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FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 10

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 10

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 10

The way FCS teams are beating up on each other in conference play, Wofford made the smart move of the week by stepping out of league.

The Southern Conference co-leader is only facing Clemson.

Last week's best schedule of the FCS season is followed by one that also is rich with top games — top conference games, in fact. Not the kind for the faint of heart.

Here’s a countdown of the 10 best FCS games in Week 10:

Note: All times ET. Rank in front of team refers to the FCS Power Poll.

10. No. 23 Nicholls (4-4, 3-2 Southland) at UIW (5-3, 4-2)

5 p.m., Saturday

The 2018 Southland co-champs are in a little bit of survival mode after they lost conference home games in overtime last Saturday. Eight of the teams are .500 or better overall, so once again, there's a mad scramble to the finish line.

The Pick: Nicholls

9. No. 13 Villanova (6-2, 3-2 CAA) at New Hampshire (4-3, 3-1)

1 p.m., Saturday

Apparently, eight isn’t enough: There are nine CAA teams that are .500 or better heading into November, so there's no room for losses at this point. Villanova has two in a row after a late meltdown against Stony Brook and needs a reversal against defensively strong New Hampshire, which is rested after a bye.

The Pick: Villanova

8. No. 1 North Dakota State (8-0, 4-0 Missouri Valley) at Youngstown State (5-3, 1-3)

6 p.m., Saturday

Bo knows the Bison. The Penguins have played the FCS dynasty quite tough under fifth-year head coach Bo Pelini, including 27-24 losses in 2015 and '17 (in overtime). Will Bo know his 100th career win come Saturday night? We kind of doubt it.

The Pick: North Dakota State

7. No. 10 Furman (5-3, 4-1 Southern) at Chattanooga (4-4, 3-1)

2 p.m., Saturday

The top six teams in the SoCon standings are separated by one game and this week's schedule makes it possible to remain that way in the loss column after the dust settles (wait, is there dust on synthetic turf?). Take out Furman's loss to The Citadel and it's been the best team. Oh yes, the Paladins can't take out that clunker — nor can they afford another one.

The Pick: Furman

6. Drake (4-3, 4-0 Pioneer) at San Diego (5-2, 4-0)

5 p.m., Saturday

The scenario is enticing – two PFL unbeatens with no other team closer than two games in the standings – but San Diego rolls through league opponents with Bison-like precision. The Toreros have won 33 in a row in the league, including four against Drake by a combined 137-32. Their fourth-ranked FCS offense went over 300 rushing yards and 300 passing yards at Dayton last Saturday.

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The Pick: San Diego

5. Holy Cross (4-4, 2-0 Patriot) at Lehigh (4-3, 3-0)

12:30 p.m., Saturday

It's been another bad season for Patriot teams out of league, but tough schedules have worked well for preparing the two league leaders. Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore guided the Holy Cross program for 14 seasons from 2004-17. Nine of Crusaders quarterback Connor Degenhardt's 10 touchdown passes have come in the last four games.

The Pick: Holy Cross

4. No. 15 North Carolina A&T (5-2, 3-1 MEAC) at South Carolina State (5-2, 3-1)

1:30 p.m., Saturday

With 15 rushing TDs this season, the end zone isn't just in North Carolina A&T junior Jah-Maine Martin's view, so, too, is Tarik Cohen's single-season school record of 18 in 2016. That’s heady company, and the impressive Bulldogs have to figure out how to slow down the FCS leader in rushing yards per game (135.9).

The Pick: North Carolina A&T

3. No. 8 Northern Iowa (5-3, 3-1 Missouri Valley) at No. 11 Illinois State (6-2, 3-1)

1 p.m., Saturday

North Dakota State and South Dakota State had the spotlight in the MVFC last week. Who's next in the pecking order? We're about to find out. Illinois State All-American James Robinson is coming off a season-high 180 rushing yards — the 14th 100-yard game of his career — but in his only matchup with UNI last season, he was held to 40 yards on 16 carries.

The Pick: Northern Iowa

2. Monmouth (6-2, 3-0 Big South) at No. 7 Kennesaw State (7-1, 2-0)

2 p.m., Saturday

Monmouth players see Kennesaw State in their sleep — they've played the Owls for the Big South title in each of the past two seasons and allowed over 400 rushing yards each time while losing twice by a combined 103-35. The Hawks will put Kennesaw's low strength of schedule to the test.

The Pick: Kennesaw State

1. No. 3 Weber State (6-2, 4-0 Big Sky) at No. 5 Sacramento State (6-2, 4-0)

9 p.m., Saturday

Weber State has had the best defense in the Big Sky while going 27-8 the last three seasons (27-4 versus FCS). The Wildcats will need it considering how quarterback Kevin Thomson, running back Elijah Dotson, and the Sac State offense have been dominating this season. The Hornets have won four straight since games in the same season for the first time since starting 6-0 in 1991.

The Pick: Sacramento State

Last Week’s Record: 7-3 (.700)

Season Record: 61-29 (.678)

— 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 of Robert Casey/Weber State Athletics)