We provided you with the best FCS games last week. We also imploded with the predictions.
Isn’t a .500 batting average considered Hall of Fame material?
Hah, we’re sugar-coating the 3-8 record, but remember, the best games often are toss-ups.
As we step back in the batter’s box for another week of the wild and wacky FCS, here are the Week 6 games of the week:
Note: All times ET
Saturday, Oct. 7
Maine (1-2, 0-2 CAA) at No. 14 Villanova (3-2, 1-1), 1 p.m.
Villanova’s injuries to standout players – the latest being quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (knee) – have been almost unfair. Having had open dates two of the last three weeks, Maine will be either rested or rusty.
North Carolina Central (3-1, 2-0 MEAC) at Howard (2-2, 1-0), 1 p.m.
Since the start of the 2012 season, N.C. Central has scored 35 touchdowns on defense and special teams, including junior safety Davanta Reynolds’ two defensive scores this season. Howard quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam’s younger brother) and running back Anthony Philyaw have some TD plans of their own.
No. 19 Western Carolina (4-1, 2-0 Southern) at No. 10 Wofford (4-0, 2-0), 1:30 p.m.
There may not be a more balanced defense than Wofford’s, whose top eight tacklers have between 20 and 23 stops. They’ll have to rise to the occasion against the Catamounts’ top-ranked offense in the Southern Conference (41.2 ppg and 535.4 ypg).
Yale (3-0, 1-0 Ivy) at Dartmouth (3-0, 1-0), 1:30 p.m.
How about that? A big Ivy League game that doesn’t involve Harvard, Penn or Princeton. Yale sophomore Kurt Rawlings leads the FCS in completion percentage (76.2) as he directs a Bulldogs team averaging 48.7 points per game.
Mercer (2-3, 1-2 Southern) at No. 24 The Citadel (3-1, 1-1), 2 p.m.
Mercer’s potential breakthrough season has been full of close losses; The Citadel was simply blown out by Samford. With Wofford and Chattanooga looming next in the Southern Conference race, this is a game in which the host Bulldogs – the two-time defending champs – have to decide if they’re good or not.
Pick: The Citadel
No. 9 Sam Houston State (3-1, 1-1 Southland) vs. Stephen F. Austin (2-3, 2-1) in Houston, 2 p.m.
Sam Houston has won the last six meetings of the “Battle of the Piney Woods” at NRG Stadium. Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe’s next touchdown pass – probably in the first quarter – will be the 85th of his career to set a new Bearkats record.
Pick: Sam Houston State
Albany (3-2, 1-1 CAA) at No. 13 Richmond (2-2, 0-1), 3 p.m.
Albany has scored one offensive touchdown in its last two games. That kind of production doesn’t match up against Richmond and quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
No. 3 Youngstown State (3-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley) at No. 4 South Dakota (4-0, 1-0), 3 p.m.
If any defense can slow South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler, it’s Youngstown State, which goes for a sweep of the Mount Rushmore State schools after beating South Dakota State last week. The Penguins hold a 5-0 series lead.
Pick: Youngstown State
No. 5 Jacksonville State (3-1, 1-0 Ohio Valley) at Austin Peay (3-2, 2-0), 5 p.m.
Considering it had a 29-game losing streak less than a month ago, it’s stunning Austin Peay has a longer winning streak (three) than Jacksonville State (two), which is seeking to tie the record for consecutive Ohio Valley Conference wins (26).
Pick: Jacksonville State
Grambling State (4-1, 1-0 SWAC) vs. Prairie View A&M (2-2, 2-0) in Dallas, 5 p.m.
The State Fair Classic winner will take the driver’s seat in the SWAC West Division. Grambling has a decided advantage at quarterback with Devante Kincade, the conference's offensive player of the week.
Pick: Grambling State
No. 12 Western Illinois (3-1, 0-1 Missouri Valley) at No. 22 Northern Iowa (2-2, 1-0), 5 p.m.
With so many good Missouri Valley opponents ahead, this is kind of a crossroads game for these two teams. If WIU running back Steve McShane can get into a groove, that will make quarterback Sean McGuire even more dangerous.
Pick: Western Illinois
No. 11 Illinois State (4-0) at Northern Arizona (2-2), 7 p.m.
Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus does his best work inside the Walkup Skydome, where’s he thrown 39 touchdown passes in nine career games. The best matchup will be Lumberjacks wide receiver Elijah Marks against Illinois State cornerback Davontae Harris.
Pick: Northern Arizona
Last Week’s Record: 3-8 (.273)
Season Record: 45-16 (.738)
— 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 www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.
(Photo courtesy Youngstown State Athletics)