College Sports

Looking for Charlotte, Davidson in national college football rankings? Start at bottom

The Charlotte 49ers and running back Robert Washington (20) have started the season 0-3, including a loss to FCS power N.C. A&T.
The Charlotte 49ers and running back Robert Washington (20) have started the season 0-3, including a loss to FCS power N.C. A&T. WWW.MICZEKPHOTO.COM

There’s not much love for the state of Mecklenburg County college football this week from the people who rank the nation’s Division I teams.

The Sagarin ratings – a component in picking teams for the elite Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) bowls until 2014 – have both the Charlotte 49ers and the Davidson Wildcats ranked last nationally in their respective divisions.

The 49ers (0-3) have never gotten much love in preseason or even in-season polls. They were picked to finish last in the Eastern Division of Conference USA in 2015 and again this season and were ranked near the bottom of FBS in 2015, their first campaign in that division.

Charlotte also was ranked near the bottom at the start of last season but defeated three teams originally rated higher – Marshall, Florida Atlantic and Southern Mississippi.

For Davidson (2-1), it’s a case of apples and oranges. The Wildcats do not offer football scholarships, unlike the large majority of the other Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools.

Jeff Sagarin, whose ratings are still used to help pick the field for the NCAA basketball tournament, ranked Charlotte 191st this week among all Division I schools (FBS and FCS). That’s the lowest for any FBS program. Next-lowest is Texas-El Paso, at 174.

Davidson is last of the 253 Division I schools ranked by Sagarin.

Sagarin has never disclosed how the rankings are developed, but analysts say they are based heavily on strength of schedule and game performance.

The 49ers also are last in the Massey Ratings, are 128th in the ESPN Power Index (ahead of Texas-El Paso and Texas State), and 129th in the CBS ratings. The only team ranked lower by CBS is Georgia State, which visits Richardson Stadium for a 6 p.m. game on Saturday against the 49ers.

Charlotte coach Brad Lambert repeatedly has addressed the ratings issue in his team’s three FBS seasons, most recently a few weeks ago.

“We have no control over all that,” Lambert said. “It’s our job to change the perception of our program. Our performance on the field can change all of that.”

Charlotte has lost to a pair of FBS opponents – 24-7 to Eastern Michigan and 55-7 to nationally anked Kansas State – and fell last week 35-31 to N.C. A&T, which is nationally ranked in the FCS.

Davidson has beaten a pair of Division III opponents (Brevard and Guilford) and lost 63-17 to FCS foe Western Carolina. The Wildcats’ remaining eight games this season are against FCS teams – all of whom are members of the Pioneer Football League and, like Davidson, don’t offer football scholarships.

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

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