It's Friday, so that means FCS games are right around the corner.
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Overall W/L Records:
No. 3 Weber State @ No. 6 Sacramento State
Brian: Sac State 21-14
Both of these teams are seedable … but only one can host this one, and Sac State is a more complete team, statistically, because it can throw the ball better than Weber State. Now, the Wildcats? They'll still be a massive player in the national picture, but this Hornets team is the story of the year heading into November. Based on everything we've seen so far, the Hornets win this — but it's going to be a battle. These are the best two defensive teams in the Big Sky.
Sam: Sac State 31-27
What a huge game this is for the Big Sky title race and the playoff seeds. Both teams have yet to lose to an FCS opponent. For me, I just like Sac State's team balance a bit more. The Hornets are playing great defense and can hurt you in multiple ways on offense. Weber obviously has a great defense and its rushing attack offensively is strong. One way to hurt Sac State is to air the ball out as the Hornets allow 249.3 passing yards per game to rank 84th in the FCS. But I'm not so sure the Wildcats will be able to do that. Sac State's defensive line is ferocious (4th in the FCS with 9.5 tackles for loss per game and 3rd with 4 sacks per game) and I think it can limit Weber's rushing offense.
RELATED: What's At Stake For Weber-Sac State?
No. 9 Northern Iowa @ No. 7 Illinois State
Brian: Ill. St. 20-17
Great defenses, great programs, what is the deciding factor here? Honestly? I think it's simple … these are two great programs and I think it comes down to the team that gets to host this one.
Sam: UNI 28-21
Playoff positioning is huge in this game with the winner being a potential seed. Illinois State has won three straight games since losing an ugly game to NDSU. The defense has played really well and the offense has done just enough. UNI has won two straight, scoring 42 and 29 points in those games. I like UNI's offense more in this matchup, which is the difference for me.
Austin Peay @ Eastern Kentucky
Brian: Austin Peay 34-28
In the preseason, I never could have or would have predicted this, but Coach Hudspeth has this Austin Peay program playing beyond (potentially) even what it did in 2017 when it went 8-4 and shocked everybody after ending a 29-game losing streak. This Govs program has the potential to win nine games this year and win the OVC. It controls its own destiny as we glide into November. But going up to Richmond, Ky., despite EKU's hiccups? It shouldn't be overlooked as a gimme win for APSU. Not in the least. This will be a biggie on the road for APSU.
Sam: Austin Peay 35-24
The race for the OVC title might get a little more clear with this result. APSU and EKU are 3-1 in the conference standings and 5-3 overall. Not only does the winner inch closer to an auto-bid, I think the loser is eliminated from playoff contention. EKU is coming off of a bye, but I like the momentum the Govs carry into this game coming off of a 58-21 win against Tennessee Tech.
No. 11 Villanova @ New Hampshire
Brian: Nova 21-14
This is hardly a gimme game for Villanova on the road. In fact, it is a massive statement game — for both sides. If 'Nova wins this one, the Wildcats continue their push to be a seed. If UNH wins this, which is beyond possible, the "other" Wildcats continue to build the case for an at-large bid. Welcome to a tossup, folks.
Sam: Nova 20-17
Both Nova and UNH have cooled off a bit. After winning four straight, UNH lost 16-10 to Delaware before a bye week last Saturday. Nova, once highly-ranked, has lost two straight and is now 6-2. I expect a classic black-and-blue style of game where one big play is the difference. I think Nova has that big-play guy in QB Daniel Smith.
No. 16 North Carolina A&T @ South Carolina State
Brian: NC A&T 24-21
With Florida A&M not available for postseason competition because of self-imposed sanctions, these kinds of games become big ones. The Aggies haven't been touched when it comes to winning MEAC titles since N.C. Central upset them in 2016. I don't think that dominance ends here, either — even though this is going to be a true brawl in Orangeburg.
Sam: NC A&T 34-20
Both teams are 3-1 in the MEAC and 5-2 overall. With FAMU (5-0 in the standings) not eligible for the conference championship or postseason, this game is huge for who earns a spot in the Celebration Bowl. NC A&T looked a little ticked off after its 34-31 OT loss to FAMU, defeating Howard 64-6 last week. While SC State's defense has been playing well these last two weeks, allowing 19 and 10 points, I think the Aggies roll here.
No. 13 Furman @ Chattanooga
Brian: Furman 27-21
As we said on the podcast (below), there's a reason we pick games like "this" for our picks contest. Furman is good, folks. But 'Nooga played the No. 2 toughest schedule in the FCS and also just lost by one point to Wofford on the road after winning three straight games. This is a big-time SoCon matchup that has playoff ramifications. Here we go, folks.
Sam: Chattanooga 28-27
Give me the upset here. A win by the Mocs would be fitting for the SoCon. Chattanooga showed it's one of the top teams in the conference with a 35-34 overtime loss to red-hot Wofford last week. And while Furman sits at 5-1 versus the FCS and is still vying for a playoff seed, this seems like the type of conference game that is costly for the SoCon in terms of playoff positioning.
Monmouth @ No. 5 Kennesaw State
Brian: Monmouth 35-31
We had a great discussion this week with Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan, and I'm convinced this may be the best Hawks team ever, honestly. The stability of this offense is key — these guys have been clicking for years now. Now, on the flip side, this team has also had its teeth kicked in several times consecutively by Kennesaw State — which has been the king of the Big South Conference since Charleston Southern began to transition and Liberty and Coastal Carolina moved on to the FBS. To me, this is Monmouth's opportunity … I think this is going to be an evenly matched contest and hell, I don't know exactly what will happen, but I'm willing to stick my neck out there and say that this is Monmouth's best team in the nearly 30 years of its existence.
Sam: Kennesaw 34-24
The stakes are huge in this one as this looks to be KSU's biggest FCS challenge of the regular season. A win here and the Owls look like a playoff seed. A loss and Monmouth is likely to get the Big South's auto-bid and Kennesaw falls to a first-round at-large team. This matchup all comes down to how well Monmouth can stop the run. The Hawks are 14th in the FCS with 104.5 rushing yards allowed per game. The Owls are No. 1 with 369.5 rushing yards a game. I don't think Monmouth is a Top 25 team in the FCS (just on the verge), but this can still be a statement game for KSU if it rolls to a win. I think it'll be a bit closer than a blowout, but the Owls are too talented to lose this one at home.
No. 22 Jacksonville State @ UT Martin
Brian: UT Martin 31-28
Jacksonville State may be "ranked" but I think the Gamecocks shouldn't be at this point. At the same time, I don't think any OVC program would be wise to dismiss this program as "over the hill." UT Martin has been a program that historically has NOT wilted under the JSU pressure. I think this year the Skyhawks continue to do what they always do under Jason Simpson … they stun people.
Sam: UT Martin 21-17
Frankly, I'm very surprised JSU is still being ranked and it seems a lot of its fans agree with me. UT Martin is 4-1 in the OVC standings and 5-3 overall. JSU is 3-2 and 6-3 overall. This is a must-win for JSU to keep its playoffs hopes alive, whether that be as an auto-bid or at-large bid. While the Gamecocks have a solid record, they have skated by against weaker opponents. To me, UT Martin has just shown it's a better overall football team in 2019.
Drake @ San Diego
Brian: USD 38-17
Drake and San Diego may be tied atop of the Pioneer League, but I don't think these two programs are on the same level. To me, this smells like a blowout, even though Drake is going to finish with a nice winning record by Thanksgiving.
Sam: USD 31-20
This one probably decides who's making the playoffs as USD and Drake are both 4-0 in the Pioneer Football League standings. The next-best record in the conference is 2-2. Drake plays solid defense, allowing 20.3 points per game. But this Toreros offense is just rolling right now, scoring 31, 37, 42 and 50 points in the four PFL games. San Diego is still just too much for conference foes.
RELATED: SoCon Week 10 Picks
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Listen to this week's episode of B-Mac and Herd's FCS Podcast, which is also available on iTunes, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher and Spreaker.
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