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1-AA Preview picks NAU over ISU, GA Southern over Furman

Proud Griz Man

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DONOR
He didn't preview our game against the CSU Hornets, but wrote:

#22 IDAHO STATE AT #20 NORTHERN ARIZONA
This could be a playoff game for these two schools. Both teams are (6-3, 4-2 Big Sky), and sit tied for third in the Big Sky Conference. With Montana and Montana State tied for first with a (3-1) conference mark and their annual game still to come, the winner here will be assured of finishing no worse than tied for second place. Northern Arizona is coming off back-to-back losses to Montana and Montana State, is in a precarious position even if they win, while Idaho State, which has beaten both of those schools, would be in much better shape heading into the last few weeks of the season. Northern Arizona has lost only once at home this year (last week to Montana) while Idaho State has won just once on the road this year (at Montana State). As I have mentioned several times this year, Idaho State is not the same team on the road as they are at home. At home, the Bengals average 44.8 points a game, while on the road, that slips to 14.75 ppg, or 19.67 ppg if you discount their shutout against (I-A) Boise State. Statistically, Idaho State is slightly better scoring offensively (though most of that as a result of their home games), but NAU has the superior numbers in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense, scoring defense (by a large margin), rushing defense, and total defense. Throw that all together, add in the fact that Idaho State hasn't won in Flagstaff in nearly 20 years, and the Bengals have been the very definition of a Jekyll & Hyde team this year, and it adds up to a win for the home team. NAU wins, and eliminates Idaho State from the playoffs.


UPSET OF THE WEEK
GEORGIA SOUTHERN OVER #18 FURMAN
In all the years I've been doing the Preview, I don't recall ever having the Eagles as the Upset of the Week -- at least not like this. I may have picked them to beat a I-A school, but as an unranked beating a ranked? Never. Yet here we are, heading into the stretch drive towards the playoffs, and Georgia Southern is languishing in the middle of the "others receiving votes" section of the poll, their playoff hopes "gone with the wind", as they might say in Georgia. Though winless against ranked teams in 2003, GSU is (4-1) at home, with their only loss being to The Citadel. Georgia Southern holds a (10-4) advantage overall over Furman, and have beaten the Paladins five times in six tries in games played in Statesboro. Though both of these teams have struggled this year, they can revive their seasons by winning out the rest of the way. Furman still has a chance to clinch the SoCon title, though they need Wofford to lose to East Tennessee State this week, and then run the table themselves, while Georgia Southern could still finish as high as second in the conference if they win their last two games, though it's doubtful that a (7-4) team will get a playoff berth, even if that team has the history of GSU. These teams are a study in opposites, as Georgia Southern leads the conference in total offense, while Furman leads in total defense. The Eagles are second in scoring offense, while the Paladins are first in scoring defense. GSU has the league's top "red zone" offense, scoring 29 of 35 trips inside the 20, while Furman has the SoCon's best "red zone" defense, allowing scores on just 10 of their opponents' 17 trips inside the 20 yard line. Normally I would pick defense over offense, but in this case I find it difficult to pick against the Eagles at home. GSU ruins Furman's playoff hopes with a close win in their final home game of the season.
 
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