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FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 8

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 8

FCS Football: Predictions for the Best 10 Games in Week 8

Missouri Valley Football Conference, we love you — you've been the best FCS conference this decade.

Big Sky, CAA Football, you're up there competing for the top spot, too.

But give up a little room to the other conferences this week because the FCS schedule is as much about them.

Here's a countdown of the 10 best FCS games in Week 8:

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

10. Lehigh (2-3, 1-0 Patriot) at Fordham (3-4, 1-0)

1 p.m., Saturday

In head coach Tom Gilmore's first season, the Lehigh defense has shaved nearly 100 yards and more than 13 points per game off last year's averages, and it's even more compared to the 2017 season. The numbers should go even lower during the Patriot League schedule. Rams quarterback Tim DeMorat will be on the move against the Mountain Hawks' pass rush.

The Pick: Lehigh

9. Harvard (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) at Holy Cross (3-3, 1-0 Patriot)

1 p.m. Saturday

Nobody quite wants out-of-conference games at this point of the season, but if you're going to have one, a regional rivalry is the way to go. Harvard won last season on Jake McIntyre's game-ending field goal. Maybe Holy Cross should go for it on fourth downs because the Crimson have an FCS-high four blocked punts in only four games.

The Pick: Harvard

8. No. 22 New Hampshire (4-2, 3-0 CAA) at Delaware (3-3, 1-1)

1 p.m., Saturday

UNH interim head coach Ricky Santos, the 2006 Walter Payton Award winner, was all about offense during his thrilling career, but the Wildcats have forged a four-game winning streak with defense. No FCS team with a winning record is scoring less than their 20.5-point average.

The Pick: New Hampshire

7. Duquesne (3-2, 1-0 Northeast) at Sacred Heart (3-3, 1-1)

Noon, Saturday

A year after being first in the NEC against the pass, Sacred Heart sits at the bottom of the rankings. The last thing the Pioneers need is for Duquesne quarterback Daniel Parr to find passing space because running back A.J. Hines already will be powering right at them in a matchup of last year's co-champs.

The Pick: Duquesne

6. The Citadel (3-4, 1-2 Southern) at No. 7 Furman (4-2, 3-0)

1 p.m., Saturday

The longest active SoCon rivalry renews for the 99th time. The Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey has accounted for 21 touchdowns as one of the guttier players around, but Furman has one of the better teams around. The Paladins have handled three SoCon opponents by a combined 110-34.

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The Pick: Furman

5. Southeast Missouri (3-3, 1-1 Ohio Valley) at No. 18 Jacksonville State (5-2, 2-1)

4 p.m., Saturday

Remember when SEMO ended Jacksonville State's 36-game OVC winning streak last October? The Gamecocks haven't forgotten. Both have lost to Austin Peay already, so this may be survival day. Give head coach John Grass' up-and-down team the edge considering it's won 32 in a row at Burgess-Snow Field.

The Pick: Jacksonville State

4. Northern Arizona (3-3, 1-1 Big Sky) at No. 4 Weber State (4-2, 2-0)

4 p.m., Saturday

When an underdog team has Case Cookus (92 TD passes in 35 career games) at the controls, it always has a shot for an upset. Much like New Hampshire and its defensive dominance, Weber State is averaging the fewest offensive yards per game (290.3) of any FCS team with a winning record. At some point, it's going to catch up to the Wildcats.

The Pick: Weber State

3. No. 9 Nicholls (4-2, 3-0 Southland) at Sam Houston State (4-3, 3-1)

3 p.m., Saturday

Nicholls is the only Southland team without a conference loss, but by the way teams have been bunched in the standings the last two seasons, it surely means Sam Houston will bounce back from a triple-overtime defeat. Don't tell that to 2018 Southland offensive player of the year Chase Fourcade, who is playing at a high level for the Colonels. They're primed to hand the Bearkats their first back-to-back home losses since they lost three in a row over the 2008 and '09 seasons.

The Pick: Nicholls

2. No. 12 North Carolina A&T (4-1, 2-0 MEAC) at Florida A&M (5-1, 3-0)

2 p.m., Sunday

This game, pushed back to Sunday due to Tropical Storm Nestor, basically could be considered the best in the FCS this week, but Florida A&M's postseason ineligibility gnaws enough to drop it a spot. FAMU won at North Carolina A&T last season, and this year's team keeps finding ways to win close games. Aggies running back Jah-Maine Martin has rushed for 606 yards and nine touchdowns in his last three games, and his legs are rested after a bye week.

The Pick: North Carolina A&T

1. No. 6 Montana (5-1, 2-0 Big Sky) at No. 10 Sacramento State (4-2, 2-0)

9:05 p.m., Saturday

Both teams rank in the top 10 in the FCS in scoring, and quarterbacks Dalton Sneed of Montana and Kevin Thomson of Sacramento State are fourth and seventh, respectively, in total offense. To say, they'll slug back and forth up and down the field is an understatement. One of the defenses will have the final say, and Griz linebacker Dante Olson is usually involved.

The Pick: Montana

Last Week's Record: 7-3 (.700)

Season Record: 50-20 (.714)

— 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 Nicholls Athletics)