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Montana's Ryan McKinley, left, and TJ Reynard talk after the the Brawl of the Wild loss to Montana State

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

As was the case the morning after the final game of the FCS regular season, in which Montana lost to its rival, the Grizzlies were unranked in the postseason STATS FCS poll, the final poll of the year released Monday morning.

Montana's exclusion marks the first time since the middle of the 2012 season that the Griz went unranked, a streak of 52 consecutive polling weeks. Montana finished 2016 at 6-5, its worst record since that 2012 outing in which UM ended 5-6 amidst a scandal that cost the team's head coach and the department's athletic director their jobs.

The Griz also missed the playoffs in 2016 for the first time since that same '12 season.

The final STATS poll coincides with the conclusion of FCS championship weekend where James Madison topped Youngstown State, 28-14, to capture its second ever national title. Unsurprisingly, the Dukes (14-1) were a unanimous No. 1 in the poll, drawing all 154 first-place votes.

Youngstown (12-4) came in at No. 2 followed by North Dakota State (12-2), which for the first time since 2010 ended its year without a national championship. Eastern Washington (12-2), the highest polling of four Big Sky Conference schools, was No. 4 after losing to the Penguins in the national semifinals.

Sam Houston State (12-1), which was unbeaten in the regular season and entered the postseason as the top-ranked team, checked in at No. 5. South Dakota State (9-4), Jacksonville State (10-2), Richmond (10-4), Wofford (10-4) and The Citadel (10-2) rounded out the top 10.

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Big Sky teams North Dakota (9-3), Cal Poly (7-5) and Weber State (7-5) ranked 12th, 24th and 25th, respectively.

The Griz drew 30 total votes to finish well outside the top 25. Montana would be ranked 31st if the poll were extended as far.

Neither Montana nor Montana State (4-7) qualified for the playoffs this season for the first time since 1992.

The Griz remained ranked in the FCS Coaches poll, but only barely. Montana held the last position, No. 25, in that poll's final tally.

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