Well 11 is in the books with Houston Baptist beating SFA 31-24, UCA stopping the Colonels march and getting the win 31-24, and Southeastern over Abilene Christian 31-19. As predicted, we had a Cardinal win on Saturday, with the Incarnate Word Cardinals beating the Lamar Cardinals 35-28, and not surprisingly, Sam demolished Northwestern State 48-16.
Now, we have reached the final week of the regular season with the match up that everyone has wanted to see between Central Arkansas and Sam Houston. Unfortunately for teams who made good runs (Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese) their season will probably come to an end this week.
Before we go into the week 12 predictions, I wanted to take a moment to thank you, the readers, for taking a few minutes out of your day to read my non-Pulitzer prize winning work. Your support here, plus for the other columns, and the FCS Wedge is just what we need at the FCS level of football. Hopefully, I’ll get to come back next year and do this again, but know that it was a pleasure to do it for you this year.
One last time, without further ado, it’s time for the week 12 “Rev”-elations.
Southeastern Louisiana at Nicholls State
It’s River Bell week in Southeastern Louisiana as the Lions head to Thibodaux to face the Colonels. This is a great rivalry to watch in the Southland as the schools are 80 miles apart and usually put on a good show for the River Bell Trophy. This year has bigger implications as Southeastern Louisiana needs this win in order to have an outside shot at an at-large bid in the playoffs. The Lions would finish 7-4 (7-2) and losses to Southern Utah and Lamar might hurt their chances to play over Thanksgiving weekend. The Colonels have the chance to finish at over .500 for the first time in nearly a decade, and would end up with a very impressive 6-3 finish in the Southland Conference. Their defense should be strong enough to put a stop to the Lion offense, and I think the River Bell stays in Thibodaux, and crushed playoff dreams live in Hammond, as the Colonels win 24-21.
Houston Baptist at Incarnate Word
Can we start calling this game the “Holy War”? I’m open to suggestions for this one. Houston Baptist coming in after beating the Lumberjacks, and, no matter the result of this week’s game, will have had their most successful season of football since starting the program, with a potential 5-6 finish on the line in San Antonio. For UIW, this hasn’t been the season to remember, with losses to D2 A&M-Kingsville amongst their woes, but the school has the money to grow and develop their program at the FCS level. As for this game, I think the Huskies take the win, beating Incarnate Word 28-17.
Central Arkansas at Sam Houston State
Here it is folks, your Southland Conference Game of the Week and Game of the Year wrapped up in one. Central Arkansas comes in to this game barely getting past Nicholls state, and they are looking to go undefeated in the conference, win the championship, and get a potential seed in the playoffs. This, without a doubt, is one of the best teams UCA has fielded, and regardless of outcome, they’ll be playing in the post season and have the potential to go deep in the playoffs. One issue they have is that they tend to start games very slowly, and Sam could use this to their advantage. Sam comes in to this beating the hapless Demons, and they are trying to show the Playoff Committee that if they win, they deserve the top seed over schools like EWU, JSU, and NDSU. There has been zero question of Sam’s offensive prowess. Jeremiah Briscoe has shown that he flat out deserves the Payton award for his performance this year, and they have so many weapons in their arsenal. Sam’s secondary is their only weakness, and it will be interesting to see if UCA can contain Sam’s front seven and exploit the secondary.
This is a tough game to call, but I have to go with Sam Houston on this. If UCA starts slow, Sam could jump to a big lead that UCA won’t be able to catch up from, and I think that happens. Sam wins 41-31.
Lamar at McNeese
It’s the Battle of the Border as the Cardinals cross the Sabine River and head to Lake Charles. For Lamar, the wheels are falling of the bus, and they are limping their way through the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see how Lamar rebounds for the 2017 campaign, and hopefully they put together a competitive team, as the Southland needs it. McNeese has had their own ups and down this year and there haven’t been many reasons to sway and clap. If McNeese gets the win, they will finish 6-5, and you know they will be back in the title hunt in 2017. McNeese wins big 35-18.
Northwestern State at Stephen F Austin
It’s the Battle for Chief Caddo, the tallest trophy in NCAA Division 1 football, as the Demons head to Nacogdoches to face the Jacks. For both teams, this has been a season to forget. Northwestern State has the potential to end the season without a win in conference and against Division 1 competition, period. For SFA, after a loss to Houston Baptist, it’s hard to imagine that Clint Conque keeps his job, even if they beat Northwestern State, given that he will finish the past two seasons with sub .500 records. While SFA has the talent, the quarterback by committee design failed. For how bad SFA has been this year, the Demons are worse and I think Chief Caddo will like his home in Nacogdoches, as SFA wins 42-17.