FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 12

Penultimate week of the regular season is going to decide a lot

We're going to hear some of our favorite phrases of the FCS season this week:

 

Conference titles.

 

Playoff bids.

 

Senior Day.

 

Hopefully, we'll get another scenario we love: upsets.

 

Yeah, bring them on, too, we're sinister enough to root for a bunch in the most thrilling time of the season.

 

Here's a countdown of the 10 best FCS games in Week 12:

 

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

 

10. No. 11 Montana State (7-3, 4-2 Big Sky) at UC Davis (5-5, 3-3)

7 p.m., Saturday

The host Aggies, who will take on rival Sacramento State after Montana State, are trying to rally to a 7-5 finish to get back into the playoff picture. The visiting Bobcats, who host rival Montana in their regular-season finale, don’t want to slide to 7-5 and leave doubt on their resume.

The Pick: Montana State

 

9. McNeese (6-4, 4-3 Southland) at No. 17 Nicholls (6-4, 5-2)

4 p.m., Saturday

There is no margin for error in the Southland title race, where preseason favorite Nicholls is in a first-place tie with Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State, and Southeastern Louisiana. Three of the Cowboys’ four losses are on the road, but they benefit from having two weeks of preparation.

The Pick: Nicholls

 

8. No. 22 Monmouth (8-2, 4-0 Big South) at Campbell (6-3, 3-1)

1 p.m., Saturday

Monmouth lost its all-time leading receiver Reggie White Jr. after last season, but quarterback Kenji Bahar has been even better this season with career-highs in passing yards (2,693) and touchdown passes (22). If he leads the Hawks to a seventh straight win, they’ll secure the Big South’s automatic playoff bid.

The Pick: Monmouth

 

7. No. 21 New Hampshire (5-4, 4-2 CAA) at UAlbany (6-4, 4-2)

1 p.m., Saturday

Sometimes the playoffs arrive before the playoffs. One of these CAA teams is about to be eliminated from the playoff picture and one is about to survive for at least another week. UNH has yet to score more than 28 points, which is a good half for UAlbany redshirt freshman Jeff Undercuffler, who has thrown an FCS-leading 31 touchdown passes.

The Pick: UAlbany

 

6. Bethune-Cookman (6-3, 4-2 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (6-3, 4-2)

1 p.m., Saturday

In a MEAC that has seen Florida A&M go 6-0 against MEAC foes yet is ineligible for the title, Bethune and N.C. A&T both went out and lost to 1-8 teams last Saturday. Cue the head scratching. Those disastrous outings have let South Carolina State back into the free-for-all. Only A&T, which has won four straight in this series, is guaranteed the Celebration Bowl bid by winning out.  

The Pick: North Carolina A&T

 

5. Alabama A&M (6-4, 3-2 SWAC) at Alcorn State (6-3, 4-1)

3 p.m., Saturday

Isn’t winning the SWAC East Division title a birthright at Alcorn State? The Braves are favored to make it six in a row, but Alabama A&M can move into first place with an upset. AAMU quarterback Aqeel Glass has shattered opposing defenses for four TD passes five times this season.

The Pick: Alcorn State

 

4. No. 6 Northern Iowa (7-3, 5-1 Missouri Valley) at No. 7 South Dakota State (7-3, 4-2)

3 p.m., Saturday

Wasn’t it just yesterday South Dakota State was on the verge of taking a late fourth-quarter lead on North Dakota State and setting up home-field advantage in the playoffs? The Jackrabbits aren’t the same team without quarterback J’Bore Gibbs (ACL tear). Cade Johnson, Pierre Strong Jr. and co. better get their offensive mojo back because UNI has allowed only two touchdowns in its last three MVFC games.

The Pick: South Dakota State

 

3. Robert Morris (6-4, 5-0 Northeast) at Central Connecticut State (9-1, 5-0)

Noon, Saturday

Robert Morris entered the season on a 14-game conference losing streak yet here are the upstart Colonials with a chance to clinch the NEC’s automatic bid. Make no mistake, though, they won’t have seven takeaways as they did against Duquesne last week. CCSU, behind efficient quarterback Aaron Winchester, has committed only nine turnovers in 10 games.

The Pick: Central Connecticut State

 

2. No. 3 Weber State (8-2, 6-0 Big Sky) at No. 5 Montana (8-2, 5-1)

3 p.m., Saturday

Hey, Griz fans, let’s just say your favorite team loses to Weber State and then to Montana State once again... Yeah, just foolin’, we know how starved you are for a playoff bid (and with beating the Bobcats). Here’s a chance for head coach Bobby Hauck’s squad to tie up the Big Sky race. The decibels at Washington-Grizzly Stadium could rival the Fargodome.

The Pick: Montana

 

1. No. 8 Furman (7-3, 6-1 Southern) at Wofford (6-3, 5-1)

1:30 p.m., Saturday

Since the start of November, Furman has switched from one redshirt freshman quarterback (Darren Grainger) to another (Hamp Sisson), but it may utilize both as it tries to wrap up the SoCon title. Wofford looks entirely different since its 0-2 start and has continuity behind center, where Joe Newman is about to play in his 40th career game. Both teams are top five in the FCS in rushing.

The Pick: Furman

 

Last Week’s Record: 6-4 (.600)

Season Record: 74-36 (.673)

 

— 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 Alcorn State Athletics)

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