Playoffs in the FCS


Goodbye to Romance College Football

02:00 pm
01:00 pm
Sacramento St
North Dakota
02:00 pm
02:00 pm
NC Central
03:00 pm
Gardner Webb
03:00 pm
Nicholls State
So Illinois
03:00 pm
Austin Peay
03:30 pm
North Dakota State
05:00 pm
Youngstown State


  • 2023 printable bracket.pdf
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  • 2021 printable bracket.pdf
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  • 2022 printable bracket.pdf
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2022 – First Round

Favorites 3 / Dogs 4 ATS* (2 upsets – Gardner Webb+3.5 at EKU, SELU+4 vs Idaho)

Overs 6 / Unders 2 (Overs 47.5, 76.5, 57.5, 65, 61.5, 56) (Under 48, 56.5)

Home teams 5-3 ATS & 7-1 SU

Home favs 3-3 ATS & 5-1 SU* , Home dogs 1-0 ATS & SU

Favorites 1-7.5 : 2-2 ATS & SU

Favorites 8-13.5 : 0-2 ATS & 2-0 SU

Favorites 14-20.5 : n/a

Favorites 21+ : 1-0 ATS & SU

*note there was a pick’em in the first round not counted in the records as a favorite, so 1 less favorite ATS & SU record than overall (7 instead of 8)

2021 – First Round

Favorites 5 / Dogs 3 ATS (2 upsets UT Martin+17.5 at Missouri St, Southern Illinois+2.5 at South Dakota)

Overs 4 / Unders 4 (Overs 57.5, 57, 48.5, 56) (Unders 40.5, 60.5, 55.5, 66)

Home teams / home favs 5-3 ATS & 6-2 SU

Favorites 1-7.5 : 2-1 ATS & SU

Favorites 8-13.5 : 1-0 ATS & SU

Favorites 14-20.5 : 1-2 ATS & 2-1 SU

Favorites 21+ : 1-0 ATS & SU

Combined last two years First Round

Favorites 8 / Dogs 7 (4 upsets)
Overs 10 / Unders 6
Home teams 10-6 ATS & 13-3 SU
Home favs 8-6 ATS & 11-3 SU
Home dogs 1-0 ATS & SU

Favorites 1-7.5 : 4-3 ATS & SU
Favorites 8-13.5 : 1-2 ATS & 3-0 SU
Favorites 14-20.5 : 1-2 ATS & 2-1 SU
Favorites 21+ : 2-0 ATS & SU
*note one game was pick'em that is why some records only add to 15 rather than 16
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I don't know when these lines come out, if it is still day of game Saturday morning.

Here is some line move data from past two years.

Sides from open to close saw no change or just .5 pt change 8 of 16 times
Sides have gone up or down from open to close 1 point 3 of 16 times
Sides have gone up or down from open to close 1.5 to 2 points 3 of 16 times
Sides have gone up or down from open to close 2.5 to 3.5 points 2 of 16 times

Of those moves 1.5 or greater, did the move correlate to a win?
Weber from 9.5 to 11, won by 6
Idaho from 2.5 to 4, lost straight up
Montana from 10.5 to 13, won by 10
Holy Cross from 18.5 to 15, won by 3
Missouri State from 15.5 to 17.5, lost straight up

The last two years, plays betting with the 1.5+ line move went 1-4 ATS and two of those favorites lost straight up.


Totals from open to close saw no change or just .5 pt change 8 of 16 times
Totals have gone up or down 1 point 4 of 16 times
Totals have gone up or down 1.5 to 2 points 4 of 16 times
No total went up or down by more than 2 points

Of those moves 1.5 or greater, did the move correlate to a win?
Elon/Furman from 46 to 48, total pts 37
Davidson/Richmond from 55 to 56.5, total pts 41
SFA/UIW from 58.5 to 57, total pts 63
UTM/Missouri St from 58 to 56, total pts 53

The last two years plays betting with the 1.5 pt total move went 1-3 ATS.

This is just first round.
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Duquesne at Youngstown State | 5 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Youngstown State

Youngstown State was one of the last teams to make the FCS playoffs, but the Penguins get a favorable matchup against Duquesne on the edge of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Beyond No. 1 South Dakota State and FBS team Ohio State, Youngstown State has only lost games by an average of three points. Meanwhile, Duquesne lost to Stonehill team that's only a few years removed from Division II. I don't trust the Dukes under the bright lights of the playoffs.

North Carolina Central at Richmond | 2 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: North Carolina Central

North Carolina Central is 3-0 against CAA teams this year and will go to 4-0 with a win over Richmond. While Richmond enters the playoffs as the co-CAA champions on a six-game win streak, the Spiders did lose to HBCUs Morgan State and Hampton. North Carolina Central beat Morgan State and Hampton is far from the Eagles in the latest HBCU football power rankings. North Carolina Central has been a better team than Richmond all season and it'll show in the first round.

Nicholls at Southern Illinois | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Southern Illinois

The Southland conference was bad enough to the point that a UIW team with one FCS loss wasn't even in the first four teams left out of the playoffs. Nicholls has only beaten Southland opponents and now it has to go on the road to Southern Illinois. The Salukis win this one, even if they don't play their best game.

Sacramento State at North Dakota | 1 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: North Dakota

This game is the hardest first-round game to predict. Sacramento State is coming off a loss to close the season, but fought hard against three Big Sky teams all seeded in the playoffs. North Dakota made No. 3 seed South Dakota battle to the wire in their regular season game, and the Fighting Hawks blew out perennial FCS power North Dakota State.

I expect this game to be close, which is why I think North Dakota wins. The Fighting Hawks are at home and I've seen quarterback Tommy Schuster come up big in clutch moments this year.

Drake at North Dakota State | 3:30 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: North Dakota State

North Dakota State should win this one, and I don't think it'll be close. The Bison will be motivated after playing in the first round for the first time in ages. Against two MVFC opponents this year, Drake lost by a combined score of 125-14. That margin will grow in the playoffs.

Chattanooga at Austin Peay | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Austin Peay

Austin Peay beat North Alabama by 10 points this year. Chattanooga lost to North Alabama by 14 points this year. The common opponent is a sign of why Austin Peay will win this game. Another sign is Mike DiLello and Jevon Jackson, top-10 passers and rushers in the FCS this season.

Lafayette at Delaware | 2 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Delaware

Running back Jamar Curtis is the heart and soul of the Lafayette team. Delaware only allows 131.7 rushing yards per game to FCS opponents, only allowing two 100-yard FCS rushers all season. The Blue Hens will slow down Curtis and get the win.

Gardner-Webb at Mercer | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Mercer

When Mercer and Gardner-Webb met last year in the regular season, the Bears defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs 45-14. While these are two different teams about to play in a different year, I see a similar result from Mercer's offense. Ty James has been a top-three wide receiver in the FCS and I don't see Gardner-Webb stopping him or the rest of the offense from having a big day.
Southern will be playing the Bayou Classic without their HC Eric Dooley who they fired after just two seasons. Southern has been a dog 3x this season and is 1-2 ATS in those, a 13 pt loss to Jackson St +6.5 (outgained by 147y), a 7 pt loss to FAMU +8.5 (outgained by 77y) and two games ago a 23 pt loss to Alcorn +2.5 (outgained by 176y). The game before that Southern was outgained by 242y vs Texas Southern but amazingly won in OT. They just lost to Prairie View their last game by 6 as a 9.5 pt favorite (outgained by 20y). They only avg 20.3 ppg vs SWAC opponents and gain an avg of 302.4 ypg. The D is what makes Southern not a completely terrible team. They allowed 297.5 ypg vs their first 6 SWAC opponents, but over their last 3 they are allowing 409.6. Even among their first 6 SWAC games they allowed 415 to Jackson and 392 to FAMU - so really they are a good D vs other bad SWAC Os, not all SWAC Os. The defensive pts allowed has gone from 15.8 ppg the first 6, to 29.3 the last 3. And again with Jackson and FAMU, they exceeded those avg pts allowed anyway with 27 and 26 scored on Southern.

Grambling's O has been really up and down. They are off one of their best games last time out vs Pine Bluff, 43 pts and 411y (7.3). That game resembled some of their strong ouputs from the first half of the season like vs Hampton (31 pts and 411y ) and Texas Southern (35 pts and 477y) and PV (35 pts and 449y). So this is Grambling's O at it's best and they just duplicated that kind of game before the bye week last week. Problem for Grambling is they hit a stretch vs Alcorn, A&M, Bethune and ASU where they averaged just 20.5 ppg and 318 ypg. And the Grambling D has not been good for most of the year. Probably a product of who they have played the last 3 weeks, but there is improvement with the D. After allowing 29.6 ppg and 367 ypg the first 2/3 of the season before their bye week, over their last 3 games the Grambling D has allowed just 15 ppg and 234 ypg (Bethune, ASU and PB).

So I know the kind of ceiling the Grambling O has, they just reminded us of that last time they played, and maybe the defense has improved some - even it has not, the Southern O is not overly threatening. Southern D was better earlier in the year, but they've had some bad outings the last 3 games. Grambling is 3-1 ATS as a favorite this year and won their last two in that role vs bad teams by 14 and 29 pts. The Bayou Classic has been a good game for Southern recently having been favored in 4 of the last 5 and winning 4 of those, but Southern has been the better team w-l record wise entering those games. This year Grambling and Southern are each 5-5, but I believe Grambling is the better team and in coach Jackson's second year with one of the top SWAC QBs in Crawley they should be able to win this vs and the line may open less than 3.

Gardner-Webb at Mercer | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN+​

Winner: Mercer

When Mercer and Gardner-Webb met last year in the regular season, the Bears defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs 45-14. While these are two different teams about to play in a different year, I see a similar result from Mercer's offense. Ty James has been a top-three wide receiver in the FCS and I don't see Gardner-Webb stopping him or the rest of the offense from having a big day.

Everyone likes Ty James, the problem is the QB responsible for getting him the ball. James caught 16rec-333-3TDs in Mercer's 3 biggest games vs Furman, UTC and WCU and Mercer went 1-2 in those games. If not for 6 WCU turnovers, it may've been 0-3. Mercer scored 10 and 14 pts vs Furman and UTC, so they haven't always been so hard to stop. They did put up 45 on WCU and had good yardage (422), but 14 of those 45 were scored by the D thanks to the turnovers (total of 21 pts off turnovers).
YSU got such a safe draw due to location and a home game to boot, they should steamroll Duquesne.

Drake/NDSU probably can't be lined high enough, that is a really bad playoff game
YSU got such a safe draw due to location and a home game to boot, they should steamroll Duquesne.

Drake/NDSU probably can't be lined high enough, that is a really bad playoff game

I agree mostly on both.

One thing I have been trying to figure out on the bigger lined games is as the winning team turns towards keeping starters healthy, I assume the team behind will keep playing and is there potential for some sloppy play and a back door? It's a question for any big line, really, just have to get up enough quick enough. YSU lost the cover vs Robert Morris earlier this year on a backdoor following a turnover and some poor tackling by backups.

FCS Championship odds from Draft Kings

Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 07-58-24 College Football Betting Odds & Lines DraftKings Sportsbook.png

DraftKings beats BM, BOL, Bovada, BR and MGM. Those are my books, not sure if anyone else has lines out. I’ve done zero work and made no bets on the Playoff games yet.
I don't see one road dog worth a sniff on the ML, I know that.

The two lowest numbers I can see as home blowouts. Guessing NC Central will be the popular dog but I don't even like that.
I set up an FCS playoff weekly pick'em. I am hopeful and assuming I will be able to update is and this will go for all the playoffs to the title (I've never done a playoff pick'em on their site). If we only get like 3 or 4 people I will likely stop it. There is no cost to you, there is no prize - if you want to play, follow this link:

North Dakota is 0-5 ATS since their win vs NDSU and 3 of those games have gone Under - the two games that went Over were vs teams with losing records. Vs teams with winning records since the NDSU 10/14 win UND has scored 0 at UNI, 10 at USD and 22 vs Ill St while gaining 187, 211 and 338 yards in those games (avg 245 ypg, 4.46 ypp) - compare that to the games vs Ind St and Murray, the losing teams, UND avg 40.5 ppg and gained 478.5 ypg in those two. The UND O has struggled to convert 3rd downs in their last 3 games vs winning opponents, just 18.75% while they converted 73% vs the bad teams. So while a lot of teams are going to have better numbers vs the bad teams and worse numbers vs the better teams, with UND's O, it is pretty noticably worse. The D is pretty much the same, allowing 428 ypg vs UNI, USD and Ill St while they allowed Ind St and Murray 383.5, the ppg is inverse with 20.6 allowed vs the good teams and 32 allowed vs the bad teams. UND was outgained by an avg of 182 ypg vs their last 3 good teams played. So this is not a very remarkable team vs playoff caliber competition. 6 games ago, their best win of the year vs NDSU, in that one they returned the opening KO 100y for TD and benefitted from two short field TD drives of 35 yards or less.

So I am not looking to lay points with that team. They have only won by more than 3 once in their last 5 games.

Sacramento State on the other hand, I was pretty eager to want to fade after their Montana loss, looked like the team had some inner termoil and the coaching staff's decision to force the freshman QB into the lineup in place of Bennett isn't yielded good returns. Conklin has passed for just 20-of-47 for 196y with an 0-1 ratio vs Montana and UC Davis. He brings no rushing component to the team either. Now vs the bad teams, sure Conklin has been good, a 6-1 ratio and nearly 650y with 66% completions. Bennett did have some rough moments vs Montana State which I assume got the coaching thinking they wanted to try the freshman. They started Conklin last week vs UC Davis, but the O had no life with him at QB and they went to Bennett to start the 2H, where he threw an INT on his first pass. But they stuck with him, Conklin had just a few plays in the 2H and Bennett brought the O to life - 280 2H yards and 21 pts vs the 1H where they had 108y and 0 pts. For the Sac State side, one can only hope it is going to be Bennett for the vast majority if not all the time at QB for this game.

Sac State's last 5 games have seen them play 3 teams with winning records and two bad teams as UND has. They've been better teams though as Sac State has played two seeded teams and one bubble team compared to UND's good teams being just 1 playoff team and one kind of bubble team in UNI. So then, Sac State has performed poorly in the 1Hs vs their good opponents, just 7, 7 and 0 1H pts vs Mont St, Mont and UCD. They rallied in the 2H in some of those finishing with 30 on the Cats, just the 7 vs the Griz and 21 vs Davis. That gives them a 19.3 ppg vs the good teams and 363 ypg. Griz shut them down real good for just 268y, but Sac had 434 on Mont St with 200y rushing (7.1) and they gained 388 vs UCD, which like I said was mostly 2H after the QB change. They rout bad teams to the tune of 92-46 vs ISU and CP. CP gained 539y on them and that was after the Montana game when I think that Sac was in disarray and hanging their heads so I can kind of see how and why that happened. The Sac State D showed up last week vs Davis in holding them to just 308y (5.0), 7 of Davis' 31 pts were on an 18y "drive" after Sac was SOD very late 4Q trying to comeback.

I did not expect to say that I would lean Sac State here, but I think that is where I am at. They have been really up and down on the field and I think perhaps mentally as well. The key is if Bennett plays or if they keep playing Conklin. And it is also going to be key that Sac State has shaken off any negative vibes they had from the Montana game - the way they fought back at Davis last week may indicate they have. UND D is not a great unit - they can be run on and passed on ... Ill St with their backup QB and without their top WR was inj 1H (one of the MVFC's top WRs) gained 466y on them last week (225 rushing). USD passed for their second most yards of the year against them. Ind St and Murray both posted season high points vs MVFC in their game vs UND. The fact that UND was shut out vs UNI is a red flag to me as well.

I said that UND has gone 3-2 to the Under the last 5 games, all 3 Unders vs the playoff caliber teams. Sac State has gone 3-2 to the Over the last 5, but 2-1 to the Under vs the playoff caliber teams. So that is a combined 5-1 Under in games involving playoff caliber teams. But on the other hand, I really don't like going Under with the UND D. Maybe I take a small look towards the Under. UND didn't score their first TD last week until 5min to go in the 1H!

Intangible wise, both these teams are routinely in the playoffs. There was a controversy last year about UND's bid to host a game being substantially higher than Weber, but they gave the home game to Weber and UND had to travel. So UND supposedly bid some really high number to ensure they got this game at home this year, UND is 11-1 at home in the playoffs all time. Sac State hasn't played a road game or in the first round the last 3 years (last road playoff game 1988). These teams played 2013-2018 when they were both it the Big Sky.

BOL has been rolling their FCS playoff lines out tonight, some big differences on the high spreads.
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I think it is going to be hard for me to avoid some bias on the Lafayette - Delaware game. I simply want Lafayette to hang and win this game. I have loved that team all year. I am worried if they are going to be able to do it though. It is Patriot League vs an upper CAA team, which....this year the CAA has looked pretty average in spots, and according to Sagarin, Delaware's SOS is the third weakest of the CAA teams and the fact that Villanova just blew their doors off seems to back it up, Delaware has built their record on the soft parts of the CAA. Delaware only played two teams with CAA winning records (Elon and Nova) and lost to them both. Nova just ran it and passed it all over them last week, 227y rush (6.9) and 222y passing (63% 13ypc). Elon turned into a passing team and they went deep often on Delaware, 352y (49% 20.7 ypc). Delaware shut down inconsistent and weaker offenses, struggled with good offenses (UNH gained 443y 6.1ypp on them as well). So evidence shows an offense with some capability and confidence can move it on the Hens. And the Delaware O ... surpised to see it is actually a bottom half CAA pass eff O. The QB situation is in question right now. Both O'Conner and Marker were injured for parts of this year and O'Conner may have had lingering effects with a shoulder hampering him and then he was hurt with a lower body injury last week while Marker left last week's game in the 2Q last week with a leg injury. True freshman Nick Minicucci is expected to start this week with O'Conner's availability unknown and Marker may've been seriously injured. Minicucci is a running threat, but kind of an unknown passing (43% with a 1-2 ratio last week coming in cold with little to no practice reps). Yarns is a good enough RB to lean on however, oddly, Delaware running game has been held below 3ypc in 2 of their last 3 games (Yarns has been banged up too).

Lafayette isn't a big play passing O, they are a high completion % and move the chain O, run the ball and score TDs when in the RZ (71%) while avoiding penalties and limit TOs on O and force them on D. Good recipe! Other than overall efficiency, their strength is the OL and running game with Curtis who is #2 ncaa is rushing ypg and has a healthy 6.5 ypc. They rank top 10 nationally in third down O, fewest penalties while being #12 in fewest TOs lost and #17 completions 65%. Their efficient O is coupled with a D that is really good at creating negative plays - best 3rd down D in the Patriot (37.5%) and 5th/13th nationally in sacks/TFLs on D while typcially limit big plays (Holy Cross and Sluka is the exception). Lafayette definitley comes in with confidence, they just came back from a sluggish 1H vs their rival Lehigh last week and scored 35 unanswered in the 2H. Earlier they snapped Holy Cross' 18 game conference winning streak, shut down a previously high scoring Fordham O and are in the playoffs as Patriot League champs for the first time since 2013.

Turnovers have been key for both teams. For Delaware, they lost 6 TOs in the losses to Elon and Nova. For Lafayette, they were -3 TOs in their only FCS loss to Colgate (Laf led 17-0) and depending on one's spread, Lafayette's only other non-FCS cover this year was due to a couple costly TOs (and a backdoor score allowed) at Georgetown.

Delaware has lost their last two home games straight up and actually hasn't covered their last 3 home games scoring just 21, 27 and 7 in those. There may be a little self doubt having crept in with them. And they are not where you want to be with the QB situation. I would not bet against them solely because of the QB situation, both the other guys didn't appear 100% anyway, so the true Fr is going to have a full week of prep under his belt now.

All the nice attributes about Lafayette, I'm really not sure how they will transfer from the best team in the Patriot to a pretty good, upper 1/4 CAA team on the road. If Delaware was 100%, probably the most likely situation is that Lafayette keeps it close, but over the 4 quarter game it gets away from them. Good D and running game usually travels and you'd think the inexperience at QB for Delaware vs a solid D like Lafayette could play a part (Delaware OL allows a lot of pressure).

Delaware is 17-4 in "The Tub" in the playoffs and have won 12 straight home playoff games, beat St Francis 56-17 last year. Delaware has won 14 straight vs Lafayette (last game 2018). Lafayette has lost their last 4 playoff games 2004-2013 and only one of them was somewhat close (11 pt margin). I would just really like to see Lafayette win this, they pulled 5 outright upsets this year so they are plenty used to the underdog role and exceeding expectations.
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NC Central is the first HBCU in the playoffs since 2021 when a regular season 9-2 FAMU team got in and lost by 24 to SLU as 13.5 pt dogs. Not a lot of people trust or believe the second place team in the MEAC should be in the FCS playoffs, but they do have a pretty strong team. And a much closer game is expected here compared to FAMU 2 years ago. The one thing that stands out is NCCU is 3-0 vs the CAA this year with wins vs A&T, Campbell and Elon. Only Elon was above .500 in the league and Campbell and A&T both had losing records overall, A&T having just one win - so beating those two teams is no real prize. Elon was really up and down this year, when NCCU beat them, Elon was just off the W&M win which was a 4Q win on a big pass play and then a D stand in the final seconds, quite possible that it was a less than best week of practice for them off that game and they weren't as focused as they should've been. In the MEAC, NCCU isn't tested much. Comfortable big wins vs Delaware St and SC State, a less than best game vs Norfolk (outgained by -52y), but then Morgan's good D really limited the NCCU as did Howard - NCCU was held to just 16 pts and 201y at Morgan (outgained by -84y) and 20pts with 198y at a highly motivated Howard team (outgained by -323y). Those are pretty alarming games for NCCU. Their overs have hit the last 4 with one team getting close to the total themselves in 3 of those games, the more competitive game barely went over 60 (by 2 pts).

I don't think the MEAC games are strong comparisons even though NCCU performed poorly in two of those. They played so many CAA games and with Richmond in the CAA that makes for good comparisons. A&T was just in game 2 of the new coaching staff. NCCU led just 17-16 HT but controled the 2H and outgained them 345-207 in the 30-16 win. The Campbell game went to OT. Campbell actually led 35-14, but allowed NCCU to score 28 straight. That one finished 49-48 NCCU with a 447-410 (5.6-7.9) yardage edge. Then Elon led 10-0, but NCCU came back on them 14-10 and then they started to run away with it, 21-10, 28-10, 34-23 F. NCCU outgained them 378-364 (6.3-4.9). A theme in all 3 of these games was NCCU outrushed each of those teams with Richard leading in each (actually tied for lead vs A&T) - he rushed 49att-296 with 9 rushing TDs. They held Elon to just 82y largely due to 14 TFLs and Elon had trouble with that vs other teams too, NCCU only avg 5 TFLs per game in their other 8 FCS games so it isn't like that is the kind of D they are, it just so happened that way one week.

I don't know that NCCU is going to out rush Richmond. The run D has been an issue for the Eagles in recent MEAC play. Lowly Delaware St went for 217 (8.0) on them, two games ago Howard ripped them for 244 (6.8), SC State went for 237 (6.6). That is a bad sign. Richmond is off their two strongest rushing games of the year, 196 (4.9) on a solid W&M D and two games ago 235 (6.0) on Elon. Richmond QB Wickersham missed 4 games, came back in a limited way and has been full go the last few weeks, has rushed for 30x for 202 with two rushing TDs the last two games where he led the team in rushing. Passing over the last 3 games he's 42-59-482-4-1

As coincidence would have it, Richmond played the same CAA teams that NCCU played in consecutive weeks not long ago!

Richmond at NC A&T 33-10 as 8.5 pt AF. Outgained them +112y... 257-145 (4.1-3.2)
NCCU at NC A&T 30-16 as 1.5 pt AF. Outgained them +138y ... 345-207 (5.5-4.5)
Richmond vs Campbell 44-13 as 3 pt HF. Outgained them +174y ... 380-206 (6.3-2.8)
NCCU vs Campbell 49-48ot as 3 pt HD. Outgained them+37y ... 447-410 (5.6-7.9)
Richmond vs Elon 38-24 as a 3 pt HF. Outgained them +49y ... 420-371 (6.3-6.1)
NCCU at Elon 34-23 as 6 pt AD. Outgained them +14y ... 378-364 (6.3-4.9)

Not as if I like the transitive property game, but that is a lot of overlap for teams not in the same conference.

Actually have two other common opponents.

Richmond lost to Morgan St week 1 10-17 as 24.5 HF. Outgained them +51y ... 264-213 (3.9-3.6)
Richmond beat Delaware St 38-6 as 27 pt HF. Outgained them +153 ... 402-249 (7.3-4.6)

NCCU was never in danger of losing to Morgan, but that game was just 3-0 HT so Morgan certainly gave NCCU a game and beat Richmond to start the year. NCCU drilled Delaware last week, that was just game #3 for Richmond, they were kind of finding themselves the first half of this year.

The in-league aspect is likely how or why Richmond handled the CAA teams better than NCCU did and why NCCU did better vs the MEAC teams than Richmond did. Or it could be that Richmond is in fact better equipt than NCCU is. Like I said, Richmond played those MEAC teams early in the year and they are not the same team then as they are now. NCCU entered this year with a lot of experience from the year prior, Richmond did not.

I do think a veteran guy like Richard, in his first ever playoff game, this kind of stage, he has potential for a big game and I give the edge on O to NCCU. The edge on D goes to Richmond. The Spiders go Over more than not when the total is in the 40s or less. When the total is the 50s, Unders are 2-0 for them.

This is NCCU's first ever playoff performance (were Dll in 2011). They have beat the last 3 ranked FCS teams they played, Elon this year, and Jackson St and New Hampshire last year. Richmond has won 6 straight to close out the year. Richmond is 9-3 at home in the playoffs. One fear I have with Richmond, I don't think they would take NCCU for granted, they did blow out the Pioneer team they hosted last year, I guess I could see them starting slow and if NCCU does not that could be trouble. This is a rare opportunity for NCCU and I do think they are going to be ready for it and it's not like Richmond has a really explosive offense. I would pick Richmond to win if I had to, but don't think I am going to put anything on this one.
I want to touch on YSU out of order.

There was not a lot of optimism about YSU getting in, everyone knew they had a chance, but the way they played vs South Dakota State and they had one good win vs Southern Illinois and a weak out of conference FCS schedule with Valpo and Robert Morris. But in the end the committee valued the SIU win and it was a really dominating win and I think they respected how close YSU was in the losses at USD and at UNI. YSU didn't bid much over the minimum required to host a home game, so it isn't like they bought their way in.

On an intangible side, I like the aspect of YSU's last game here at home was a really embarrassing and humbling loss. And maybe unexpectedly, they have second life and this team has had some really strong flashes of playing great ball this year so I feel good about them being competitive in this playoff and coming out strong in this game.

Penguins have played their best at home this year. The SIU game is the high water mark, the only other team to duplicate the kind of beat down that YSU delivered to the Saluki's was NDSU. YSU beat them 31-3 with a 323-100 (5.0-2.0) yard edge - 7 sacks. I have had a somewhat high opinion of Illinois State this year and think they are a playoff caliber team who had a few tough 1-3 pt losses. YSU put up 470y on them 6.3 ypp and scored 41, were a great 4-for-4 4th down in that one and they ran for a MVFC season high 267 (5.3) too. Missouri State has given some teams some games and YSU handled them 44-28 with 521y (7.9) with a season high 415 passing yards in that one (79% 15.3 ypc). Defensively, as good as they were vs SIU, the YSU D was not good vs ILL St or Missouri St...they allowed 438.5 ypg in those two and allowed 33 ppg. SDSU is another level, they did a little better, put up 490y and 34 pts on YSU last time here. YSU's pass D has been pretty bad, they give up the most ypg through the air in the MVFC and they rank in the bottom 1/3 in pass eff D as well, it's the 104th ranked pass eff D nationally. So I really like what YSU can do on O, either running or passing, but do worry about the YSU secondary. I don't think YSU has been consistent in getting pressure, the 7 sacks vs SIU is an outlier, they only average 2.4 per game their other 9 FCS games, they are good at getting pressure though.

Despite what the very helpful SI article posted here says "unfortunately...Duquesne does not have the offensive firepower to expose the secondary" - I disagree and think they do - it is just that they are boom or bust. 19.8 ypc last week vs Merrimack. 33.1 ypc two games ago vs Stonehill! They have the top passing ypc in the ncaa! So they throw deep and get a lot of big plays in the passing game. Now the bust part, Perrantes has thrown 18 INTs! And he hits a low 51%. Like I said it is boom-bust with them. Defensively, it's going to be tough for the Dukes. They allowed Stonehill 214y rushing (4.0) and Wagner ran for 226 (5.4), Long Island ran for 293 (8.4). They have a better pass D, but that may because teams don't need to force as much there because they can get it on the ground - and some of those NEC passing Os are bad (like Merrimack and Sacred Heart especially).

Duquesne has enough O and YSU's D has shown enough holes in the secondary, this is a big concern. The Dukes played at Delaware week 6 and led 17-15 2Q, only trailed 17-22 HT eventually lost 17-43 and were outgained -176.

I do think the YSU O should have a lot of success and I think they are going to come out with a lot of emotion.

With the line move, I can consider having YSU needing them to just win by a touch over two scores. 5dimes originally had it at 24.5, DK had it at 21.5, pretty sure I saw BOL at 17.5 and now it is down to 15.5. The back door is going to have to stay closed as RM back doored YSU and Missouri State nearly back doored them. The total has also ticked down and I think I can go Over with my expectation that YSU gets into the 30s for sure and realistically the 40s with Duquesne being capable of being in the 20s. Concern here would be offensive success leads to sustained drives rather than quick scores, or in Duquesne's case, they have a drive and then throw an INT which they are prone to do.

YSU is 5-0 vs Duquesne. Last year YSU opened with them, Duquesne played week 0 at FSU. YSU won that game 31-14 and outgained them by 100y, but that game was just 17-14 entering the 4Q. This is Duquesne's third ever FCS playoff appearance and they are 1-2 with a win vs Towson the last time they made it in 2018. This is YSU's first playoff appearance since 2016 and they have won 16 straight home playoff games (last loss 1990).
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It is hard to understand the line movement on Drake. DK came out with 37 and I was like, it's high, but who is taking Drake? Apparently people have, the line was in the 31-32 pt range and now looks more like 33.

This will be Drake's third trip to the Dakota's this year. They played at UND and vs SDSU, I guess that was a neutral in Minnesota, but close enough. UND beat them 55-7 (-34.5) and SDSU beat them 70-7 (-54) and they were outgained by over 300y in each. Now NDSU with a history of pounding weak teams is laying less than the Hawks did to start the year?

Drake has had two noteworthy games, albeit vs the Pioneer teams. They beat normally good St Thomas 52-21 and passed for 449y on them! St Thomas is not the smae this year, but still, that is an impressive output by Drake. And then they beat Stetson 33-7 with 293y rushing (5.0), but a lot of teams do that to Stetson. Their other game, working backwards...beat Butler 13-9 (outgained by -89y), beat Presbyterian 16-14 (+50y), beat Marist 10-3 (+30y), beat San Diego 25-20 (+94y), beat Valpo 20-14 (+38y), beat Morehead 16-9 (+86y) - it was a long time ago now, like their other Dakota games, but they did lose to NAIA Northwestern (IA) 24-27 in OT and were outgained -16y. After September this has been a good season for them, but not a really good team, like it isn't some Pioneer steamroller or a great offensive team even vs their peers.

I don't think I need to go into much with NDSU. Two of their losses came vs seeded teams in the playoffs and the other was vs the streaky instate rival UND. I didn't think NDSU played as bad vs SDSU as some have said they did. It's not a vintage Bison team, but it is still a really good one capable of a deep playoff run and a team like Drake is just a speed bump.

This is Drake's first ever playoff appearance. They are on an 11 game Pioneer game winning streak, previously they were on a 10 game losing streak! These teams played to start the 2022 season and NDSU won 56-14, but only had a 396-219 yardage edge (NDSU two non-offensive TDs). This is NDSU's 14th straight season in the playoffs where they are 34-1 in the Fargo Dome.
Austin Peay is thought pretty highly of, but they have failed to cover their last 5 games, but on the year they are 4-5 ATS as a favorite. Recently they won by two last week home vs UCA as 6.5 pt home fav, beat Utah Tech by 13 laying 21.5, beat EKU in OT by 3 giving 6.5, beat UNA by 10 as 23 pt home fav, beat SUU in OT by 3 as 8.5 pt road fav. And the yards have been pretty even in 3 of those, they outgained UNA by +112y, but SUU outgained them by -123y. They've also had a string of 3 Unders after playing 3 straight Overs previously. Their last cover was Oct 14th vs Gardner Webb 41-14 as 14pt home fav, that sounds good, and it is, but GW was starting their now regular QB for the first time that game due to injury to the then #1 and that game was just 20-14 in the 3Q before GW reeled off 3 straight unanswered TDs. We didn't see it last week, but despite the close games AP has a high offensive potential on a weekly basis. Before just the 14 pts last week, AP scored at least 30 6 straight games with an avg of 42 ppg. Taking last game into consideration their avg is 38 ppg with a yardage avg of 472 that includes last week's low 244. Problem for AP is they have given it up on D, allowed over 400y in 5 of their last 7, avg of 407 ypg, but the ppg is lower at 24 allowed as they did hold Lindenwood to just 10 pts off their 430y (4.8) and just 14 to GW and just 12 last week to UCA, so they may at times give up the yards, but they limit scores. UCA scored just 1 TD on 3 RZ trips, Utah Tech 1 of 2, GW was just 1 of 3. AP themselves have had some RZ issues scoring of late...2 of 3 last week which is fine, but just 1 of 4 vs Utah Tech and 0 for 2 vs EKU. The SI article has them 17th in RZ TDs among playoff teams, you would think with their O they would be better here, but they are not.

For Chattanooga, not sure if there is an update on the QB situation?

Nothing has been or will be made official about the status of Artopoeus — a junior and UCLA transfer who in his first year at UTC has made 10 starts and passed for 2,672 yards and 20 touchdowns — prior to the Mocs' first-round game against Austin Peay (9-2) at 3 p.m. Eastern on Saturday in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Artopoeus has been really good this year, was rehabing a shoulder injury and didn't feel good enough to play vs Bama last week, which is smart because if you're already hurt trying to heel up for a playoff game, don't want to risk that vs Bama. It isn't like UTC can rely on a running game, that is not who they are. They have been held to just 2.2ypc and 2.5ypc vs the other SoCon playoff teams. Even vs ETSU, they only ran for 3.3ypc and just 2.9ypc on Samford. They try to run a lot, 38 att per game vs SoCon, they just aren't good at it. So who is QB this week matters. Artopoeus is the #2 QB in the league in terms of efficiency and #2 in attempts, yards per game and TDs as well - ahead of the other SoCon playoff QBs.

Chattanooga D has been good most of the time. They held Furman to 17 pts, but just 244 ttl yards (3.8) and also held Mercer to 10 pts and just 280 ttl yards (4.7). Neither of those teams play the kind of ball that Austin Peay does. At their best AP is more similar to Western Carolina or Samford and vs those teams UTC allowed 52 pts and 551 (11.5) yards to WCU and 24 pts but 473y (5.8) vs Samford (Samford was just 1 of 5 in the RZ scoring TDs). So I have said before, this UTC D is good, but not quite as good as you would think. It depends how capable the opposing O is. They matchup very well vs teams who need to run for success, but teams who can excell through the air or both run and pass they are not as good as you'd think. As a dog UTC is 3-1 ATS with 2 outright wins among the 3. One was vs Samford early in the year and Samford is not a playoff team, perhaps a bubble team if the SoCon were to get 5 - of course they don't. They lost the 52-50 shootout vs WCU as a 3.5 pt home dog. And beat Mercer by 12 as a 1 pt road dog. Think it gets a lot harder this week. Who is playing QB matters I think for them and if AP plays to their full potential, well, let's say A game vs A game, I'd rather have Austin Peay.

These instate schools have played 7x and UTC is 6-1 in those, but AP did win the last one 31-21 in 2021. AP is on a 9 game winning streak. Each head coach is in the playoffs for the first time. This is UTC's 1st playoff appearance since 2016 - 4th ovearll year in the playoffs with a 3-4 record. Austin Peay's only other playoff appearance was 2019 when they went 2-1, which is their total overall playoff record. AP is on a 9 game winning streak. HC Waldron is 9-1 SU at home with AP, the only loss was an upset vs Jacksonville St last year. 2-3 ATS at home this year, 4-1 ATS at home last year.
I am not impressed with the Mercer O. The SI article posted in this thread has them in the 20s out of 24 in 6 of the 8 offensive categories. And the raw stats on O put them about midpack maybe one or two spots at best above average in the SoCon offensive rankings. I think when people think about or talk about Mercer they remember the O they had last year and they know the two WRs they still have and they think they have some high ceiling on O and they just don't. They are a running team and when they play a bad run D, they do well. When they don't, they lose. They are a better defensive team than offensive for sure. That is where they need to win this game.

Gardner Webb is a decent run D. Back when Elon was a running team they held them to just 3.6 ypc. EKU sometimes runs it ok, they went for 156 and 5.8 on GW. UT Martin is probably the best rushing O GW has played and they ran 26-118, 4.5 ypc. I don't see a weakness here that Mercer is going to be able to ride to victory with their run game. Peavy just isn't the put the game on his back QB that people want him to be and therefore the touches for their best offensive players James and Harper are limited. Now, they do a lot with fewer touches this year, but it comes down to Peavy.

He's young, but GW has the better QB. I thought that Caldwell, the game manager type that GW had earlier in the year was good enough, but he got hurt and they went to the freshman 6 games ago. He brings a lot with his legs, the passing is really inconsistent.

I'm running out of time like normal. I really don't want to pick Mercer with the offense they have, but I think the Ds are equal and I'm not sure if the Fr QB for GW is going to make the plays he needs to or the mistakes he can't in this kind of game.

And the intangibles is this is Mercer's first ever playoff game. They had a bye last week, which can be good and bad, but they've been able to self scout and game plan for 2 weeks, the home crowd and emotion is going to be really strong. GW's head coach said his goal this year was a home playoff game and some have speculated that the athletic department didn't bid or didn't bid high enough, either way, they are on the road here.

Mercer won 45-14 last year. GW made the playoffs for the first time last year and won at EKU. So we have a first time playoff participant and a second time playoff participant. I think the intangible aspect and the Mercer D vs the young QB makes me lean towards them. I am just hesitant to want to back the Mercer O. Perhaps Under is better.
The lowest total is the Nicholls - Southern Illinois game. I kind of want to like Under, but think it may be too low.

When SIU plays a playoff caliber team, they can't score. 10 pts on NDSU, 7 pts on USD, 10 pts on SDSU, 3 pts on YSU and then way way way back in week 1, that was the last good offensive showing vs a good team by SIU where they put up 49 pts and 432y vs AP. Those are the points, now in yards, at home, because SIU has such a good D, in terms of yards, they lost 7-14 vs USD, but they outgained them by+136y. They lost 10-17 vs mighty SDSU and the total yards were 308-308. Pretty good vs the #1 team.

Nicholls emerged from the weak Southland and I feel they are a solid team. They've run for 300+ twice in the last 4 games and they have passed for 300+ twice the last 4 games. Can they do that vs a tough SIU D on the road? No. Nicholls does pretty good in the yards department, avg 414 ypg their last 5, but the pts lag behind failed to score more than 27 twice and hit 31 once. Then 37 and 45 in their other two. If SIU can restrict the running game, vs a good MVFC D, I don't think the Nicholls passing O has enough. NDSU ran for 217, 4.8 on SIU, but that is NDSU. SIU did limit YSU to just 3.6 ypc and held USD 2.5 ypc.

I suppose I would go with SIU, with that offense and a DD spread makes me nervous.

It is weird there are 8 games and it's like pressure to want to find something to play in every game, where as if this were a regular season week, there would be like 50 games and I'd find 20-30 to play and stay off the rest. Can't say I really like a whole lot here.
Quite the ride that NDSU line has been on! From 37 Wednesday at DK, it was 31 on DK last night, 31.5 on BOL last night and now it is 40!

Same for YSU, I know it was 15.5 last night on BOL, think it was early this morning too, then the surge started coming, and now it is about back were DK started it
MGM offered no FCS MLs last week and are offering no MLs again this week. BR and Bovada has MLs. I thought these books might do more for the playoffs, maybe halves, but no. And then all of a sudden Bovada takes all their MLs away. Fucking pussies
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Southern and Grambling is the Live option Bovada offered today. Gee, thanks
Southern and Grambling is the Live option Bovada offered today. Gee, thanks
I have Delaware and Richmond live on DK

Didn't need to see Richmond get on the board early, was hoping to catch them at pk or better
I have Delaware and Richmond live on DK

Didn't need to see Richmond get on the board early, was hoping to catch them at pk or better

I see that too! Nice thing about the Southern - Grambling game...if you have an antenna for NBC sometimes you can get ahead of things if you know what I'm saying
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I see that too! Nice thing about the Southern - Grambling game...if you have an antenna for NBC sometimes you can get ahead of things if you know what I'm saying
Hell I don't even know where to buy an antenna
Sad to see Lafayette's season end in a tough loss. Once their QB went down they were done. The Delaware QB almost lost the game for the Hens in the 1H anyway.

Sac State played the QB they should've played all year. Read maybe he has some attitude issues or something and erratic play, they started giving the Fr some reps, but that Fr didn't see the field today.

Disappointed I had a bad read on UTC-AP as that game ended up being overweight for me on teasers and MLs, I just needed them to win. Better team won...with their backup QB. Good for them.

Didn't watch a whole lot of the NCCU-Richmond game, just looks like it got away from NCCU then they weren't good enough to handle it. Will be lots of anti-HBCU football fans saying 'I told you so' on that one.

Drake, LOL. Any 1H players here? How about that TD pass with like :17 to go in the 1H to win by 32 at HT laying 27? That was nice.

YSU covers 1H in final minute as well. YSU scored 40, but left more points out there, multiple FGs in the RZ and a SOD at the goal line. I don't think they play clean enough football to beat Villanova, but I'm looking forward to that game.

What should the Mercer team total be at SDSU? 9.5?

That Bayou Classic game was kind of nuts!

SIU scores 35 and it still stays Under a mid-40s total, bad showing by Nicholls, I didn't think they were bad like that. SIU D is very good though. It makes me laugh a little that SIU has real big on that one EZ wall "National Champions 1983". This was their first playoff game in that stadium, just seems like so so so so so long ago to make that a focal point. 40 year anniversary for them, so maybe they go on a run? Interesting to see their D at Idaho now.

Was nice that DK had some live action today, thanks KJ for mentioning that.
2023 FCS round 2 bracket.png

Auto-qualifier teams went 0-6 ATS/SU in the first round. Many people do not like the AQ entries. There's things I do like and things I don't like about the FCS or the FBS playoff systems - and I have to say my favorite thing is actually the auto-qualifying for conference champions. I have long believed that if there is going to be a playoff in this or any division that the teams in that division must have access to the playoff. Winning one's own conference sets clear and attainable goals that every team knows and can strive for with the reward of a chance in the post season and a national championship. So I hope it never changes. After this week's games, the critics will be vocal.

Very happy the kickoff times are more spread out this week with two late games!

12:00 pm
12:00 pm
Youngstown State
01:00 pm
02:00 pm
South Dakota State
02:00 pm
Sacramento St
South Dakota
03:00 pm
North Dakota State
Montana State
09:00 pm
10:00 pm
So Illinois
10:00 pm

04:00 pm
Prairie View
Florida A&M


  • 2023 round 2.pdf
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2023 First Round saw 5 favs cover, 3 dogs with 2 upsets. Home teams were 5-3 ATS. 4 Overs, 4 Unders. That brings the last 3 year first round totals to:

Favorites 13 (56.5%) / Dogs 10 (6 upsets, 26% upset wins)
Overs 14 / Unders 10
Home teams 15-9 ATS & 19-5 SU
Home favs 13-9 ATS & 17-5 SU
Home dogs 1-0 ATS & SU

Favorites 1-7.5 : 6-4 ATS & 8-2 SU
Favorites 8-13.5 : 2-2 ATS & 4-0 SU
Favorites 14-20.5 : 1-2 ATS & 2-1 SU
Favorites 21+ : 6-0 ATS & SU
*note one game was pick'em that is why some records only add to 23 rather than 24


2021-2022 Second round:

Favorites 9 (56.2%) / Dogs 7 (1 upset, 6.2% upset wins)
Overs 10 / Unders 6
Home teams 11-5 ATS, 15-1 SU
Home favs 9-5 ATS, 14-0 SU -or- said another way Favored seeded teams 9-5 ATS, 14-0 SU
Home dogs 2-0 ATS, 1-1 SU -or- said another way Dogged seeded teams 2-0 ATS, 1-1 SU

Favorites 1-7.5 : 3-3 ATS & 5-1 SU
Favorites 8-13.5 : 3-3 ATS & 6-0 SU
Favorites 14-20.5 : 3-1 ATS & 4-0 SU
Favorites 21+ : 0-0

*note the "upset" was a dogged seeded team at home knocking off an at-large road fav (#7 ETSU+3 beat Kennesaw 2021). The home team that lost was 2021 #4 Sac State, SDSU won 24-19 as a 7pt road fav.
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SDSU line is really high. Nobody has been higher than a 17 pt favorite in the second round the last two years.

Have to believe that Montana will be in the quarter/semi finals as Delaware, UTC/Furman are unlikely to beat them. I don't know who I think will win the NDSU/Montana State game at the moment and outside shot that the USD/Sac State team could beat either one of those winners. So saying the top of the right side of the bracket is pretty uncertain, while the bottom right with Montana is safer. +700 for a team in the semis, if they win that, those are higher odds than their ML would be vs presumably SDSU. Right?
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Have to believe that Montana will be in the quarter/semi finals as Delaware, UTC/Furman are unlikely to beat them. I don't know who I think will win the NDSU/Montana State game at the moment and outside shot that the USD/Sac State team could beat either one of those winners. So saying the top of the right side of the bracket is pretty uncertain, while the bottom right with Montana is safer. +700 for a team in the semis, if they win that, those are higher odds than their ML would be vs presumably SDSU. Right?
+700 stood out to me. +475 on ndsu seems like horrible value considering they are basically a coin flip this week on the road.
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+700 stood out to me. +475 on sdsu seems like horrible value considering they are basically a coin flip this week on the road.
Yeah. You mean ndsu

The perception of Montana State is low right now. But the thing that everyone should consider is that all their losses were on the road and the SDSU and Idaho games were close, the Griz game was not. But still, they were capable of beating both SDSU and Idaho....and they are home here. Just like there isn't much value on NDSU's odds to win the Title, there aren't in this game either. Probably value on the Cats at +1500. I don't know if I would pick Sac State to beat USD, but if they did then Montana State gets another home game and it's a Cat-Griz rematch in the semis, in a game like that, sure we saw the first go-around, that is no guarantee it would be the same next time. I think before the last Cat-Griz game Montana and Montana State were both +800. Slight adjustment for Montana, huge downgrade for the Cats.
The bottom left quadrant is interesting to me. Not sure I trust Idaho. I think I'm taking SIU and the points.
Do they update the title odds live during games? -155 is still probably value on SDSU but would love to get it lower if they start slow on Saturday
Do they update the title odds live during games? -155 is still probably value on SDSU but would love to get it lower if they start slow on Saturday

No, I believe they take them down on DK, or I don’t know where they hide them. MGM is supppsed to have odds but I’ve never been able to find them on their site/app.
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Love the first two dogs and the Grizz shouldn't be laying 17.5 to anyone with a pulse
I haven't looked at any of the power ratings for a while to see where they have the numbers vs where early betting action may've taken them.

The Delaware number from below 14 to over 17 could be reaction of the QB situation (third stringer with 3 INTs last week) and the fact they nearly lost to a Patriot team. Minicucci wasn't bad for them when he wasn't turning it over and he got that behind him in the 1H. I'm not sure who plays QB for Delaware, the result will probably be the same. I'm curious to see how the Delaware D holds up.

I need to turn some attention to these games pretty soon. I always find my interests starting to shift around this time of year.
I haven't looked at any of the power ratings for a while to see where they have the numbers vs where early betting action may've taken them.

The Delaware number from below 14 to over 17 could be reaction of the QB situation (third stringer with 3 INTs last week) and the fact they nearly lost to a Patriot team. Minicucci wasn't bad for them when he wasn't turning it over and he got that behind him in the 1H. I'm not sure who plays QB for Delaware, the result will probably be the same. I'm curious to see how the Delaware D holds up.

I need to turn some attention to these games pretty soon. I always find my interests starting to shift around this time of year.
It's the lunar calendar

Fighting through that is a pain in the ass
I have not had a strong feel on the SWAC most of the year. I've played FAMU several times and only won on them a couple. People like to talk about how strong FAMU is, but when one is familiar with expectations on covering a point spread as a favorite, I can atest, they aren't that impressive when the measuring criteria is the point spread. Typically their games come down close to the spread in the final score.

Working recent to oldest:

Beat Bethune by 17 as 15.5 pt fav = 1.5 pt cover
Beat A&M by 14 as 13.5 pt fav = .5 pt cover
Beat PV by 38 as 21 pt fav = 17 pt cover
Beat Texas Southern by 10 as 17.5 pt fav = 7.5 pt loss
Beat Southern by 7 as 8.5 pt fav = 1.5 pt loss
Beat Valley by 24 as 31.5 pt fav = 7.5 pt loss
Beat ASU by 13 as 17.5 pt fav = 4.5 pt loss

Those are their SWAC games as a favorite. Obviously the one that jumps out is PV and that is who they play this week!

PV pulled two upsets in their last two games to get here. Beat ASU 21-14 as 6pt dog (+120y) and beat Southern 27-10 as 9.5 pt dogs (+20y). They weren't overly impressive in either, just that they beat a couple other inconsistent SWAC teams. I've learned this year, my first in following any of the SWAC teams that while the upper teams in the league are pretty decent, they get the record they have by beating some not very good SWAC teams along the way. I think FAMU is pretty decent, but nothing special really. They have some star power and do some good things on O, but you can see their margin of victories related to point spreads, they aren't blowing teams away.

The one team they did blow away was PV! FAMU outgained them by 233 ttl yards. FAMU held them to just 3.3 ypp, that was PV's second lowest on the year (their lowest was 2.7 vs HCU). PV has avg 43 runs per game their last 4, while only attempting 20 passes per. They are the most run heavy O in the SWAC. They have on occasion been good running the ball, like they ran for 220y and 6.5 on Valley mid season or 301y 5.0 on ACU kind of surprisingly early season, but FAMU limited them to just 127 on 42 att (3.0) last time they played 4 weeks ago - 9 Rattler D TFLs helps that. FAMU is the SWAC's top D in most categories. If FAMU can have similar success vs the run, then PV isn't likely to do well passing. PV only hit 38% completions passing and threw 3 INTs. That is not an outlier, as PV completed 50% or fewer passes in two other games, but that was their only multi-INT game. Not surprisingly, they have attempted the fewest passes and have the second lowest completion % (51).

As dogs, PV is 3-1 ATS with the 3 wins all being upset outright wins, the lone loss of course was vs FAMU. They were outgained in 2 of thier 3 dog covers/wins with the yardage differential on avg in those 3 being -57 ypg.

FAMU has outgained everyone they have played by a little to a lot. Not great spread success, as favorites just 3-4 ATS, but the 3 have all come in a row to close the season. FAMU had their best yardage game vs an FCS opponent last time they played PV (453 ttl yards, 8.4ypp) and one of their better rushing outputs (181y 6.2ypc).

FAMU has won 10 regular season games for the first time since 1999 and is on a 19 game home winning streak and a 15 game overall SWAC streak.

Current FAMU HC Willie Simmons was at PV 2015-2017 before he came to FAMU. He won coach of the year this season. This is FAMU's first SWAC title game appearance since joining the league in 2021. PV has won the SWAC 11 times, but the last was 2009. 2021 they played for a SWAC title but were defeated at Jackson State 27-10 (+8). FAMU put 13 players on the All SWAC team, PV got 2.

Not sure why this line for FAMU at home is lower now (17.5) than it was before (21). Perhaps there is some assumption that PV is better now they won 3 straight since their FAMU loss. Typically it is a key turnover in one half or the other that keeps FAMU games close. Moussa is good, but he had thrown 8 picks and as a team they have lost 16 turnovers to 17 gained for just a +1 margin. I generally trust Moussa though and their D is good enough to create turnovers and negative plays.

I don't think Prairie Vies is a good team, they have been beat by 2 TDs+ 4x this year. I'd have to take FAMU although I can see it being closer to the spread even though it was not the first time - FAMU games just seem to be played close to the numbers typically. If you are interested in a FAMU 1H play? FAMU has led by 2 TDs or more 4x this year at HT (led PV 21-7 4 weeks ago at HT). For a 2H play, in games they did not lead by (or I could say 'cover' the 1H even though I did not document the 1H spreads), in the games they did not cover the 1H, in 4 other of those games they outscored their opponents by DDs in the 2H. So it has to be FAMU one way or the other here, they could cover 1H and then allow a back door maybe, or if you see they are close at HT, they should be a good bet 2H. I see BOL has a 1H number for this game and as such, I assume there would be some live possiblilities with it as well.
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This is the highest home spread for Albany, now -8, but they have won by good margin at home this year. Beat Monmouth by 41 (-3.5), beat W&M by 16 (-5), beat URI by 25 (-5), beat Villanova by 21 (+4) and beat Fordham by 21 (-4.5). Villanova is the only playoff team Albany has played. If we say that UNH and URI are fringe playoff caliber, they lost a close game at UNH by 7 (yards basically even) and then they beat URI bad and outgained them by +229y. They are 5-2 ATS overall as a favorite this year, allowed a backdoor vs Stony Brook in the final minutes or else they could be 6-1.

It's a team that is led by their great defense and a good offense. The D is top 10 nationally in scoring, total yardage, RZ D (42% TDs allowed), #1 run D and #1 sack D - both their DEs are DD sacks guys! They sacked the Villanova QB 7x and constantly harassed him on several other plays - the Nova QB was really athletic and able to get off some pretty amazing passes that vs other teams could've been even more sacks. The run D, their last regular season game of the year they shut down Jaden Shirden, held him to just 49y on 14att. Who is he? Shirden is the NCAA's leading rusher this year with 1478y! The only team that ran on Albany all year was Marshall, 145 (5.6). Monmouth was the best FCS rush O they played, shut them down. Villanova can run it pretty good too, they sacks in that game skew the overall numbers, Nova RBs did avg 6.47 ypc. Albany D creates a ton of turnovers, 24 total turnovers gained this year, #t-3 in the country, their margin is +9 goog enough for 12th place. They have All American caliber players all over the D, DEs (Juncaj and Simon), LB (Kelly - CAA D POY) and CB (Hall - who is a Richmond transfer). The O is mostly driven by second year QB Poffenbarger, he's thrown 31 TDs which leads the FCS (9 INTS, 58%, 13.5 ypc) - he can also run and escape pressure which makes their O as good as it is. As a team they aren't a strong running team and may have some weakness on OL in terms of playoff level play. They don't have a strong ypc and do allow some TFLs and pressure (3.6ypc rush O and allow 6 TFLs and 2.5 sacks per game is not great).

Richmond is a pretty similar team - they don't rank quite as high like Albany does, but they do have a better 3rd down conversion D (28.4% - 3rd nationally), have a top 20 run D, a top 10 sack and TFL D. Also very good RZ D like Albany (47% TDs allowed). That 24 turnovers gained that Albany has, well guess one of the teams they are tied 3rd ncaa for? Richmond! Their D has 15 INTs. They have a negative TO ratio because of all the injuries and struggles they had on O the first half of the year. They turned it over 11x their first 5 games of the year, but just 8x their last 7 games. The schedule in the CAA is such right now that there are a lot of teams who don't play other teams in the league, that makes for some tough comparisons. Like Albany only played one of the three other CAA playoff teams this year. Richmond played none of the league's playoff teams this season! Each team played URI who was just below bubble type team, Richmond was a road underdog at URI and the Spiders came away with a close 24-17 win, yet they were outgained by -102y in that one (URI only 1 TD on 4 RZ trips). That misleading win was likely the key game for their season. Richmond has been an underdog just twice vs FCS this season and won both outright (URI and W&M). W&M came down to the final play, a 2pt conv with :00 on the clock that W&M couldn't convert in a 1 pt game. W&M outgained them by 69y - so Richmond was outgained in both their dog wins. Their D generally leads them as well, but the O can be good just like Albany's. Richmond does it more rushing, and it is often with QB Wickersham who either leads each week or is right there closely in the number 2 rushing spot. They have had some big rushing games of late, 215 (6.0) on NCCU last week, 196 (4.9) on W&M, 235 (6.0) on Elon 3 games ago. Wickersham was injured early in the year and the O was lost for a while (they started 4 different QBs this year), but since mid season and Wickersham's healthy return, they have found a lot of success and occasionally balance through the air as well, but it isn't as good or as efficient of a passing game as Albany, better on the ground. Richmond does not have stud DEs like Albany, still a good pressure D, and they have a top notch MLB like Albany in Wheeler who is just 1.5 tkl per game behind Kelly at Albany. What they may lack in an outstanding CB, they make up for with a standout S in Banks. The make up of these defenses are very similar.

Richmond has been a good team for a while, playoff caliber and former national title winning team. Albany has not. The last time these teams played was 2019 and Richmond has won all 7 recent games in the series 2013-2019. Those past results aren't likely important. But postseason success and experience may be. This is the 13th time Richmond has made the playoffs, last year they lost in the second round at Sac State, but really played well in that one losing just by 7 at 15pt dog (Richmond led 31-24 after 3Q in that one). I don't know their ATS road record, but see they are 7-8 all time in the playoffs on the road. Albany was last in the playoffs in 2019 and this is just their 3rd playoff appearance.

I do think I would pick Albany to win straight up. I think their D is equal to or better than Richmond's and their QB and passing game is also better. Not sure that Richmond's strength in running is going to work out as well vs the Albany D. The running QB may present Albany something they haven't had to deal with as much this year though (W&M's good starting QB was out when they played Albany). This line is getting high though. I know Albany has won by sizable margins in all their home games this year, including vs a good Villanova team. I'm just not willing to lay this many with them vs another quality and in some ways, similar team. If it is live I will certainly be looking for a chance to get Albany at a discount to just win me the game or I could ML them. I have been MLing a lot of favorites this year. At 8 I think I would have to play the dog in what should be a lower scoring and potentially close game. 48.5 looks a little high. I might compare this game to Albany's one vs W&M, that game saw just 32 pts on a 42.5 pt total. Also their Villanova game scored just 41 pts on a 49.5 pt total. Those are probably the most comparable to this game - they were also one-sided, so if Richmond were to compete better and hang in a +8 line then I'd have to assume that this game sees more pts than either the W&M or Nova Albany games. If Albany covers, then it may be more likely to stay Under assuming the Albany D is doing well vs the Richmond O. The Richmond D vs the Albany O is the wildcard, I'm not sure many are expected that, but what if the Richmond D is the better unit on the field in this one? Hmmm... And for Richmond, they did combine to score 53 on a 40.5 pt total at W&M. Otherwise I'm not sure they have played against a D as good as Albany's. I'd assume defenses are more in control of this game than offenses. I just noticed that they do have a common opponent in Morgan State, but both played them very early in the season, don't think there is much to take from that. Albany played them in significant weather as well.
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The second 12 o'clock game Saturday is YSU at Villanova. This is a game where YSU's biggest weakness on their team, the secondary, could burn them. There were plays to be made in the 1H by Duquesne, Dukes receivers dropped balls. There have always been plays to be made in this YSU secondary all season. Of the 24 playoff teams, they have the worst yards per play vs the pass D, the worst overall ypp allowed and also the second worst explosive play rate against (Nicholls was 24th). Villanova has the #1 explosive play rate offense and the #1 yards per pass O. Those stats are from the SI article linked earlier in this thread. This will be the best offense not named SDSU that YSU has played all season, and YSU's D has struggled, both home and away. So SDSU gained 7.9 ypp against them, that's the #1 team, so that's kind of the bar I guess. The Jacks ran for 5.7 on them. Missouri State had a lot of success passing on them as well - Penguins got a lot of sacks and TFLs in that games, but Missouri State's RBs did well vs YSU (10.3 and 5.9 ypc from their top two backs). Illinois State ran for 7.0 on YSU. South Dakota averaged about 187 ypg passing vs their other FCS opponents this year - they did pass for 332 on UND, but their best passing output of the year was vs YSU, 369y with 15.3 ypc and 80%! Villanova has had one bad offensive game vs FCS this year and that was at Albany - Albany has an outstanding D, YSU's track record is contrary of that. Villanova O has ran for over 6.0 ypc 5x in the last 8 games, they avg 6.28 per rush over their last 5 games. Couple that with the CAA's most efficient passing game, one that often creates big plays with a dual threat QB. Wilkins hasn't had to run it much lately, but he has a couple 100y rushing games this year - not many QBs in this playoffs capable of throwing for 300 or rushing for 100 on any given game. So this is going to be a big challenge for YSU's D.

This YSU O could also be a challenge for Villanova. YSU was completely shut down by SDSU, so the possiblity exists that can be duplicated. Nova D has high marks across the defensive statistic metrics. They held Delaware to a ssn low in ttl yards (296) and ypp (4.6) while allowing just 7 pts. Elon was once a hot team, Nova limited them to just 99 ttl yards (2.6). URI - held them to a ssn low 241 (4.4), that was weather assisted. So that is the Nova D at their best vs good competition. They do have some other games vs Albany and UNH where those teams had some success on O, they combined to avg 378.5ypg with a 5.55ypp while scoring 31 and 33 respectively. So that implies that if YSU is at their best, there is some opportunity to move the ball and score on this D. Outside of the SDSU game, YSU's O has had some very strong games - notably 445 ttl yards (7.3) and 31 pts on a tough USD team. And it was more limited in yardage, but vs a stout SIU D, YSU only gained 323y and 5.0 on them because starting field position was so great for Penguins in that game, but they did twice drive the length of the field on that good SIU D. SI complied stats show YSU to be a top 12 playoff offense pretty much across the board, but even their explosive play metric, they do not usually get big plays by the run, but downfield passing is a strength of this team - it's a 70% completion team while still averaging 12 yards per.

Each of these teams have had a lot of playoff success and have played eachother in the post season three times in the 1990s. Villanova is in the playoffs for the 3rd time in the last 5 years - they made it in 2019 and 2021. Last time they made it in 2021, they were a #5 seed and beat Holy Cross in the second round by 5, failed to cover a 13.5 pt line, then hosted SDSU in the quarters, but lost by 14 as a 7 pt dog. This is the first time YSU has made the playoffs since 2016. That year YSU won two road games on the way to a national title game appearance (loss).

This game would seem like an Over unless their is some rust from the Nova O. Only twice out of 10 FCS games this year was Nova held below 30 pts and for YSU only twice out of 11 FCS games have they been held below 30 pts.

As for the side...tough to side with the YSU D. Penguins have not played as well on the road. Some critical mental mistaks/penalties cost them in close losses at UNI and USD. They failed to cover as favorites at Ind St and Murray St. Overall just 1-3 ATS vs FCS on the road this year, 1-1 as a dog, 0-2 SU as a dog - but lost by just 3 pts each in those. They've had the O on the road vs the good teams, but the D has failed them. The D limited the bad teams they played on the road, but the O wasn't there for them. Penalties have been a problem. 10 for 83y at Indiana State. 10 for 75y at USD. It wasn't the number of penalties vs UNI, but all of them led to 4 FDs by way of penalty. The penalties have kept drives alive, even last week, Duquesne was punting, but YSU was offside and Duquesne's O came back out and they went on to score a TD, on a drive they were punting on. This has happened numerous times to YSU this season, offsides in multiple games like Duq and UNI, roughing/running into the punter happened vs USD and vs Ill St which led to them getting points. A pass interference call that could be said lost them the USD game. These kinds of mistakes are frequent for them, that is what I mean when I say I don't think YSU plays a clean enough game to beat a team like Villanova. It is the reason they didn't beat USD and UNI.

Neither team is big at forcing or getting turnovers on D. YSU is excellent with limiting them on O (only lost 9 all year). Villanova hasn't been bad with turnovers, they've been good enough to overcome the 1 or 2 a game here or there they lost, but they did lose 5 at Albany when the Albany D was just wreaking havoc against them. I really don't think either offense has a problem with TOs and neither D has been especially good at creating them.

With all that said, I think YSU will be a tough out, it just comes down to how well their pass D plays. I think Villanova wins, looking towards the Over and I'm just not sure what I would do with the spread, I could take the dog but don't love it.
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