TGIF! It's Week 12. Let's predict some scores.
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This is it. The final weekend of the regular season has more games with major playoff implications than we can remember. Given the magnitude of Saturday's games, we're predicting nearly a dozen games this week.
On to our ten featured games!
[divider]TRENDING NOW: Chris Klieman Joins the FCS Pod
THE BEST OF WEEK 11: Vote on The Best Play from Last Week
WEEK 12 MAILBAG: Which CAA Teams are In Line for Seeds?
THE FCS PLAYOFF PICTURE: We Update our Playoff Bracket Every Monday[divider]
Game of the Week: Jacksonville State v. Kennesaw State
Chase: Kennesaw State 24, Jacksonville State 14
For all the damping I've done on magnitude of this game, I do think it's a wildly intriguing matchup. JSU has players on the defensive line and at cornerback that Kennesaw just hasn't seen this season. I expect the Gamecocks to win a lot of 1-on-1 matchups and clog up Kennesaw's running game, leading to the most competitive game KSU has seen all year. In the end, I think the Owls will win, but it definitely won't look like the other games on the schedule. I expect a sloppy first half.
Sam: Kennesaw State 28, Jacksonville State 27
I really don't have a clue how this game will play out. KSU beat the Gamecocks last year in the playoffs, but this year's JSU team is much better. I've seen very good JSU, but I've also seen very, very bad JSU this season. So I'm going with the more consistent team by as little amount as points as possible.
Brian: Kennesaw State 17, Jacksonville State 14
This will be one of the better matchups of the season, and to KSU and JSU: Thank you for making this happen. You both could scheduled down, and instead you put your records to the test. This game is key because if JSU wins, it could earn a seed and KSU may also be a seed. If KSU wins, a seed for JSU is doubtful. Let's face it folks… this is a playoff game.
Elon at Maine
Chase: Maine 24, Elon 20
What a fascinating game in the CAA. Maine can win an outright title with a win here. Elon, because of its hurricane-cancelled game back in September, probably needs a win in this spot to make the playoffs. Both defenses are quite good. I think Elon plays the type of game that can really challenge Maine, but the difference is that Maine has more offensive balance with Chris Ferguson than Elon has with Jalen Greene.
Sam: Maine 31, Elon 14
Maine certainly knows what's at stake here in the CAA and the playoff seeding. Elon sure can make a hard decision for the committee if it gets a win. But I see Maine getting it done.
Brian: Maine 28, Elon 14
Anybody with a tad of compassion hates what injuries have done to Elon, a team that was clearly a seed midway through the year. But that's what injuries do. Maine has won three straight and will ride a fourth straight win into the playoffs, holding a seed and first-round bye.
[divider]MORE CAA: A Historically Wild CAA Finally Concludes This Weekend[divider]
Montana State at Montana
Chase: Montana State 31 Montana 30
I think Montana State is the more consistent team here, so I'll ride with the Bobcats in another tight rivalry game. In each of the last two years, this rivalry has been a one-possession game.
Sam: Montana 24, Montana State 21
This is a 50/50 game to me, but I'll lean toward Montana for three reasons. The Griz are playing at their best right now. I think they have the more complete quarterback. And I think the home-field advantage is good for a few points.
Brian: Montana State 30, Montana 28
Talk about a coinflip of a game. Who do you go with? The team that has played the tougher schedule (Montana State) or the home team that comes into the game after heaping 103 points on two teams on the road? I go with MSU here because of a more challenging schedule, but I honestly could see this going either way.
[divider]MORE FROM THIS GAME: Brawl of the Wild Could be a Play-In Game[divider]
Colgate at Army
Chase: Army 38, Colgate 10
Colgate's defense is very, very good; Colgate's defense will struggle to stop Army's run game. Both things can be true. I appreciate that fans want Colgate to give Army a game to validate the Raiders' undefeated record, but that just doesn't feel very likely to me. Colgate probably loses big here, but I still think it can come back next weekend and start a nice playoff run that reaches the second or third week of December.
Sam: Army 17, Colgate 10
If Colgate pulls the upset to finish undefeated and then earn a high playoff seed, it would not shock me. The defense is legit. I do think this will be a battle, but Army's depth advantage will take over.
Brian: Army 17, Colgate 16
Army will squeeze the clock, but Colgate will hold their own on defense. The point spread is being put at about 10 to 11 points in Army's favor, but I think it's going to be closer than that and the Raiders either scare the hell out of Army, or knock off the Black Knights on the Hudson.
[divider]MORE COLGATE: Brian Talks to Coach Hunt on the Pod[divider]
Duquesne at Central Connecticut State
Chase: Duquesne 35, Central Connecticut State 21
Duquesne is rolling, and the CCSU defense doesn't scare anyone this year.
Sam: Duquesne 21, Central Connecticut State 17
Duquesne is on a four-game winning streak and coming off a win against previously NEC-unbeaten Sacred Heart. That's a train that's going to keep rolling.
Brian: Duquesne 30, Central Connecticut State 21
Both these teams went out and challenged themselves out of conference, but the game that really jumped out to me was when Duquesne went all the way to Hawaii and gave an FBS team with a winning record fits for three quarters.
[divider]CHASE'S JULY PREDICTION: "Duquesne wins the league in dramatic fashion by earning revenge at CCSU in its regular-season finale."[divider]
Samford at East Tennessee State
Chase: East Tennessee State 28, Samford 24
Devlin Hodges breaks the NCAA passing record, but ETSU gets the win. Did I sound like Fred & George at the Quidditch World Cup there? Because that's totally what I was going for.
Sam: East Tennessee State 35, Samford 31
Samford is playing for pride right now. ETSU is playing for a conference title and an auto-bid into the playoffs. I think Samford has cooled off now that they know their playoff hopes are done. It's still going to be a great game, but ETSU comes out on top.
Brian: Samford 35, East Tennessee State 28
I'd contend that Samford, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois are the best three teams in the FCS that are aiming to finish 6-5 this weekend. On the flip side, ETSU should be locked into the playoffs with eight wins and are one of the top FCS stories of 2018 under coach Randy Sanders. This should be a good one.
[divider]MORE FROM THIS GAME: Hodges Can (and probably will) Catch McNair[divider]
Lamar at McNeese
Chase: Lamar 34, McNeese 20
Lamar has played the last month like it's the best team in the Southland. McNeese has played the last month like it's a club team only half-interested in winning. I don't think Lamar can sneak into the playoffs, based on the losses it took in the opening act of the 2018 season, but I do think they're the best team the SLC has to offer right now.
Sam: McNeese 31, Lamar 28
Both teams should feel a win puts them in at least the conversation for the playoffs. Trends show Lamar should win with them being on a five-game winning streak and the Cowboys losing two in a row. But this is familiar territory for McNeese and I think that'll help.
Brian: McNeese 28, Lamar 17
Lamar comes in playing red-hot with five straight victories and McNeese has lost three of its last four. But in keeping with the tradition of the Southland Conference in 2018, picking the 'unusual' sometimes in the best route, because this league has been full of parity this year, and these two teams are pretty good. I'm going with the home team here. The Cowboys are due for a good showing.
Weber State at Idaho State
Chase: Weber State 38, Idaho State 31
I totally see the path that Idaho State has to win this game. The Bengals are desperate for a win to get into the playoffs, and their offense is probably the most explosive attack Weber has seen all year. I'm very much giving ISU a chane here. However, these sling-it-around Big Sky teams are usually the one that Weber's contrarian approach dominates. I think Weber breaks it open late, and ISU gets a garbage time score to get it back within one score. In my opinion, Weber deserves the No. 2 seed if it wins this game.
Sam: Weber State 41, Idaho State 27
Don't get me wrong, I do think Idaho State can win this game. Being at home and playing for their playoff lives makes them a dangerous team that can light up the scoreboard. But Weber is also playing for a lot on the line, like a Top 4 seed. I expect that defense to come up big in big-time moments.
Brian: Weber State 35, Idaho State 24
Weber State comes in riding a five-game winning streak and Idaho State has struggled to win two of its last five. The Wildcats just seem to have found themselves and also seem destined to host a couple of playoff games with a nice high seed.
[divider]MORE FROM THIS GAME: Improved Offense Makes Weber a Scary Team[divider]
North Carolina A&T at North Carolina Central
Chase: North Carolina A&T 31, North Carolina Central 22
Like McNeese, I've been really unimpressed with how the Aggies have played over the last month and change. Still, A&T has way more to play for here, so I think they'll work their way to a win — even if it isn't pretty.
Sam: North Carolina A&T 35, North Carolina Central 21
NC A&T knows it has a playoff spot on the line with this game. The Aggies have suffered some bad conference losses this year, but this won't be one of them.
Brian: North Carolina A&T 35, North Carolina Central 14
The Aggies will obviously be keeping an eye on the Florida Classic on Saturday (FAMU vs. BCU) to see what their postseason fate will be. But they'd better not look past their in-state rivals like they did in 2016, when N.C. Central knocked them off. Will it be the Celebration Bowl or a shot at the FCS Playoffs? We'll know by Saturday night.
[divider]MORE PREDICTIONS: Duane Nash Offers HBCU Predictions for Week 12[divider]
James Madison at Towson
Chase: JMU 41, Towson 34
I don't think any of us understood in the preseason how gross the JMU Opponent Quarterback Aggregate would be in November. In consecutive weeks, the Dukes have had to face healthy Trevor Knight, healthy JaJuan Lawson and the ever-elite Tom Flacco — talk about a murderer's row. Despite the challenge, I do think JMU gets it done in this spot. The Houston/Kirkpatrick/DiNucci brain trust seems to be back on track. The Dukes play a dominant second half and get out of Maryland with a win.
Sam: Towson 31, JMU 24
I think JMU's defense is terrific. I've also seen it struggle when playing good quarterbacks. And Tom Flacco is going to be the best FCS quarterback they've seen so far this year. After two straight losses, Towson looked very good against an admittedly banged up Elon squad. But this is still the same Elon defense that held strong against JMU and the Tigers just scored 41 points on them. It's hard to doubt a Mike Houston team with its back against the wall. But my gut says Towson is going to be the better team on this day.
Brian: JMU 21, Towson 14
For some reason, I get the feeling James Madison is about to go on a run. Almost as if it has gotten something out of its system and is hungry to prove it is elite again. Towson, as it stands this week coming in (in my opinion), is a seed. This is no slouch opponent for the Dukes — and is what stands between a seed for JMU, or playing Thanksgiving week.
[divider]MORE JMU: Losses Might Actually be a Good Thing for the Dukes[divider]
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