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FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 11

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 11

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 11

Still eating the leftover Halloween candy? You’re not alone, some FCS playoff contenders are trying to hold on to October as well.

November arrived last weekend and it has a habit of giving the cold shoulder to FCS teams. Those slumping still have three more weeks of the regular season to control their destiny.

Here’s a countdown of the 10 best FCS games in Week 11:

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

10. No. 25 Kennesaw State (7-2, 2-1 Big South) at Campbell (6-2, 3-0)

1 p.m., Saturday

To be the man you have to beat... the former man? Front-running Monmouth, fresh off of a demolition of Kennesaw State, can sit back and watch Campbell take its shot at the two-time defending Big South champ in a game of FCS playoff survival. Well, it’s not all a day at the Jersey beach because the Hawks also play a North Alabama squad that just beat Campbell.

The Pick: Kennesaw State

9. Richmond (5-4, 4-1 CAA) at No. 18 Villanova (6-3, 3-3)

1 p.m., Saturday

These two teams are passing each other like ships in the CAA night. Richmond has a four-game conference winning streak while Villanova is taking on water by dropping three in a row in conference. Turnover margin tells the story (yeah, keep the cliches coming): ‘Nova is plus-four in wins and minus-seven in losses; Richmond is plus-one in wins and minus-five in losses.

The Pick: Villanova

8. Duquesne (6-2, 4-0 Northeast) at Robert Morris (5-4, 4-0)

1 p.m., Saturday

The Battle of Pittsburgh takes on special meaning this season because the two rivals join Central Connecticut State in the only FCS title race with three conference unbeatens. Duquesne’s A.J. Hines and Mark Allen have rumbled for a combined 1,157 rushing yards, but RMU features the duo of Alijah Jackson and Terence Stephens, a tick higher at 1,175. Yeah, win the line of scrimmage.

The Pick: Duquesne

7. No. 17 Illinois State (6-3, 3-2 MVFC) at No. 4 South Dakota State (7-2, 4-1)

3 p.m., Saturday

After a loss to UNI last Saturday, Illinois State is still trying to turn back the clock – now a mere 1-6 in November since 2017. Meanwhile, South Dakota State heats up at this time of the year, winning its last nine games in November. Seniors like linebacker Christian Rozeboom, who’s on the verge of becoming the school’s all-time leading tackler, has played a big part in the success.

The Pick: South Dakota State

6. Southeastern Louisiana (5-3, 4-2 Southland) at No. 7 Central Arkansas (7-2, 5-1)

4 p.m., Saturday

It feels like every Southland game has huge ramifications. It’s kind of true because seven teams are above .500 in both conference play and overall. The visiting Lions have scored at least 44 points in each of their four conference wins, and they may have to reach that level against Central Arkansas quarterback Breylin Smith, who’s coming off the first two 400-yard games of his career, with four TD passes in each game as well.

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The Pick: Southeastern Louisiana

5. Alcorn State (6-2, 4-0 SWAC East) at Grambling State (4-4, 2-2 SWAC West)

3 p.m., Saturday

Storied programs collide in a matchup that’s big for both SWAC divisional races. Grambling quarterback Geremy Hickbottom is coming off a career game, accounting for 453 yards of total offense and five touchdowns against Texas Southern’s FCS-worst defense. Alcorn’s defense, led by middle linebacker Solomon Muhammad and free safety Qwynnterrio Cole, patrols in a whole different universe.

The Pick: Alcorn State

4. No. 15 North Dakota (5-3 Independent) at No. 3 Weber State (7-2, 5-0 Big Sky)

4 p.m., Saturday

North Dakota has had an extra week of preparation for the Big Sky leader, but the Fighting Hawks have won only one of their last six road games dating to last season and Weber State has won 13 in a row at home during the regular season. Let’s put it this way: In the Wildcats’ only two losses in 2019, they gave up a combined one touchdown to FBS programs San Diego State and Nevada, which are a combined 12-5.

The Pick: Weber State

3. UT Martin (6-3, 5-1 Ohio Valley) at No. 16 Austin Peay (6-3, 4-1)

4 p.m., Saturday

The OVC race has been a grind, and UT Martin carries that persona, which explains why the Skyhawks sit atop the OVC standings. Without a road win here, they may fall short of earning their first FCS playoff bid since 2006. Austin Peay, which has surrendered fourth-quarter leads in all three of its losses, is glad to be back at Fortera Stadium after three straight road games. It’s where the Governors have already beaten the conference’s 2018 playoff representatives, Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri.

The Pick: Austin Peay

2. No. 14 New Hampshire (5-3, 4-1 CAA) at No. 2 James Madison (8-1, 5-0)

3:30 p.m., Saturday

UNH is the close-to-the-vest team that gives an opponent hope in the fourth quarter and then rips it all away. JMU, not so much, having outscored opponents by 129 in the first half – the third-best margin among FCS teams. The Dukes aren’t just seeking a fourth CAA title in five seasons, they’re playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Pick: James Madison

1. No. 11 Princeton (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) vs. No. 10 Dartmouth (7-0, 4-0) in New York

3:30 p.m., Saturday

They’ll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of college football at Yankee Stadium – and Princeton playing Rutgers in the FCS’ first FBS matchup! – but first place is on the line as the Ivy powers meet as 7-0 teams for the second consecutive year. Surely there are two schools of thought about Dartmouth’s Hail Mary victory at Harvard last Saturday: The Big Green are a team of destiny or it’s a sign they’ll fall victim to a Princeton squad on a school-record 17-game winning streak.

The Pick: Princeton

Last Week’s Record: 7-3 (.700)

Season Record: 68-32 (.680)

— 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 University of New Hampshire Athletics)