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FCS Football: Best Games and Predictions for Week 3

UNH Holy Cross.jpg

New Hampshire vs. Holy Cross

There’s no need to be a fan of “Days of Our Lives” or any other soap opera (wait, do they still exist?).


The FCS provides your continuing “turn in next week” for the best twists and turns.

The results can get crazy from week to week and it’s going to happen more often with the FBS matchups mostly behind us. This week’s schedule features quite a few matchups that can go either way.

Yup, we’re back for another episode of “As the FCS Turns.”

Here are the Week 3 FCS games of the week:

Note: All times ET, ranking referenced is from Athlon Spors' FCS Power Poll

Saturday, Sept. 16

San Diego (1-1) at Princeton (0-0), noon

It’s good to be the home team against San Diego. The defending Pioneer Football League champ has five games in the Eastern time zone, and at kickoff, the Toreros’ body clocks will feel 9 a.m. four times and 10 a.m. once. Smart thinking by the hosts, including Princeton, which is without 2016 Ivy League offensive player of the year John Lovett.

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Pick: San Diego

No. 18 The Citadel (2-0, 0-0 Southern) at East Tennessee State (1-1, 0-0), 1 p.m.

Hurricane Irma’s impact in Charleston, South Carolina, moved The Citadel off campus earlier in the week, but the two-time defending Southern Conference champion always plays with focus. The Bulldogs’ triple-option offense has five rushers who have gained between 124 and 153 yards through two wins.

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Pick: The Citadel

No. 15 Eastern Washington (0-2) at Fordham (1-1), 1 p.m.

Each team is off to a disappointing start. Fordham will have a hard-enough time containing Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud, and it will be especially tough to keep up if Rams running back Chase Edmonds (ankle, hamstring) is sidelined.

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Pick: Eastern Washington

No. 9 New Hampshire (2-0) at Holy Cross (1-1), 1:05 p.m.

UNH just beat an FBS opponent (Georgia Southern) and this might be the tougher game because of Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals’ savvy leadership and mobile style. Having returned from a medical redshirt, Pujals is a rare four-year team captain.

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Pick: Holy Cross

No. 16 Illinois State (1-0) at Eastern Illinois (1-1), 3 p.m.

The visiting team has won each of the last two Mid-America Classics by three points, including EIU’s 24-21 victory last season. Illinois State cornerback Davontae Harris (6-200) is an NFL prospect whom EIU quarterback Mitch Kimble should avoid throwing at.

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Pick: Illinois State

No. 11 North Dakota (1-1) at No. 14 South Dakota (2-0), 3 p.m.

The week’s only game that involves two ranked teams in the Athlon FCS Power Poll will have a hard time matching North Dakota’s 47-44, double-overtime win last year. South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler is turning himself into a leading Walter Payton Award candidate.

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Pick: South Dakota

UT Martin (1-1) at No. 20 Chattanooga (0-2), 6 p.m.

The host Mocs are desperate to get first-year head coach Tom Arth a win before conference play begins. Their struggling offense will be glad to face a defense that’s not on the level of Jacksonville State and LSU. But the Mocs’ defense will have its work cut out against UT Martin running back Ladarius Galloway.

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Pick: Chattanooga

No. 23 Colgate (1-1) at Buffalo (0-2), 6 p.m.

The Raiders’ last win over an FBS opponent was against Buffalo in 2003 (38-15). They ranked first in the FCS in rushing defense last year, and through two games this year, they have allowed only 2.9 yards over 94 carries.

College Football Rankings: Buffalo
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Pick: Colgate

Bethune-Cookman (1-1) at Florida Atlantic (0-2), 6:30 p.m.

After leading a terrific win at Southeastern Louisiana, quarterback and MEAC co-offensive player of the week Larry Brihm Jr. will try to keep first-year FAU head coach Lane Kiffin winless. Hurricane Irma delayed both teams’ return to campus following last Saturday’s games.

College Football Rankings: FAU
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Pick: Florida Atlantic

McNeese (1-1) at Alcorn State (1-1), 7 p.m.

Last week’s win over Division II Florida Tech doesn’t help McNeese’s FCS playoff resume, so this is a must-win road game. The Cowboys have forced six turnovers, led by defensive back Jermaine Antoine’s two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

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Pick: McNeese

No. 21 Samford (2-0) at Georgia (2-0), 7:30 p.m.

Samford is 2-76-3 all-time against current members of the SEC, including 0-47-2 against Alabama and Auburn. At least the Bulldogs are only 0-1 against Georgia (a 39-0 loss in 1943).

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Georgia
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Pick: Georgia

No. 19 Northern Iowa (1-1) at Southern Utah (1-1), 8 p.m.

The Missouri Valley took a 4-1 lead in the Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series last weekend. UNI earned one of the wins against Cal Poly and will try to impose its physicality on Southern Utah. But Thunderbirds quarterback Patrick Tyler, who’s thrown for 28 touchdowns with only eight interceptions since the start of last season, is on a roll.

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Pick: Southern Utah

Southeastern Louisiana (0-2, 0-0 Southland) at No. 17 Central Arkansas (1-1, 0-0), 8:15 p.m.

The opportunity is right in front of the host Bears: They win their home opener in the Southland, rest up on a bye week and then host Sam Houston State in the conference’s biggest game on Sept. 30.

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Pick: Central Arkansas

Last Week’s Record: 10-1 (.909)

Season Record: 23-2 (.920)

— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.

(Photo courtesy University of New Hampshire Athletics)