The conference battles are heating up this weekend. As a new feature this week you can now click the streaming links to watch the games live. ESPN3 does not provide links to individual games this far in advance and the Montana-Southern Utah game seems to be lacking a direct link as well. For the rest of the games, clicking the link will take you right to the game. Here’s a breakdown of the games you need to see in Week 5:
|Saturday, October 1st||Time(CST)||TV|
|Cal Poly||@||North Dakota||1:00pm||MidCoSN/ STREAM|
|Illinois State||@||North Dakota State||1:00pm||NBC(ND)/ESPN3|
|William and Mary||@||New Hampshire||2:30pm||ESPN3|
|Stephen F Austin||@||Sam Houston State||3:00pm||ESPN3|
|Southern Illinois||@||Northern Iowa||4:00pm||ESPN3|
|Western Illinois||@||South Dakota State||6:00pm||ESPN3|
|Nicholls State||@||McNeese State||6:00pm||ESPN3|
- Delaware is off to a good start in 2016 and Saturday they will start their conference slate against James Madison. The Dukes are 3-1 with their only loss coming to FBS opponent North Carolina. JMU is the current favorite to win the conference so this game should give us an idea of how much improvement Delaware has made.
- Cal Poly is coming on as the dark horse candidate in the Big Sky this season. Their back-to-back wins over South Dakota State and Montana have them rocketing up the polls. This weekend they take on a North Dakota team that has righted the ship, winning their last two games after opening the season 0-2. Can the Mustangs keep it rolling against a feisty UND squad?
- Illinois State lost some pieces in the off-season but jumped out to a 2-0 start to the season including a win over Northwestern (Big Ten). In the past two weeks they have struggled and find themselves back at .500. This weekend isn’t any easier as they head to Fargo to take on 5-time champion North Dakota State who is off to an undefeated start and almost made the FBS Top 25. Which streak will continue: The Redbirds losing streak or the Bison win streak?
- Wofford has performed as expected in their first four games. They won the three games they were expected to and lost to their FBS opponent (Ole Miss). Samford is coming off a loss in their first challenge of the SoCon season. The lost at Chattanooga leaves the Bulldogs in an early hole for the auto-bid. This game will be huge towards deciding which team challenges for the SoCon crown and which team finishes in the middle of the pack.
- William and Mary left the nation stunned when they fell to Elon last weekend 27-10. New Hampshire is off to a lackluster start and hasn’t generated much excitement in the fan base, but they are 1-0 in the CAA. This game should go a long ways towards deciding which way this season will go for both teams.
- Speaking of Elon, they won’t be sneaking up on Villanova this weekend after the aforementioned victory over William and Mary. Nova should still be the favorites, but we will find out if we need to keep an eye on Elon for the rest of the season.
- Keeping things in the CAA we have Towson and Richmond battling for their first conference wins. Richmond was the heavy favorite to win the CAA until Stony Brook demolished them two weeks ago. They bounced back with a nice win over Colgate.
- Stephen F Austin stepped up as a challenger for the Southland title with an early win against McNeese State. We’ll see if the Lumberjacks have what it takes when they take on Sam Houston State in the Battle of Piney Woods in Houston. SHSU lacks any signature wins to start the season but is once again expected to win the SLC crown. The winner of this game will have a leg up in the race but will still have to contend with Central Arkansas.
- Southern Utah is off to a solid start but faces their biggest challenge of the season when they head to Missoula to face a Montana team coming off of a tough loss. The Grizzlies had a record-breaking passing day against Cal Poly and fell just short due to some untimely turnovers. Will Montana right the ship or will Southern Utah continue their climb towards another playoff berth?
- Northern Iowa has had two straight games that just didn’t quite go their way. This weekend they host Southern Illinois for homecoming. When these teams meet you can set aside all of the stats and records. Southern Illinois seems to have improved since last season and will be looking to keep the Panthers on their losing streak.
- Western Illinois joins Cal Poly as one of the most shocking starts to the season. The Leathernecks are off to a 3-0 start with an FBS win. South Dakota State is coming off of a bye week, but the week before that they were roughed up by that same Cal Poly team. The Jackrabbits are hoping for some defensive improvement to keep them in the playoff hunt.
- Nicholls State had a chance to essentially tie North Dakota State for the biggest FBS upset of the season when they had Georgia on the ropes. Then they headed to South Alabama and ended up with a 2nd close loss to an FBS school. This will be Nicholls’ first FCS challenge of the season and many of us will be keeping an eye on this score to know what to make of this year’s squad. McNeese State is off to a slow start and needs this win to stay in the Southland autobid.