UPDATE - Week 7 Preview: 33-Game Slate Kicks Off Saturday

March 28, 2021 by Staff

A day after securing its first win of the season on Saturday, 26-18 over Western Illinois, Illinois State head coach Brock Spack announced the Redbirds were opting out of the rest of the season.

The move scratches this week's game at South Dakota State, as well as the 4/3 home contest vs. Southern Illinois, the 4/10 home game vs. North Dakota and the 4/17 season finale at Missouri State. All of those games are considered canceled and not expected to be replaced or counted as forfeits. The Redbirds end their season at 1-3.

New Mexico State, the only FBS program that opted to play this spring, is also the only other team whose spring schedule is finished. The Aggies went 1-1 by losing to Tarleton State and defeating Dixie State with both games played in El Paso, Texas.

Three Northeast Conference schools - Bryant, Duquesne, and LIU - play their final game this weekend, as will Dixie State.

Another NEC game - Sacred Heart at Wagner - was called off on the day of the game (Sunday) due to a positive Covid test result on the Wagner team. Wagner's earlier missed game at Merrimack from March 7th was rescheduled for Friday, April 2 but that game is also now in jeopardy.

On Saturday, the CAA announced that this week's game sending New Hampshire to Villanova was postponed due to Covid issues in the UNH program. It's the second straight game New Hampshire has had to delay. The Wildcats' home contest this past weekend vs. Delaware was also a scratch. Currently, no make-up dates are available for either game.

After having all three games canceled last week in the Patriot League, the Holy Cross game at Colgate is off the docket for Saturday. That announcement had come last week when Colgate announced that Covid issues would postponed this past Saturday's home game with Lehigh. At the same time, the league reschedule Lehigh to play Bucknell which is no longer the case.

On Tuesday of this week, the Patriot League announced it had juggled the schedules to allow each team to play as many games as possible, including make-ups. So - the Lehigh at Bucknell game was moved to April 10, and rescheduling the Lafayette at Fordham game goes in the procrastinator pile.

Patriot games this week, instead, will send Fordham to Holy Cross on Saturday for the make-up date of a game that was originally scheduled for last week, and Bucknell will host Lafayette on Saturday instead of playing at Lehigh. The Bucknell-Lehigh game was moved to April 10.

As of Friday night at 11:50 ET, sportsbooks had still not released odds on either of those two Patriot League contests.

Kennesaw State, ranked 4th in the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR), had its game at Gardner-Webb announced as postponed on Monday. Currently no common make-up date exists for both schools. It's the second scratched game in as many weeks for Gardner-Webb and the first for Kennesaw State.

Delaware State at Howard has also been postponed. Howard had just two games should to play this season and both were against Delaware State in a home-and-home arrangement.  The Hornets defeated the Bison 17-10 on February 27. If this game is not rescheduled, Howard's season is done. Delaware State is 1-1 with games remaining against South Carolina State and Delaware, both at home.

The word came down Wednesday night that Grambling State at Alabama A&M has been canceled due to Covid issues in the Tigers' program. That leaves the Bulldogs with no home games for its spring schedule. A&M was slated to host Alcorn State in the season opener but that school reversed its decision to participate in the spring and, instead, opted out.

On Thursday night, Stetson issued a statement that Covid protocols within the Hatters' program were the reason for cancelling this week's game with Drake in DeLand, Florida.

On Friday morning, the Missouri Valley Football Conference announced that Saturday's scheduled Youngstown State-North Dakota game was postponed due to Covid issues in the UND program. It was rescheduled for April 17.

North Dakota State, the No. 1 team in the computer rankings, traveled to South Dakota as a huge 30.01-point computer choice against a 21.5-point spread but had their game called off at the last minute.

Drake at Stetson, Alabama State at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Sacred Heart at Wagner were also late postponements or cancellations.

That reduces this week's schedule to 30 games with 24 of those on Saturday.

No. 2 James Madison is scheduled to swing back into action at William & Mary as 16.5-point favorite and a 19.06-point computer pick. This game comes on the heels of a two-week Covid shutdown for JMU that took two straight home games off the books, including its home game against this week's opponent.

No. 3 Monmouth is hoping the third time is charm to get its season started. The Hawks have had to postpone their first two games and are now slated to open at home against Charleston Southern as a 16.93-point computer play, but a head-twisting 3-point underdog in the sportsbooks. CSU is 0-1, having lost 24-19 at Kennesaw State two weeks ago. Monmouth returns 17 starters from a 2019 team that went 11-3, but loses Kenji Bahar and running back Pete Guerrero. Speaking of losses, Charles Southern is mourning the off-campus death of freshman WR Joe Bradshaw last weekend (cause of death unknown) out of Nease High School of Ponte Vedra, Florida. (Some folks will remember Nease High School as Tim Tebow's old stomping grounds.)

CCR No. 5 Montana isn't scheduled to play a game until April 10th when the Griz will host D2 Central Washington.

6th-ranked Weber State is a 15.26 point favorite over visiting Northern Arizona, well under the 22.5-point line established by the oddsmakers.

No. 7 South Dakota State is idle due to Illinois State canceling its season, as mentioned at the top of this preview.

8th-ranked Portland still has only one game scheduled and that doesn't happen until April 17 at Montana.

No. 9 Sam Houston State has powered past its last two opponents, Nicholls and Lamar, by a combined 133-24 after opening with a 43-38 win over SE Louisiana. This week, the Bearkats are idle.

Rounding out the top ten, San Diego must travel across the country to Clinton, South Carolina to face Presbyterian. Despite the long journey, oddsmakers installed the Toreros as a 17.5-point favorite, but the computer puts the margin at 15.10 points.

Upset Picks

Last week, the computer 5-3 straight up and 6-2 against the spread on outright upset plays. The computer has 6 upset picks still in play for this week.

The computer's opposite plays on Saturday have:
MONMOUTH by 16.93 over Charles Southern (-3)
STETSON by 6.92 over Drake (-19.5) - canceled
ELON by 3.60 over Richmond (10.5)
THE CITADEL by 3.93 over Samford (10.5)
WOFFORD by 12.02 over Vmi (-6.5)

On Sunday, the computer has:
Austin Peay by 3.97 over JACKSONVILLE STATE (-10.5)
Merrimack by 6.63 over LIU (-4.5)

SEE: Weekly Picks