TGIF! It's Week 9. Let's predict some scores.
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It's the final week of October, which means there are only four more weeks until the FCS playoffs are announced. Time flies when you're working toward an actual, real, merit-based playoff system. But hey, don't ask us — ask Mike Leach.
There are some big-time Week 9 games to pay attention to this weekend, including games with major seeding implications in the CAA and Missouri Valley, as well as a game that's very nearly a Patriot League de facto championship game.
On to our six featured games!
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Game of the Week: Towson at Delaware
Chase: Delaware 28, Towson 24
Towson is a serious CAA title contender and could be a seeded playoff team when its all said and done, but nobody is getting through the carnage of this CAA schedule unscathed. I think really highly of both Towson's offense and Delaware's defense, but to this point in the season, UD has been tested far more than Towson. I think early losses to Rhode Island and North Dakota State taught the Hens the sort of lessons you can only learn after losses, and they've looked like a far better team in October as a result. Give me Delaware's defense to get a late stop and really plunge this conference into true chaos.
Sam: Towson 31, Delaware 24
Delaware is on a roll since losing to NDSU, but this will be the toughest CAA test to date. Towson is the hotter team with its offense playing at a high level.
Brian: Delaware 28, Towson 20
I think Delaware is a team of destiny going forward. Sorta thought that in the preseason too. I think the NDSU loss was because of too many early errors in a tough place to play and it looks bad now. This team is different, and even a brutally tough Towson team can't take the Blue Hens down.
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Central Arkansas at McNeese
Chase: McNeese 17, Central Arkansas 14
McNeese got its wake-up call. I do think the Cowboys will play with more of a sense of urgency for the final month of the season now. Central Arkansas is talented, but it's also young. The McNeese defense wins the day.
Sam: McNeese 31, Central Arkansas 21
Really, nothing makes sense in the Southland anymore. Every team plays to its level of competition, making for a ton of upsets. This one has a lot on the line as far as the playoffs, and I think McNeese handles its business.
Brian: UCA 27, McNeese 24
I don't know what to think of McNeese this month. After a splendid September display, the Cowboys are barely afloat in October — while UCA has been arguably the most consistent Southland team at the top of the standings. The Bears' program knows how to win (ask 2017) and I think they slip in and do this.
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Weber State at North Dakota
Chase: Weber State 23, North Dakota 13
I do think Weber's offensive limitations could catch up with them one more time before the end of the regular season, but I'm not sure this is the spot to pick against the Wildcats.
Sam: North Dakota 17, Weber State 10
A lot of defense in this one. UND needs this win to improve its playoff resume and is playing lights out right now. The key is Weber's offense struggling to score points, and I think UND's offense can do just enough.
Brian: Weber State 23, North Dakota 14
Weber State plays the best defense in the Big Sky and this group keeps getting better and better as it aims for an FCS Playoff seed (sound familiar, paging 2017?). I still think both of these teams will make the FCS Playoffs, which is a testament to how UND has rebounded off a cursed injury-plagued 2017, but I think Weber State is one of the current/future monsters of FCS football. Well-coached, great defense … and great special teams. The complete package.
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Jacksonville State at Murray State
Chase: Jacksonville State 31, Murray State 10
This is a really terrible spot for Murray State, which maybe had a chance to ambush Jacksonville State before last week's SEMO blowout. The Gamecocks are smarting, they're more talented and they'll be hunting for a win.
Sam: Jacksonville State 38, Murray State 21
I really see the Gamecocks rolling in this. Their backs are against the wall for the first time in forever in the OVC standings. They know they need this one, or else the playoffs are a big question mark. This team will be ready to go.
Brian: Jacksonville State 35, Murray State 24
Jacksonville State laid an egg last week, but I don't think they'll do it two weeks in a row. Murray State controls its own destiny in the playoffs though, and the Racers have that as a rallying point. I think this game will be better than many JSU-MSU games in the past, but I think the Gamecocks are about to rally back into the playoff picture, and it starts this weekend.
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Georgetown at Colgate
Chase: Colgate 38, Georgetown 10
No one in the Patriot League is anywhere close to Colgate.
Sam: Colgate 35, Georgetown 21
Georgetown is the surprise of the Patriot League this year but isn't quite up to Colgate's level. Colgate is eyeing an undefeated season against FCS opponents and possibly earning a playoff seed.
Brian: Colgate 30, Georgetown 3
Georgetown is one helluva story this year, but Colgate is an even bigger story. The standings may proclaim this as a big game this weekend, but I think the Raiders handle this business like and continue to steam towards that Army matchup at season's end, which will require four hours, popcorn and a couple of cream sodas.
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South Dakota State at Illinois State
Chase: Illinois State 31, South Dakota State 13
The Redbirds are playing a home conference game in a conference where the home team wins an awful lot. South Dakota State ranks 61st in rush defense, and James Robinson ranks fifth in the FCS with 911 yards on the ground. Illinois State wins big.
Sam: SDSU 24, Illinois State 21
The Jacks are beaten up while Illinois State is getting healthier and getting more guys back. Everything points to a Redbirds victory, but I see SDSU pulling out a win here. The Jacks were looked at as the No. 2 team in the FCS last week at this time. I don't see two losses in a row happening.
Brian: ISU 28, SDSU 24
In the MVFC, home field is gold, So Illinois State is in a nice situation. If it were in Brookings, I would switch my pick, but I've been watching Valley football for years, and I know its patterns. Redbirds win, by the length of a straw.
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