Chance for more conference titles and playoff bids highlight schedule
With only two full weekends remaining in the FCS regular season, it’s time for the better teams to stand up, pound their chests and win their games.
That doesn’t always happen. The winning, that is. Everybody talks a good game.
There’s little margin for error for teams looking to win conference titles and/or earn bids to the FCS playoffs, so this week’s games of the week come with an instinctive statement why the predicted winner is the better team.
Here are this week’s FCS games of the week:
Note: All times ET
Saturday, Nov. 10
No. 20 Towson (6-3, 4-2 CAA) at No. 7 Elon (6-2, 4-1), noon
Both teams have been playing tight games in a tight CAA race. With quarterback Tom Flacco, Towson is more equipped if it has to come from behind.
No. 2 Kennesaw State (8-1, 3-0 Big South) at Monmouth (7-2, 2-0), noon
Kennesaw State has the No. 2 rushing attack in the FCS, but it also has a defense which features end Desmond Johnson and linebackers Bryson Armstrong and Anthony Gore Jr. It completes a sweep through the Big South for the second straight year.
Pick: Kennesaw State
No. 16 Southeast Missouri (7-2, 5-1 Ohio Valley) at Murray State (4-5, 4-2), noon
Southeast Missouri has been going forward and Murray State backward. The Redhawks have a balanced offense and likely the OVC defensive player of the year in linebacker Zach Hall.
Pick: Southeast Missouri
No. 15 Northern Iowa (5-4, 4-2 Missouri Valley) at Youngstown State (3-6, 2-4) noon
If Northern Iowa rallies to make the playoffs, everybody will look to it as the dark horse. The physical Panthers are the better team; they just have to win more often on the road (2-3).
Pick: Northern Iowa
No. 14 Princeton (8-0, 5-0 Ivy) at Yale (5-3, 3-2), 12:30 p.m.
Yale freshman QB Griffin O’Connor was spectacular in his debut last weekend, but the names leading the offense are no longer the ones expected in the preseason. Princeton still has John Lovett, Jesper Horsted and Co. pointing the way.
No. 9 Delaware (7-2, 5-1 CAA) at No. 12 Stony Brook (6-3, 4-2), 1 p.m.
It hurts just to think about the defensive talent that will be on the field. Stony Brook has had an extra week of preparation to remind themselves the Blue Hens slipped off Long Island with a win last year.
Pick: Stony Brook
Sacred Heart (6-3, 4-0 Northeast) at Duquesne (6-3, 3-1), 1 p.m.
Two of Duquesne’s three losses are to FBS programs, but Sacred Heart has more signature conference wins, including at defending champion Central Connecticut State. If the Pioneers land another one, they’ll claim a spot in the playoffs.
Pick: Sacred Heart
No. 22 Samford (5-4, 4-2 Southern) at The Citadel (3-5, 3-4), 2 p.m.
The visiting Bulldogs can see the SoCon’s automatic bid at the finish line. All-everything quarterback Devlin Hodges keeps the possibility alive.
UIW (5-4, 5-2 Southland) at Central Arkansas (5-4, 4-3), 4 p.m.
In the Southland Conference, it seems like the playoff selection committee will be looking for teams with the fewest warts on their resume (Bueller, Bueller...). UIW freshman quarterback Jon Copeland has been a difference-maker and a late candidate for conference offensive player of the year.
No. 4 UC Davis (8-1, 6-0 Big Sky) at No. 6 Eastern Washington (7-2, 5-1), 4:05 p.m.
UC Davis has played more like a typical Eastern Washington team than Eastern Washington has this season. That usually adds up to a win.
Pick: UC Davis
Last Week’s Record: 6-4 (.600)
Season Record: 72-36 (.667)
— 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 Kennesaw State Athletics)