September 19th, 2019 10:00am
Week 3 Preview:
Hard to imagine a more exciting way to kick-off conference play than your top two teams from the preseason poll squaring off in a night game, and that’s exactly what we have in week 3 of the GLIAC slate – No. 2 Ferris State travels to Jack Miller Stadium to take on the Ashland Eagles for what promises to be a compelling showdown.
Highlighting the afternoon schedule is a matchup of unbeatens when Michigan Tech travels to Saginaw Valley State for a classic GLIAC clash among two storied programs.
Wayne State and Northwood both regroup in search of their first victories of the year – Northwood with a much taller task as they host 10th-ranked Grand Valley State, while the Warriors hit the road for another non-conference game against Quincy University out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Last, but certainly not least, a rematch of a game that went down to the wire last year as Davenport visits the Superior Dome to take on the Wildcats of Northern Michigan.
It’s homecoming in Marquette and an opportunity for Kyle Nystrom’s squad to avenge an overtime loss last year to Davenport as the Panthers hit the road for their second consecutive game away from home. Earlier in the week on the GLIAC Football Weekly podcast, I picked NMU, and I still feel they’ll have the upper hand in this one. I expect a close game just as it was last year but give me the Wildcats at home to have the slightest edge down the stretch. This will be the third ever meeting between these two teams, the home team has never lost, that trend continues on Saturday.
The two teams from the conference that remain winless are Northwood and Wayne State – they’re in a wildly different place in week three – the Warriors have a very winnable game, albeit on the road, but I believe this Wayne State team has to beat an inferior Quincy team. The Timberwolves on the other hand, draw the unfortunate gauntlet portion of their schedule by playing No. 10 Grand Valley State and as much as I wish it weren’t the case, the Lakers are the superiorly talented team in this one, and thus I’m obligated to pick GVSU to win. I think Wayne State gets in the win column, while Northwood falls to 0-3, and GV rolls to 3-0.
This is the first ever meeting between Quincy and Wayne State, so there’s definitely an element of unfamiliarity for both teams to consider. Quincy has won each of its first two games, and the Hawks were predicted to finish sixth in the GLVC. Despite their 2-0 start, I still like Wayne State to get the road win.
Did anyone expect Michigan Tech to be undefeated when opening GLIAC play on the road at Saginaw Valley State? In any case, the Huskies will play their third consecutive road game in a matchup of unbeatens, someone will have an L in the column after this one. (That’s the type of analysis you can’t get anywhere else, you're welcome.) MTU coach Steve Olson was quick to compliment everything about SVSU’s football team in his weekly press conference, saying how big of a challenge this will be for his team. The Huskies played the Cardinals very tough last season, but SVSU earned the hard-fought 10-0 win in 2018. I anticipate this year’s matchup to be very similar – a good ole-fashioned GLIAC slugfest with both teams exchanging punches – by the end of this one, both teams will have felt like they were in a boxing match, but I do believe the Cardinals are the more talented and deep team, and ultimately will prevail by a narrow margin. Give me Coach Brady’s Cardinals at home to move to 3-0, while MTU suffers their first loss of the season.
To the night-cap where all eyes will be on one of the most highly anticipated games of the entire season, a clash between No. 2 Ferris State and the Eagles of Ashland. It’s the opening week of conference play, and we’re wasting no time in having number one and number two face-off. As you dive into the series history between FSU and AU, especially in the Tony Annese era, it’s really fascinating how evenly matched it’s been. The following from the Ferris State media notes paints a great picture: Ashland holds a 16-11 lead in the all-time series between the two schools, but the Bulldogs have won 11 of the last 20 contests, including seven of the last 13 to date. Last season, the Bulldogs recorded a 28-21 home win over the Eagles in the D2 National Game of the Week in Big Rapids. Two years ago, the Eagles beat FSU 20-3 in the D2 National Showcase in Ohio. Three years ago, Ashland rallied for a 39-31 win over FSU in a battle of top 10 ranked teams at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Ferris State?has won five of the last six matchups in Ashland, but the Eagles have emerged victorious in five of their last six visits to Top Taggart Field. The Eagles scored a 47-32 win over Ferris State in their trip to Big Rapids in 2012 (9/15), which came in the debut home game for Bulldog head coach Tony Annese. The Bulldog head coach has a current winning record against every team in the GLIAC except Ashland (2-3).
One of the odder trends of this series is how successful the road team has been – FSU winning five of the last six in Ohio, while Ashland has claimed five of the last six in Big Rapids. What?! Mind blown.
Saturday night’s game will be a spectacle of the best of the best going at it for 60 minutes – what else could we ask for? The best division two talent in the country will be on full display, and I can’t wait to tune in. I’ve made it clear all week, I believe Ferris State will claim the victory and emerge victorious, but boy will it be close and a fun one for all to take in.
I’m feeling pretty good about my picks this week! I’m 12-5 on the season, but hopefully I’ll take a giant stride in week three so I can brag to all of you about my infinite wisdom (and luck) in correctly predicting GLIAC football.
Enjoy the weekend, get ready for the games by listening to GLIAC Football Weekly Episode #3, that’s an order!