Alright, now that the majority of us are done with our annual beat downs of the FBS its time for the real season to start. Montana vs. NDSU EWU vs Montana State UNI vs NoCo JMU vs Nova UNH vs Richmond Wofford GWU going to learn a lot about several teams around FCS this weekend.
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X Delaware 10-1 7-1 – I’m not even going to try to work out tiebreakers. Delaware comes back strong.
X William and Mary 9-2 7-1 – The Tribe have another great season.
X New Hampshire 9-2 7-1 – UNH continues to stretch its playoff appearances.
Y Villanova 9-2 6-2 – Defending champion returns to defend the throne.
UMass 5-6 4-4 – Things just aren’t right in Amherst.
Richmond 5-6 4-4 – CAA is tough and the Spiders just have to get things back on course.
James Madison 5-6 3-5 – The Dukes just can’t turn the corner.
Towson 2-9 1-7 – Same old for the Tigers.
Maine 3-8 1-7 – Another rough year for Maine. Tough schedule and the CAA is strong.
Rhode Island 1-10 0-8 – Maybe the PL or NEC would be a better fit?
Rob Weiss, FCS Update
1. Richmond Spiders at Maine Black Bears
Richmond will be too much for an up and down Maine team.The Spiders continue the longest winning streak in FCS football.
Richmond 38 Maine 17
2. Northern Iowa Panthers vs. 5. Southern Illinois Salukis
Another classic MVFC battle in Cedar Falls. Last Saluki win in the UNI-Dome was 1983. I think the streak continues.
Northern Iowa 38 Southern Illinois 35
3. New Hampshire Wildcats at 20. Massachusetts Minutemen
New Hampshire is riding high off of a Homecoming victory over a highly ranked Villanova squad. Massachusetts is on the other end of the spectrum after a blowout loss to Delaware. Massachusetts is looking for a Homecoming win of their own, but they come up just short.
New Hampshire 27 Massachusetts 21
4. Montana Grizzlies vs. 21. Eastern Washington Eagles
The Griz take on their 2nd Top 25 opponent in a row. EWU comes into the game with a high powered offense. The Griz have shown they can win close games and I think they’ll pull out another win.
Montana 35 Eastern Washington 28
5. Southern Illinois Salukis at 2. Northern Iowa Panthers
see 2. Northern Iowa Panthers
6. Villanova Wildcats at 19. James Madison Dukes
Villanova is on the road against a ranked team for the 2nd week in a row. Last weekend they couldn’t get past an undefeated New Hampshire squad. James Madison almost took down defending champion, Richmond. JMU is at home and due for the big win.
James Madison 24 Villanova 20
7. William & Mary Tribe BYE
8. Elon Phoenix BYE
9. Central Arkansas Bears vs. 16. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Easily the game of the week in the Southland Conference, this game has a lot riding on the line. Central Arkansas looks to continue it’s dominance of the SLC and prove that they deserve a Top 10 ranking, while SFA looks to prove that they are back and plan to contend for the automatic bid to the playoffs. Central Arkansas is too tough at home.
Central Arkansas 34 Stephen F. Austin 31
10. Appalachian State Mountaineers at Wofford Terriers
After an 0-2 start, the Mountaineers have won 3 straight. Wofford is down after a lot of injuries have hurt depth. The hurt continues for Wofford.
Appalachian State 35 Wofford 10
11. South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. North Dakota State Bison
The Jackrabbits are riding high. Still undefeated in conference play heading into a tough stretch against NDSU and UNI. The Bison are off to one of their worst starts in years. One win on the year, big loss at home to UNI last week, and no Pat Paschall this week for the Bison. Jacks keep the Dakota Marker for the 3rd year in a row.
South Dakota State 35 North Dakota State 17
12. Jacksonville State Gamecocks BYE
13. South Carolina State Bulldogs vs. 22. Florida A&M Rattlers
Both teams are riding high. Each is 4-1 and 2-0 in the MEAC. Bulldogs have big game experience and homefield advantage. (read the full breakdown of this game on the FCS Update blog)
South Carolina State 24 Florida A&M 14
14. Weber State Wildcats vs Sacremento State Hornets
Weber State bounced back from their first conference loss last week with an 18-point win over Eastern Washington. Sacremento State has won two straight. The Hornets streak comes to an end.
Weber State 24 Sacremento State 14
15. McNeese State Cowboys vs. Northwestern State Demons
McNeese State took a hit to their playoff hopes last week, losing their first SLC game of the season to Stephen F Austin. The Cowboys look to roll over winless Northwestern State to get their playoff train back on track.
McNeese 38 Northwestern State 7
16. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at 9. Central Arkansas Bears
see 9. Central Arkansas Bears
17. Cal Poly Mustangs
Cal Poly comes home after losing to Montana last week. Southern Utah is much improved with 2 FBS losses and a close loss to 24. Northern Arizona. I think SUU pulls the upset.
Southern Utah 24 Cal Poly 21
18. Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens at Towson Tigers
Delaware looks to claw it’s way back into the CAA race, as well as make a case for an at-large bid. Towson’s looking to turn things around. It’ll be a little longer Tiger fans.
Delaware 35 Towson 13
19. James Madison Dukes vs. 6. Villanova Wildcats
See 6. Villanova Wildcats
20. Massachusetts Minutemen vs. 3. New Hampshire Wildcats
See 3. New Hampshire Wildcats
21. Eastern Washington Eagles at 4. Montana Grizzlies
See 4. Montana Grizzlies
22. Florida A&M Rattlers at 13. South Carolina State Bulldogs
See 13. South Carolina State Bulldogs
23. Colgate Raiders vs. Georgetown
Colgate stays undefeated, Georgetown stays winless.
Colgate 28 Georgetown 3
24. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Portland State Vikings
Northern Arizona looks to prove they belong in the Top 25. Portland State looks to get on the winning track. Lumberjacks prove themselves.
Northern Arizona 38 Portland State 14
25. Furman Paladins vs. Samford Bulldogs
Samford is on the edge of falling out of the playoff hunt. Furman isn’t too far behind. The Paladins need to win this one. but they won’t.
Samford 24 Furman 17
……and hack away at it.
Rob Weiss, FCS Update
Crazy day in the Top 25. I had the opportunity to watch four games today. Here’s a rundown on my predictions, how it went down, and what I thought of the outcome.
1. Richmond is idle.
2. Villanova vs. No. 4 William and Mary
My prediction: William and Mary 24 Villanova 21
Reality: Villanova 28 William and Mary 17
William and Mary just didn’t really seem like they were ready to play in the first half. The Tribe’s QB, R.J. Archer had enough problems on his own. He ooked like he lacked the necessary confidence to make the plays he needed to. When it wasn’t the offense stalling, it was the defense making errors. One Villanova drive was extended by an unsportsmanlike conduct flag on a defensive player who felt the need to taunt and injured played who had just been rocked on a hard hit.
The Tribe went into halftime down 21-6, but back ready to play in the 2nd half. It was just too little, too late for the Tribe.
Villanova on the other hand looked like the best team in the country. Easily #1 in my mind. The Villanova offense, led by QB Chris Whitney, was very balanced with148 yards on the ground and 169 through the air. The only issue I saw was the defense. The Wildcats defense gave 472 yards, but managed to keep the Tribe to 17 points. The Tribe’s first drive was ended by an INT in a goalline situation. Had that play gone differently, we may have seen a different game.
Was very thankful for the invention of DVR. Was great to come back and watch this game on Versus.
3. Northern Iowa vs. Indiana State
My prediction: Northern Iowa 52 Indiana State 7
Reality: Northern Iowa 62 Indiana State 7
I called this one pretty closely. Northern Iowa was ahead 42-0 at the half. All of starters on offense andmost of the starters on defense sat out the entire second half. Indiana State had a 12 yard scoring drive after a UNI fumble. Indiana State was held to 101 yards of total offense. Not too much to say about this game. One highlight was UNI FB Matt Strathman, a junior, who led the Panthers with 133 yards on 16 carries.
5. Montana is idle.
6. New Hampshire vs. Towson
My prediction: New Hampshire 28 Towson 10
Reality: New Hampshire 57 Towson 7
Man, I was a little short on New Hampshire scoring. The Wildcats beat my prediction in the 1st quarter. The Wildcats were without junior QB R.J. Toman, but still managed to put an old fashioned whopping on the Tigers. The offense was assisted by a safety, a TD on the ensuing kick return, and 2 INTs returned for a TD.
7. James Madison vs. Hofstra
My Prediction: James Madison 38 Hofstra 7
Reality: Hofstra 24 James Madison 17
Wow. This game threw me for a loop. I couldn’t believe it as I checked the game throughout the afternoon. I thought ESPN had gotten it wrong like they do at times. Although this game was effected by weather(lightning delay in the first half), good teams find ways to win games.
Hofstra lead 21-10 at the half, and neither team could muster much offense in the 2nd half. This is James Madison’s first lost since falling to Maryland in OT.
8. Southern Illinois vs. Western Illinois
My Prediction: Southern Illinois 31 Western Illinois 14
Reality:Southern Illinois 30 Western Illinois 10
This is one of the games I got to catch a bit of. When I turned the game on at halftime SIU was up 27-10. From watching Western Illinois twice this season, it’s easy for me to say the WIU is not very good. Their starting QB Barr went down, and I watched his back-up pick apart the SIU defense. Unfortunately, a lot of those passes were dropped by WRs. I mean, he hit them right in the hands. It was sad really. WIU does not have a defense, so it was hard to gauge SIU. Saluki running back Deji Karim went nuts tonight. 157 yards rushing on 18 carries with 282 all purpose yards. The Saluki’s first big test of the season comes against Northern Iowa on 10/17 in a game that as of late has decided the Valley autobid.
9. McNeese St is idle
10. Appalachian State vs. The Citadel
My prediction: Appalachian State 42 The Citadel 24
Reality: Appalachian State 30 The Citadel 27 OT
I was a little off on this game. Barely got the outcome right. It was a hard fought game, back and forth all day, but when it came to the end, The Citadel just couldn’t finish what they started. After taking a 27-20 lead with 5:18 remaining, the Bulldog defense gave up the game tying score on just 2 plays, the 2nd of which was a 74 yard TD strike from Armanti Edwards to Brian Quick. Each team had the ball one more time in regulation, but couldn’t score. In overtime, The Citadel had the ball first, and after 3 plays attempted a 37 yard FG on 4th and 5. A bad snap was eventually placed and the kick sailed right. Appalachian State would connect on a 29 yard FG to win.
11. Elon vs. No. 21 Furman
My Prediction: Elon 28 Furman 24
Reality: Elon 19 Furman 12
I was right when I assumed we were in for a good SoCon battle in this game. The game was a low scoring, back and forth, affair all afternoon. Elon kicked a FG with 2 seconds left to take the lead 13-12. Furman fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Elon recovered to make it a 19-12 final.
12. Central Arkansas vs Missouri S&T
My prediction: Central Arkansas 52 Missouri S&T 10
Reality: Central Arkansas 45 Missouri S&T 10
I was close on this one. UCA pulls out the sub D-I win.
13. Weber St. vs. Montana State
My Prediction: Weber State 31 Montana State 14
Reality: Montana State 26 Weber State 21
It was a last play heart breaker today in Ogden, UT. Weber State had the ball on the Montana State 1 yard line with 20 seconds left. 4th and goal. The Bobcat defense stopped a Wildcat formation option play, and that was the game.
I can’t decide if I’m overestimating Weber State, or underestimating Montana State. I thought Weber State was overrated coming into this game, but I also thought Montana State wasn’t that good.
14. South Dakota State vs. No. 17 Cal Poly
My Prediction: South Dakota State 35 Cal Poly 17
Reality: Cal Poly 21 South Dakota State 14
I forked over the $7 to watch this game online tonight. This was a match up between two teams that I couldn’t figure out. But I’m not sure I learned much of anything. The Jackrabbits of SDSU lost their starting QB early in the game. After he was out they brought in a back-up freshman QB and also ran the wildcat formation. Neither team looked that great.
Cal Poly took a 21-14 lead with about 2 minutes left in the game when the Jackrabbits fumbles into their own endzone. On the following drive the Cal Poly defense sealed the win with an interception.
So are both teams for real? Neither of them? I’m not positive. My evaluation says they both fall somewhere between 17-25 in the poll.
15. Massachusetts is idle.
16. South Carolina State vs. South Carolina
My prediction: South Carolina 52 South Carolina State 14
Reality: South Carolina 38 South Carolina State 14
Not a bad showing by S.C. State, but this was their only shot at a quality out of conference win. I was pretty close on this one.
18. Eastern Washington vs. Idaho State
My prediction: Eastern Washington 27 Idaho State 7
Reality: Eastern Washington 38 Idaho State 3
A little off on the score, but it was the same idea.
Idaho State just looks terrible this year. They are winless on the season and have lost 20 out of their last 21 games.
Taiwan Jones of EWU set a Holt Arena and EWU record with a 96 yard touchdown run.
Idaho State fumbled six times, losing three of them.
You get the idea….
19. Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 24 Eastern Illinois
My prediction: Eastern Kentucky 35 Eastern Illinois 10
Reality: Eastern Kentucky 36 Eastern Illinois 31
EIU played this much closer than I expected. The Panthers, led by Iowa-transfer QB Jake Christensen, came up just short. EKU’s Jeremy Caldwell forced a fumble at midfield with under 10 seconds left.
With Jacksonville State ineligible for the playoffs, I viewed this as the autobid for the OVC. EKU improves to 3-0 in the Ohio Valley.
20. Texas State vs. Southern Utah
My prediction: Southern Utah 24 Texas State 14
Reality: Southern Utah 38 Texas State 16
This was the game I got the most comments on. Everyone said I was crazy for thinking Texas State would only score 14. If anything, I was crazy for shorting the Southern Utah offense. The Thunderbird offense put up 31 points. The other 7? A 99 yard fumble return for a TD. Maybe I should thank SUU’s junior CB Akeem Anifowoshe for keeping the Bobcats out of the end zone.
22. Holy Cross vs. Northeastern
My prediction: Holy Cross 31 Northeastern 7
Reality: Holy Cross 42 Northeastern 21
This game was over even sooner than I thought. Holy Cross led 21-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. Only suprise was Holy Cross allowing Northeastern to score 14 in the 4th quarter. But hey, you gotta throw people a bone sometimes.
23. Jacksonville State vs. Tennessee Martin
My prediction: Jacksonville State 21 Tennessee Martin 10
Reality: Jacksonville State 52 Tennessee Martin 7
Holy smokes, Jax State is good this year! Too bad they won’t be playing Thanksgiving weekend. JSU is one of a few schools ineligible for the playoffs this year. Unfortunately the NCAA dropped a ban on them after poor historical performance in the APRs.
JSU defensive back had 3 INTs and returned 2 for TDs in the first nine minutes. This game was over quick.
25. Delaware vs. Maine
My prediction: Delaware 24 Maine 17
Reality: Delaware 27 Maine 17
This was a great pick. If only Delaware had missed their last FG.
Delaware had a rough 2008, and 2009 hasn’t been much better. The Blue Hens lost to reigning national champion, Richmond by one, and then the next week lost another close one to William and Mary. This win gets them back on the road to where they want to go.
Penn State transfer QB Pat Devlin threw for 329 yards and 1 TD in the Delaware win.
My record this week: 13-4
On the season: 13-4
Rob Weiss, FCS Update:
The CAA has come out strong. So strong that the top teams in the conference have a combined four FBS wins. Those teams have also combined for a 15-0 record and are receiving at least one vote in one of the three major polls.
This week is the first chance we have to start sorting things out at the top.
Saturday at 3:30pm EST, William and Marywill take the field at Villanova Stadium against the Wildcats.
William and Mary comes into the game with quite the resume. The Tribe opened the season with a big 26-14 win over in-state FBS rival, Virginia. They have followed that up with three straight FCS wins, including a win over Delaware. Although Delaware isn’t “back”, they appear to be much improved from last year’s miserable 4-8 campaign.
Villanova has continued last year’s success that took them to the quarterfinals in the FCS playoffs. They have rattled off four straight wins, including a last second win over crosstown FBS rival Temple in a game that was played at the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field.
Both teams come into the game 1-0 in the CAA. The only team with a better record in the CAA is Richmond at 2-0. Richmond has a bye this week.
The big debate in the Northeast is: Should the winner of the Villanova-William and Mary clash overtake Richmond as the number one team in FCS football?
In this writers opinion, yes. Those of you who have read my previous article about the polls have seen my thought process on the polls. I don’t care who last year’s champion was. I am voting for the best teams in 2009. I think that an argument can be made for five or six teams to be number one, but the winner of this game will have the most quality wins of any of the teams involved. No one else would have a FBS win and FCS Top 5 win.
Villanova follows up this game by heading to New Hampshire and James Madison. William and Mary plays Northeastern, has a bye week, and then has James Madison at home.
In the end, everything will be sorted out. Most of the top CAA teams face each other this year with a few exceptions. William and Mary and Villanova avoid Massachusetts, while New Hampshire dodges Richmond and James Madison.