in the AFCA coaches poll and dropped to 19th in the media vote. Mercer remains in the rankings at No. 23 in the Stats Perform FCS poll, while the Bears received votes in the AFCA poll just outside the Top 25 as the second-best team receiving votes this week. Samford also tallied a vote in this week’s coaches tabulation.

Western Carolina (6-3, 4-2 SoCon) plays its final home game of the regular season this Saturday (Nov. 11), hosting mountain-rival ETSU (2-7, 1-5 SoCon) in the trophy game, the “Blue Ridge Border Battle.” The Buccaneers are winless away from Johnson City, Tenn., this year in five tries (0-5) and have lost three straight games on the season coming to Cullowhee for a 1 p.m. kickoff at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live streaming audio through the Catamount Sports Network beginning at Noon. WCU will honor its three newest inductees into its Athletics Hall of Fame – former track & field coach Danny Williamson (1987-2016), women’s basketball player Brenda Johnson Hamilton (1974-77), and Catamount Sports Network broadcaster, Gary Ayers (1985-present) – with a special Hall of Fame ceremony in the third-floor Grand Room of the Hinds University Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday (Admission is free).

On Monday, WCU will hold a special coaches show originating live on location from the courtside in the Ramsey Center ahead of the 2023-24 Catamount women’s basketball season opener against Agnes Scott (7 p.m.) and airing on Facebook LIVE through the Catamount Athletics Facebook page ( Beginning at 5:30 p.m., women’s basketball coach Kiley Hill, men’s basketball coach Justin Gray, and SoCon Coach of the Year for the SoCon-champion women’s soccer team Chad Miller will be the guests ahead of the weekly football coaches show, "Catamount Football Weekly" with head coach Kerwin Bell, presented by Innovation Cullowhee, at 6 p.m.

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