The first 3 weeks of the season have given us lots of shocks and surprises. Here is a list of games you must watch in Week 4 to get the big picture of who’s who in FCS football.
|Saturday, Sept 24
|East Tennessee State
|Fox Sports AZ
- Charleston Southern was a team on the rise in 2015 and they started 2016 with a bang. Their Week 0 game with NDSU was a heavyweight fight that went into OT before the Bison pulled out the win. Since that game CSU has seen some rough times. Their team faced some off the field issues and the on the field action involved a big win over a sub D-I school and a beat down from Florida State while a lot of the CSU players were suspended. This week’s game against Monmouth is the start of their run in the Big South and with their non-conference schedule, a Big South title is their best bet to make the playoffs. Monmouth is off to a 2-1 start with wins over Lehigh and Delaware State.
- East Tennessee State revived their football program in 2015 and this is their first season back in the Southern Conference. 2016 is off to a shocking 2-0 start and this week the Bucs take on Wofford. Wofford has won the games they were expected to win and this game may be a bigger challenge than the Terriers expected going into the season.
- Preseason SoCon favorite Chattanooga hosts a feisty Samford team coming off a bye week. Chatanooga was challenged by a scrappy Furman team in Week 3 to get their first SoCon win of the season. Samford is coming off of a win over Central Arkansas. The winner of this game will be the most likely team to challenge The Citadel (2-0 SoCon) for the conference title.
- Both Montana and Cal Poly both picked up big non-conference wins in the first 3 weeks and now the teams meet up for what will be both teams’ 1st Big Sky conference game of the 2016 season. Cal Poly has won the last 2 matchups against the Griz and the game before that went to overtime. This game looks to be a big part of deciding who wins the Big Sky title in 2016.
- Western Illinois is off to a great start at 2-0 with wins over two Top 40 FCS opponents. Their in-state FBS rival Northern Illinois is off to a rough start and is clearly in the crosshairs for a potential upset. This game gives WIU a chance to continue their climb in the polls and get some home-state bragging rights for 2016.
- Richmond is coming off of a shocking upset and is missing some key pieces. Colgate had a Cinderella run in the 2015 FCS playoffs and stomped Yale last weekend. This is a great non-conference match-up between two programs who made deep runs in 2015. I expect it to be a close one.
- Stony Brook is making a splash on the national scene with their unexpected beat down of a highly ranked Richmond squad last weekend. Sacred Heart is off to a 3-0 start against 3 Pioneer League opponents. This game gives us a chance to see an upward trending Stony Brook team and should be a barometer on where this Sacred Heart team is at heading into NEC play.
- Eastern Washington has had an exciting roller coaster of ups and downs in the first few weeks of the season with an FBS win, an OT loss, and a last-minute win on a fake FG. They get their first Big Sky challenge on the road against a highly touted Northern Arizona squad that is looking to get things on track before the wheels fall of their 2016 playoff hopes. Expect a high scoring track meet.
- Jacksonville State got its first challenge of the 2016 season last week against a transitional Coastal Carolina squad. Liberty has had a tough schedule to start 2016, taking on 2 FBS opponents in their first 3 weeks. Jacksonville State needs this win to continue their quest for a top seed and Liberty needs the win if they want a chance at an at-large bid.
- Central Arkansas is off to a 2-0 start in the Southland Conference, but lost a key out of conference match-up against Samford. This week the Bears get a chance to take on an in-state FBS opponent against Arkansas State. This game should give us an idea if the Bears are in the mix for the SLC title, an at-large bid, or spending Thanksgiving at home.
- Saint Francis has been off to an interesting start in 2016. They started off the season with a surprising performance in a loss against Montana, battled Towson within a touchdown, and then defeated Columbia. It seems like the Red Flash have improved. Albany is off to a 3-0 start including an FBS win. A win on Saturday for Albany and the playoffs should be in the Great Danes plans for 2016.
- Portland State and Southern Utah both made playoff appearances in 2015 and left high hopes for the 2016 season. Portland State essentially scheduled themselves out of at-large contention by playing 2 FBS opponents and a sub D-I team. Southern Utah is coming off of a decent non-conference win over Southeastern Louisiana. This is both team’s first Big Sky clash of the season and Portland State really needs a Division I win if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.