So far on the season I have gone 21-7 on my predictions. But this week will be a difficult one to predict. There are a lot of games with evenly matched teams. Let’s take a look:
Saturday, Sept 22
12:00PM Furman @ Presbyterian
Presbyterian is the smallest D-I football playing school in the NCAA (Enrollment: 1,200). I’m not sure what their mascot the “Blue Hose” is all about. With their schedule so far it’s hard to know what their football team is all about either.
First they annihilated D-II Brevard 45-10, then they got annihilated by 2 FBS teams. First Georgia Tech beat them 59-3 and then Vanderbilt got them 58-0. None of that was unexpected. Meanwhile, Furman is winless but lost to Coastal Carolina and Samford by a combined 5 points. Furman may struggle early but I think they pull away comfortably by the end.
Viewing Options: TV – CSS / ESPN3
Prediction: Furman 38 / Presbyterian 21
3:30PM East Carolina @ North Carolina
ECU got a decent win last week at Southern Miss but were manhandled the week before at South Carolina. UNC’s only win came against Elon in their opener. Since then they lost to a lousy Wake Forest team 28-27 and Louisville 39-34.
It’s games like this where you can throw records out the window. Both teams want this win. I think ECU might be a better team, but UNC needs it more and has the homefield advantage.
Viewing Options: TV – ESPNU
Prediction: ECU 21 / UNC 28
3:30PM Northern Arizona @ #14 Montana
Northern Arizona pulled off an FBS upset over UNLV 17-14, only 1 game after getting demolished by Arizona State 63-6. Their special team play is excellent, they rank 2nd in the country in both punts and punt returns. They prefer to keep it on the ground and don’t put up a lot of yards. But they do rank 31st in the nation in scoring offense. Both teams struggle with turnovers and that will likely decide the game. I think Northern Arizona is a good team, but Montana matches up well against them with one of the best rushing defenses in the country.
Viewing Options: TV – Root Sports / DirecTV Audience Channel
Prediction: Northern Arizona 17 / Montana 28
3:30PM Samford @ Western Carolina
I will be rooting for WCU to end Samford’s unbeaten streak here. I think Samford will eventually lose several times, but I doubt it will be this Saturday. WCU’s defense is pretty awful, ranking 114th nationally in total defense. Their offense isn’t bad at all though at 27th in the country. Samford’s big strength is that they don’t make mistakes, they rank 3rd in turnover margin and are solid on both offense and defense.
Prediction: Samford 38 / WCU 23
6:00PM #10 The Citadel @ NC State
I would love to see The Citadel beat NC State, preferably worse than they beat us (if that’s possible). But I would root for just about anyone over NCSU. So far, they lost to Tennessee 35-21, then beat UConn 10-7 and South Alabama 31-7. Their defense keeps them in games, but their offense has struggled. In particular, NCSU’s rushing defense is pretty awesome, good for 18th nationally in FBS and 5th in tackles for a loss. The size advantage should allow them to score. Their defense should negate The Citadel’s ability to run. I’m not expecting an upset, but they’ll have their hands full.
Prediction: The Citadel 10 / NC State 20
6:00PM Elon @ #11 Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern had an extra week to prepare for Elon. After their loss to The Citadel, this is pretty much a must win if GSU wants to stay in the conference title race. But personally I think Elon will be lucky to win 2 more games the rest of the season, just looking at their schedule. The Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble here, I think they win big.
Prediction: Georgia Southern 42 / Elon 14
7:00PM Coastal Carolina @ Toledo
So far Toledo is 2-1 with wins against Wyoming and Bowling Green, and a 7 point loss to Arizona. I think Coastal will be a tough game for us, but I think an upset against Toledo would be a longshot. Frankly, I doubt that the final score is even close.
Prediction: Coastal Carolina 10 / Toledo 41
#7 Wofford – Bye Week
Wofford gets an extra week to prepare for Elon.