The FCS playoffs are officially underway. Weber State, Sac State, Montana State and Montana received seeds three through six, respectively.
Kennesaw State (11-2) @ (3) Weber State (9-3) (-12) @ 1 p.m on ESPN3
Parker: Kennesaw State had one of the easiest schedules in the FCS this year. Despite their 10-2 overall record, the Owls were one of the last four teams to make the FCS playoffs. They maintained a standing in the top 15 of the coach’s poll this season as a result of their success in previous seasons, but their body of work was never that impressive. Their toughest conference competitor, Monmouth, beat the Owls 45-21. Last week, the Owls proved the haters wrong and pulled off a solid win against Wofford 28-21. All told, the Owls triple-option attack will not be able to move the ball against one of the most physical teams in the country. I expect the Wildcats to blow past Kennesaw State.
WSU 34, KSU 17
Caleb: After proving the doubters wrong and winning their first round matchup, Kennesaw State will travel cross-country to take on Weber State. The Owls made a nice run last year, but I expect their season to end on Saturday. The Wildcats simply have too much firepower. Weber State has looked tough all season. They took it to a couple of FBS schools and almost won. Their only conference loss came to Montana which is starting to look like a fluke. I think the Wildcats easily come out on top.
WSU 41, KSU 20
Cameron: The storylines coming into this game are interesting. Kennesaw State has been scrutinized all season for their high ranking despite their weak conference, along with Weber dominating most of the season before being badly exposed against Montana. Weber State is a much more physical team and will look to dominate by doing what they do best — stopping the run on defense and a strong running game up the gut. MSU fans may remember just a few years ago when KSU came to a snowy Bobcat Stadium and beat MSU with the odds stocked against them. Could this be a repeat of that? Probably not.
WSU 31, KSU 21
Southeastern Louisiana (8-4) @ (6) Montana (9-3) (-11.5) @ 1 p.m. on ESPN3
Parker: In the best game of the first round of the FCS Playoffs, Southeast Louisiana barely slipped by Villanova, 45-44, after the refs called a phantom offensive pass interference call with under two minutes to play. The Lions of Southeastern Louisiana have had an up-and-down season. On one hand, they beat the eight-seed in the country, Central Arkansas, 34-0, but they also lost to Incarnate Word, who finished the season 5-7. Their explosive offense may keep them in the game for the first half, but the Griz will end up dominating the line of scrimmage in this one. Imagining this may seem difficult after the Cats made the mighty Grizzlies look like a prep team in the Brawl, but I’m here to give true insight.
4-peat Brawl of the Wild Runner-ups 41, SELA 20
Caleb: After a rough couple of weeks off, the Griz will look to bounce back against Southeastern Louisiana. The Lions came just two points short of claiming the Southland Conference title. During their regular season campaign, they beat a few tough opponents, including eighth-ranked Central Arkansas, but also dropped a few games to some less formidable opponents. Knocking off Montana in Washington Grizzly Stadium is going to be a tall task. The Griz, coming off of a bye, will roll Southeastern Louisiana. I just hope the Zoo won’t be serving up Lion on finals week.
Lil-Brownie Winners 45, SELA 23
Cameron: Montana is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. But after being dominated in every facet by MSU a few weeks back, one wonders how they will bounce back after a week off from competition. UM is welcoming Southeastern Louisiana to town looking to bring Bobby ball back to the national stage, but the Lions are better than most would expect, coming off a big time win against Villanova who was at the time ranked number eight in the STATS FCS top 25. This game may come down to the wire, but if Dalton Sneed is up to full speed UM may find itself coasting. I say SELA misses the game tying extra point.
MCC 21, SELA 20
Austin Peay (10-3) @ (4) Sac State (9-3) (-13) @ 7 p.m. on ESPN3
Parker: Austin Peay from the Ohio Valley Conference dominated in the second half of their first round matchup. After entering half up 7-3, the Governors rattled off 28 unanswered points on their way to a 42-6 victory. Austin Peay with a couple explosive offensive plays could stay in this contest, but a week off for Sac State and Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, junior quarterback Kevin Thomson, should be enough for the Hornets to get rolling.
Sac State 40, Austin Peay 24
Caleb: The Governors easily skated by last week in a blowout win over Furman. Now, they face a much taller task in taking on Sac State. The Hornets were the biggest surprise in the Big Sky Conference this season. At the conclusion of the regular season, junior quarterback Kevin Thomson was awarded Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, and Head Coach Troy Taylor won Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year. The only time the Hornets struggled all season was when they were missing Thomson due to injury. I think this game will be closer than expected, but ultimately the Hornets will pull it off.
Sac State 49, Austin Peay 44
Cameron: Playoff football is in Sacramento, Calif. for the first time in a long time, and the Hornets will be visited by the Austin Peay Governors. Sac dominated the Big Sky this season, leading to a share of the crown with Weber State and a number four seed in this year’s FCS playoffs. Austin Peay is located in Clarksville, TN and boasts this years OVC coach of the season. They have a record of 10-3 to match Sac State’s 9-3, but their conference is much easier to navigate. Expect Sac State to roll on Saturday.
Sac State 42, Austin Peay 3
Albany (8-4) @ (5) Montana State (9-3) (-9.5) @ 1 p.m. on ESPN3
Parker: The Cats did it. They absolutely embarrassed the Griz so badly that Bobby Hauck had a tough time coming up with excuses. He said they prepared for Troy Andersen to play, meaning they could not stop the Cats running game because our best player did not play? Hmmm. The Cat/Griz game was amazing, but if the Cats want to make a run in the playoffs, they’re going to have to build off this game while keeping emotionally invested in the game in front of them. Last week, Albany had a huge second-half behind freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler to pull-off a win. If the Cats continue to show diversity in the run game and maintain a stout defense, this could become a blow-out
griz Killers 38, Albany 14
Caleb: 48-14: possibly the sweetest score in Bobcat history. The Cats dominated the Brawl, from President Waded Cruzado’s coin flip all the way until redshirt freshman backup-quarterback Casey Bauman ran out the clock. Students poured onto the field to celebrate our fourth straight Cat-Griz victory. But now that’s all in the past, and it’s a new weekend. The Bobcats will take on the University of Albany from the Colonial Athletic Association. The Great Danes are coming into this weekend hot and looking to upset another team that has been playing its best football. I considered giving the Great Danes a shot until one of their players said, “I don’t believe in dinosaurs.” That was enough for me to give up on the Danes for good. The Cats will add to their four-game winning streak on Saturday.
MSU 34, Dinosaur Deniers 17
Cameron: There are two parts to this prediction. I would like to cover how it looks on paper and the reality of the situation. On paper, the Cats should roll the Great Danes. MSU is the fifth ranked team in the nation and Albany is 11-34 all time against teams ranked inside the FCS top 25. Oh yeah, and last week was their first ever playoff win in program history… but throw all of that out the window, because in December every game means more and real fans know that anything can happen. Expect the Great Danes to come out hot and full of enthusiasm before they become overmatched by MSU’s big boys in the trenches and the unfriendly confines of chilly Bobcat Stadium.
MSU 31, Albany 10
Overall (Last Week)
Against the Spread (ATS)