2019 FCS Playoffs: CSJ Playoff Picks, Round 2

This weekend eight seeded teams join the FCS Playoff party, including North Dakota State, who has made December dome football a North Dakota tradition, and four teams from the Big Sky, who saw an unprecedented four teams seeded in the playoffs. As a result, seven of the eight games are being played west of the Mississippi River.

Check out what CSJ thought of the FCS first round games here.

If you want to feel smart and see what games we’ve picked wrong in our original brackets, click here.

CSJ’s previews of the 2019 FCS Playoffs Second Round Games (including links to live streams on ESPN3)

1:00 PM EST: Monmouth at James Madison

Chuck Burton: Monmouth has the offense to beat anybody in this field, but Holy Cross exposed some potential issues on special teams for the Hawks and JMU won’t be taken by surprise by their offense. JMU will win, but Monmouth’s stellar offense seems to ensure that the outcome could be in doubt way into the second half. James Madison 34, Monmouth 27

Kent Schmidt: Monmouth was impressive in its win at home against Patriot League champion Holy Cross last week. The competition, however, gets much tougher this week for the Hawks. The Dukes had two weeks to get healthy and be ready for a playoff run. JMU wins easily. James Madison 41, Monmouth 10

Jamie Williams: Monmouth may be able to score a couple times early, but the Dukes always adjust. The Hawks season will end against a superior opponent. JMU has its sights set on Frisco and will make a statement here in the second round. James Madison 42, Monmouth 17

Ray Maloney: Can you say upset? Kenji Bahar and Pete Guerriero will prove to be too much for the JMU defense to handle. Monmouth 32, James Madison 28

2:00 PM EST: Northern Iowa at South Dakota State

Chuck: One of the few regular-season rematches in this second round of the playoffs. It seems destined to be a low-scoring, cold-weather game, which would appear to favor the Jackrabbits. I wouldn’t be surprised to see UNI advance, but the Jacks do seem to have an ever-so-slight advantage. The kicking game might be the difference. South Dakota State 16, Northern Iowa 13

Kent: Both teams have had their struggles on offense so expect this game to be a low scoring contest. Turnovers as was seen in the last game these two played three weeks ago was the main reason for the SDSU victory. South Dakota State 24, Northern Iowa 13

Jamie: The Jackrabbits may have blown out UNI a few weeks ago, but that wont happen this week. The Panthers pull the upset. Northern Iowa 20, South Dakota State 17

Ray: South Dakota State started off the season strong, but the loss to NDSU hurt not only in the terms of the league standings, but in the loss of the Jacks’ QB to injury. SDSU seems to have been playing with fire while trying to get by on backups. The magic runs out for the Jackrabbits: Northern Iowa 24, South Dakota State 21

3:00 PM EST: Albany (NY) at Montana State

Chuck: Albany head coach Greg Gattuso will want to have memorized the game film from the Sacramento State/Montana State game in Bozeman back in October, because Albany will need a similar game script to play out if they want to pull off the upset – mixing up the run and pass well, surging to an early lead, and playing tough defense late that can head off a furious rally. Albany is very good and had a tremendous season so far, but it’s hard to picture this young team beating the Bobcats on the road after Montana State had a week off. Montana State 35, Albany 21

Kent: The Bobcats had an extra week to prepare for this one and it will show in this contest against the Great Danes. MSU rolls and moves on. Montana State 35 Albany 13

Jamie: This game will come down to which team can use their strength to better exploit the other team’s weakness – Montana States run game versus Albany’s run defense and Albany’s pass game versus Montana State’s pass defense. It’s safer to take the home team and a strong run game. Look for an exciting matchup, but the seeded Bobcats move on. Montana State 33, Albany 28

Ray: At home, Montana State is just too much for the Great Danes. Montana State 38, Albany 17


3:00 PM EST: Kennesaw State at Weber State

Chuck: The Wildcats can thank the committee for giving them two weeks to prepare for a triple-option team – no matter who won the Kennesaw State/Wofford game last week, they were going to face a triple option team. Weber State will happily take that early Christmas gift into the next round against a banged-up Owls team. Weber State 31, Kennesaw State 6

Kent: The Wildcats defense is the key to their success. Although WSU did not face an option team, they did have two weeks to prepare for it. The will be ready and will take down the Owls. Weber State 31, Kennesaw State 20

Jamie: While Kennesaw State played a great game against Wofford and proved they belonged in the playoffs, their road ends in Ogden, Utah this week. Weber State 30, Kennesaw State 20

Ray: Kennesaw will see its season come to a close this weekend in the mountains of Utah: Weber State 32, Kennesaw State 14


3:00 PM EST: Southeastern Louisiana at Montana

Chuck: The furthest north the Lions have played this season is Conway, Arkansas, in 60 degree temperatures and sunny skies. It will not be 60 degrees and Sunny in Missoula this weekend. Montana 34, Southeastern Louisiana 14

Kent: The weather is suppose to be in the lower 40s, so it is balmy for Montana folks but not so balmy for Southeast Louisiana. The Washington-Grizzly Stadium crowd will be ready for this playoff game and give the Griz the energy it needs to come out with the easy victory. Montana 31, Southeastern Louisiana 14

Jamie: SLU has the offense to keep up with Montana. But Washington-Grizzly Stadium is a whole different animal in the playoffs. Look for the Griz to come away with the win. Montana 31, Southeastern Louisiana 23

Ray: Montana has a tradition in the FCS and an even greater tradition of success at home: Montana 34, Southeastern Louisiana 17

3:00 PM EST: Illinois State at Central Arkansas

Chuck: This could be the most fascinating game of the first round. In a lot of ways, Illinois State is Central Arkansas’ worst nightmare – a physical team with a possible NFL rusher, controlling things through the run game. But can Robinson carry the team on his back again, and what offensive tricks do Breylin Smith and the Bears offense have to keep the Redbird defense off balance? I think Robinson has another day to make his NFL stock rise a little further, and the Redbirds win their second straight road playoff game. Illinois State 26, Central Arkansas 14

Kent: The Redbirds are one dimensional but that one dimension is RB James Robinson, who I think is the best back in the FCS. The Redbirds lost two years ago in the first round to the Bears and get revenge in this one, but will take a final scoring drive late in the game to do it. Illinois State 24, Central Arkansas 21

Jamie: This promises to be a close game, but the Redbirds are too one dimensional right now. Breylin Smith has enough weapons to lead the Bears to victory, and they’ve proven themselves all season in close games. The Bears win another close one here. Central Arkansas 24, Illinois State 21

Ray: The Missouri Valley is a different level than the Southland, and it will show: Illinois State 24, Central Arkansas 20

3:30 PM EST: Nicholls at North Dakota State

Chuck: I’m not sure I’m courageous enough to pick against North Dakota State in the Fargodome in December. I will say, however, that this senior-laden Nicholls team is more dangerous than they might seem at first. I think the Bison still win, but I think the Colonels will go the distance with the champs. North Dakota State 27, Nicholls 24

Kent: NDSU had a week off to get healthy and know the routine of the playoffs. This team will be ready for the Colonels and will take a quick lead that will be too much to overcome in the first half. North Dakota State 35, Nicholls 17

Jamie: Nicholls easily dispatched North Dakota last week. The reward? A trip to the Fargodome. It’s a huge step up in weight class, and it will be very evident. North Dakota State 41, Nicholls 17

Ray: No FCS football wants to hear the words “top-ranked”, “Fargodome”, and “Bison” this time of the year: North Dakota State 42, Nicholls State 10

9:00 PM EST: Austin Peay at Sacramento State

Chuck: Austin Peay is a very dangerous, physical team, and a tough opponent, even on the road. But Sacramento State has been playing all year with a chip on their shoulder. Last week I thought Peay could overwhelm Sac State in the Hornets’ first playoff game since forever, but I’m starting to have doubts. This Sacramento State team feels different. Alone on the FCS playoff stage Saturday night, they will have the nation’s attention in the best game of the weekend. Sacramento State 31, Austin Peay 28

Kent: Austin Peay impressed me last week with its win at home over traditional SoCon power Furman. Flying to the west coast though a week later though might be too much to ask. The Hornets will be ready for its first ever D-I playoff game. Sacramento State 38, Austin Peay 28

Jamie: Austin Peay has the offense to hang with Sacramento State. But Hornet QB Kevin Thomson will be the best player on the field and will lead the Hornets to a home victory. Sacramento State 37, Austin Peay 24

Ray: Both teams are proficient at racking up yards when they have the ball. Austin Peay, however, has allowed nearly 200 fewer yards on defense than the Hornets. That’s a mighty big gap that wipes away whatever home-field advantage Sacramento State would harbor. Austin Peay 35, Sacramento State 24


  1. Ray Maloney prediction “can you say upset Monmouth 32 JMU 28”. Can you say bad call? It’s ok you were only off by 47 points! Don’t quit your day job…. or maybe you should.

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