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FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 4

UC Davis.JPG

Last week's FCS predictions got snatched by the aliens in the Twilight Zone. If we don't start to predict the games better, Athlon editors will be storming our office with more gusto than Area 51.

But give us the benefit of the doubt. We'll find our lost crystal ball. We promise. At least we hope. Oh boy, we hope.

The FCS games of the week also are often toss-ups, so it's not like we’re predicting easy games like ETSU over VMI (oh, yeah, we got that one wrong, too).

Here's a countdown of the 10 best games of Week 4:

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

10. Holy Cross (1-1) at Yale (0-0)

1 p.m., Saturday

A bye after its win over New Hampshire afforded Holy Cross an extra week to prepare for Yale. That sounds great until you realize the Ivy League favorite has had an entire offseason to prepare for the Crusaders. Yale has a 28-5 lead in a series that began in 1903.

The Pick: Yale

9. UIW (1-1, 0-0 Southland) at Sam Houston State (1-2, 0-0)

7 p.m., Saturday

We're accustomed to Sam Houston State having the most explosive quarterback on the field in a Southland matchup, but UIW's Jon Copeland, the conference's 2018 freshman of the year, has changed that. The Bearkats hope two quarterbacks (Eric Schmid and Ty Brock) will be better than one.

The Pick: Sam Houston State

8. No. 21 Elon (2-1) at Wake Forest (3-0)

12 p.m., Saturday

The drive between these two schools is just under an hour and even game-day traffic may not hamper that because nothing is bogging down at Elon games. The Phoenix have scored touchdowns on nine of 10 red-zone opportunities and so has the opposition. Let the scoring begin.

Pick: Wake Forest

7. Southern (1-2) at Florida A&M (1-1)

6 p.m., Saturday

This game is like a late matchup in the MEAC-SWAC Challenge or any early Celebration Bowl (scratch that, Florida A&M isn't eligible for the postseason). The point is, resuming one of the oldest non-conference rivalries among HBCUs is a win for all involved. FAMU holds a 33-26-1 series lead heading into their first meeting since 2012.

The Pick: Southern

6. No. 11 Central Arkansas (3-0) at Hawaii (2-1)

Midnight, Saturday

With all of our wrong predictions, we could flub this one and it may not get noticed given the late start time. Like Southern Illinois (at Arkansas State) this week, UCA is seeking to collect its second FBS win of the season. Running back Carlos Blackman has rushed for, caught and thrown touchdowns in the unbeaten start, but the Bears rank last in the FCS in rushing yards per game (33).

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The Pick: Hawaii

5. Monmouth (2-1) at No. 17 Montana (2-1)

3 p.m., Saturday

Monmouth seeks to run the ball with Pete Guerriero (his 131 rushing yards per game are No. 2 in the FCS), while new Montana all-time receptions leader Jerry Louie-McGhee plus fellow wideouts Samiel Akem and Samori Toure will spread out their New Jersey visitors. This is a must-have game for the Griz.

The Pick: Montana

4. No. 2 James Madison (2-1) at Chattanooga (1-2)

4 p.m., Saturday

This opponent makes for a refreshing change with the Dukes because they've won their last 10 FCS non-conference regular-season games (since 2015) by an average of nearly 47 points. It's the first meeting between the programs, but the Dukes have been to Finley Stadium before, winning the 2004 FCS championship game over Montana.

The Pick: James Madison

3. Northern Arizona (2-1) at No. 12 Illinois State (2-1)

7:30 p.m., Saturday

Illinois State All-America running back James Robinson is starting to look unstoppable, but NAU quarterback Case Cookus was just that in a Big Sky-MVFC Challenge win over the Redbirds in 2017, throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns.

The Pick: Illinois State

2. No. 19 Villanova (3-0, 0-0 CAA) at No. 4 Towson (3-0, 1-0)

6 p.m., Saturday

The jury's still out on Villanova considering it's yet to beat a team with a win (courtesy of three 0-3 Patriot League opponents). But the Wildcats have a pretty nifty dual-threat quarterback, Daniel Smith (11 total TDs), to match the dynamic Tom Flacco of Towson. Sadly for Towson, running back Shane Simpson, who ranked No. 2 in the FCS in all-purpose yards per game in 2018, has been lost to a season-ending knee injury.

The Pick: Towson

1. No. 5 UC Davis (2-1) at No. 1 North Dakota State (3-0)

3 p.m., Saturday

This is the FCS non-conference game of the year. A Bison win would give them sole possession of the third-longest winning streak in subdivision history (they're tied with two others at 24). Standing in their way is Aggies All-America QB Jake Maier, who picked apart Lehigh last week to improve to 10-1 in his career when passing for at least 350 yards.

The Pick: North Dakota State

Last Week’s Record: 3-7 (.300)

Season Record: 18-13 (.581)

— 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 of UC Davis Athletics)