In the FCS Huddle: 'The Rivalry' turns 150

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Come across the nearly 50,000 people converging on Yankee Stadium on Saturday and you will find that they are going to one of two college football games.

About half are going to the Lafayette-Lehigh game.

The other half are going to the Lehigh-Lafayette game.

The way in which "The Rivalry" is referred matters when it's been the most- played game in college football history. No matter what it's called, the 150th meeting between the Patriot League schools located in eastern Pennsylvania will be big enough to fill Yankee Stadium.

Their rivalry began in 1884 and predates football trophies, so the winning team just keeps the game ball to display in its athletic department.

Both sides will gain a lifetime of memories as well.

"It certainly will mean something special, successful or not, to be a part of something that people will talk about in history," said Frank Tavani, who is coaching Lafayette for the 28th time against Lehigh, including the 15th time as head coach.

"Another 150 years down the road, they'll talk about this 150th game, and they'll be pictures of our young men and their young men, (Lehigh head coach) Andy Coen and myself and the staffs, people that were fortunate enough to be a part of it. It's a special, special game, as it is every year."

"It's just really humbling as the head coach to have the honor to run out onto the field to take part in the 150th," said Coen, who's making his 15th appearance in the game with Lehigh, and ninth as the head coach. "This game has always been about more than just the teams on the field, it's always been about the alumni of both schools and just how special it is to see so many people."

Even the fact both teams are struggling this season doesn't put a damper on 150. Lafayette is 4-6 and Lehigh 3-7, and both are 2-3 in their Patriot schedule.

Just a year ago, over 16,000 turned out at Lehigh when the two rivals played for both the league title and a berth into the FCS playoffs - a game won by Lafayette, 50-28. Neither Lehigh's Goodman Stadium nor Lafayette's Fisher Stadium was going to be big enough for Lafayette-Lehigh 150, er, Lehigh- Lafayette 150, er, whatever.

"It's kind of the rivalry on steroids, I guess," Coen said with a laugh.

Lafayette and Lehigh met twice a year from its inception in 1884 through 1901, with two exceptions. They played three times in 1891, and in 1896 they agreed to disagree when the game was canceled due to a player eligibility dispute. But they've played every year since, and the excitement and passion only grows stronger.

Lafayette holds a 77-67-5 series lead, and the two rivals have a couple touchdowns' lead on the next most-played series, Princeton-Yale, which turned 137 last Saturday.

The senior classes in both programs will have opportunities on Thursday to address the younger classes - a ritual before the teams' annual meeting. Special events are planned in New York the next two days and the two teams will be met on game day by many people they see on campus on a regular basis in addition to thousands of alumni from across the country.

Those not fortunate enough to have a ticket can watch via CBS Sports Network's national broadcast, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for Lafayette-Lehigh. If there's any trouble, check for Lehigh-Lafayette.

"Neither of our programs have had the type of seasons we would have liked," Coen said, "so I think whoever wins the game will have a much better feeling kicking off their offseason."

"This year," Tavani said, "(it's) two teams, very identical, struggling seasons, an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the year one time or another, a lot of games that got away from both of us. Really, two very similar teams that have shown the ability to do very good things, and then at other times both of us have done things that have set us back and done self- inflicted wounds. It's a great matchup regardless of anything."

THE PLAYOFF FIELD

Chattanooga (Southern), Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), Fordham (Patriot), Sacred Heart (Northeast) and San Diego (Pioneer) are the first five teams to clinch bids to the 24-team FCS playoffs.

Teams that should be in the field no matter how they do this week: Big Sky, Eastern Washington and Montana State; Big South, Coastal Carolina; CAA, New Hampshire and Villanova; Missouri Valley, Illinois State and North Dakota State; and Ohio Valley, Eastern Kentucky.

Teams that won't need help getting into the playoffs as long as they win this week: Big Sky, Montana (versus Montana State); Big South, Liberty (at Coastal Carolina); CAA, James Madison (versus Elon), Richmond (at William & Mary) and William & Mary (versus Richmond); MEAC, North Carolina A&T (at North Carolina Central); Missouri Valley, Northern Iowa (versus Missouri State); and Southland, Southeastern Louisiana (at Nicholls).

Teams that should feel good with a win: Missouri Valley, Indiana State (at Western Illinois); South Dakota State (versus South Dakota) and Youngstown State (at North Dakota State); Southern, Samford (at Auburn); and Southland, Sam Houston State (versus Central Arkansas).

Teams that need a win and help: Big Sky, Idaho State (versus Weber State); Big South, Charleston Southern (at Georgia); MEAC, Bethune-Cookman (versus Florida A&M), Morgan State (versus Delaware State) and North Carolina Central (versus North Carolina A&T); Northeast, Bryant (versus Wagner); Patriot, Bucknell (versus Colgate); Southern, Western Carolina (at Alabama); and Southland, Central Arkansas (at Sam Houston State) and Stephen F. Austin (versus Northwestern State).

The playoff field will be announced during an ESPNU selection show starting at 11 a.m. ET Sunday.

FCS TOP 25 AND AWARDS

The Sports Network FCS Top 25 can be found at http://tinyurl.com/88q2k7t.

The FCS Awards package can be found at http://tinyurl.com/n5ysh8x.

WEEK 13 PREDICTIONS

Last Week's Record: 43-17 (.716)

This Season's Record: 587-167 (.779)

X-Predicted Winner

Top 25

The Montana State-Montana rivalry game might be a matchup of backup quarterbacks. Montana coach Mick Delaney announced Sunday he will retire after this season. That would likely come Saturday if the Grizzlies don't beat MSU.

Thursday, Nov. 20

X-No. 10 Southeastern Louisiana (8-3, 6-1 Southland) at Nicholls (0-11, 0-7), 7 p.m. The visiting Lions aren't in jeopardy of losing like the other first-place team in the Southland Conference, Sam Houston State, which hosts Central Arkansas. The co-leaders aren't playing each other in the 11-team conference's unbalanced scheduling, so if they both win, the results of the other teams will determine the tie-breaker for the automatic playoff bid. Nicholls, by the way, has allowed the most sacks (52) and gained the fewest (two) in the FCS.

Friday, Nov. 21

X-No. 5 Eastern Washington (9-2, 6-1 Big Sky) at Portland State (3-8, 2-5), 10:05 p.m. Coming off a bye week, EWU goes for a Big Sky title three-peat (Montana State also is tied for first place). Quarterback Vernon Adams says he's close to being 100 percent as he plays for the second time since returning from a broken right foot.

Saturday, Nov. 22

X-No. 6 Villanova (9-2, 6-1 CAA) at Delaware (6-5, 4-3), noon. 'Nova quarterback John Robertson has bee named CAA Football offensive player of the week six times this season. Since 2012, Delaware is 3-7 in November games.

No. 7 Fordham (10-1) at X-Army (3-7), noon. Fordham figures to be careful as stars Mike Nebrich and Chase Edmonds try to get their bodies back to 100 percent for the playoffs, but they surely need an FBS win and some other top teams losing to be considered for a seed and first-round bye. Army has lost two of its last three games versus the FCS - against Stony Brook in 2012 and Yale this season.

No. 14 Eastern Kentucky (9-2, 6-2 OVC) at X-Florida (5-4), noon. Speaking of FBS teams losing to the FCS, Florida and coach Will Muschamp got surprised by Georgia Southern on this same Saturday a year ago. EKU tailback Dy'Shawn Mobley, this week's national offensive player of the week, was toiling for Kentucky in the SEC that same day.

Elon (1-10, 0-7 CAA) at X-No. 17 James Madison (8-3, 5-2), noon. JMU quarterback Vad Lee gets the attention, but don't forget the Dukes have studs on defense with defensive end Brandon Lee, outside linebacker Sage Harold, safety Dean Marlowe and rising cornerback Jimmy Moreland. The visiting Phoenix won't be rising on this day.

FCS Game of the Week: Yale (8-1, 5-1 Ivy) at X-No. 15 Harvard (9-0, 6-0), 12:30 p.m. The 131st edition of "The Game" has attracted ESPN's "College GameDay" preview show. Harvard has won seven straight meetings and 12 of the last 13. Yale, holding a No. 1 ranking in the FCS in total offense (587.2 ypg) and No. 4 ranking in scoring offense (43 ppg), must solve a Crimson defense that has allowed the fewest points in the FCS at 11 per game. And, oh yes, Yale has to fix a defense that stands out like sore a thumb (29.8 ppg) in this matchup.

Liberty (7-4, 3-1 Big South) at X-No. 2 Coastal Carolina (11-0, 4-0), 1 p.m. This season marks the 10th time in the Big South's 12-year history that at least one of these rivals has won the conference title. Coastal has clinched a share of the title and is going for a perfect regular season. Liberty will earn a share of the title and qualify for the playoffs for the first time with a road upset.

No. 18 Indiana State (7-4, 4-3 Missouri Valley) at X-Western Illinois (4-7, 2-5), 2 p.m. The upstart Sycamores - the FCS' most improved team after going 1-11 last season - already have road wins over Ball State, Southern Illinois and Youngstown State. One more here will get them into the playoffs.

X-No. 4 Jacksonville State (9-1, 7-0 OVC) at Southeast Missouri State (5-6, 3-4), 2 p.m. In last year's matchup, both teams combined on an NCAA record 850 rushing yards. JSU senior DaMarcus James needs 88 yards to reach 1,000 for a second straight season. SEMO stopped a four-game losing streak last Saturday as Kyle Snyder fired five touchdown passes against Austin Peay.

X-No. 25 Bethune-Cookman (8-3, 5-2 MEAC) vs. Florida A&M (3-8, 3-4) in Orlando, Florida, 2 p.m. Bethune can't lament a wasted opportunity against Hampton a week ago because its rival, Florida A&M, is coming off its most-lopsided win in over two years, 41-7 at Delaware State. The Wildcats remain alive for the MEAC's automatic playoff bid, but they need some help, starting with a North Carolina A&T loss.

X-No. 24 North Carolina A&T (9-2, 6-1 MEAC) at North Carolina Central (6-5, 5-2), 2 p.m. A&T holds all the cards in the wacky MEAC race, already claiming at least a share of the conference title and standing a win away from claiming an outright title under coach Rod Broadway. The Aggies are allowing a conference-low 13.3 points per game, but North Carolina Central has some offensive weapons in running back Andre Clarke and MEAC receiving leader Adrian Wilkins.

Southern Illinois (6-5, 3-4 Missouri Valley) at X-No. 8 Illinois State (9-1, 6-1), 2 p.m. The visiting Salukis have won 10 straight regular-season finales. ISU tailback Marshaun Coprich has rushed for over 100 yards in all 10 games this season and a win here gives the Redbirds a 10th this season.

South Dakota (2-9, 0-7 Missouri Valley) at X-No. 16 South Dakota State (7-4, 4-3), 3 p.m. South Dakota has never trailed in this series, but its lead has shrunk to 51-50-7 with SDSU winning the last five meetings. With a win here and a couple playoff games, SDSU senior Zach Zenner (1,558 rushing yards) has a realistic shot at a third straight 2,000-yard season.

X-No. 9 Chattanooga (8-3, 6-0 Southern) at Furman (3-8, 2-4), 3:30 p.m. A lot has changed since Chattanooga opened the season 0-2 and Furman was 2-0. The Southern Conference champion Mocs could earn a seed in the playoffs with a win, but the Paladins perked up last week and beat Wofford to end an eight-game losing streak. The Mocs' secondary won't let Paladins QB P.J. Blazejowski be perfect again this week.

No. 20 Youngstown State (7-4, 4-3 Missouri Valley) at X-No. 3 North Dakota State (10-1, 6-1), 3:30 p.m. The Penguins missed their best chance to clinch a playoff bid for the first time since 2006 by losing to Indiana State at home last Saturday. Unless they upset NDSU, they will finish the regular season with a three-game losing streak for the second consecutive year. The three-time reigning national champion Bison are still playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Oh, is running back John Crockett impressive.

X-No. 1 New Hampshire (9-1, 7-0 CAA) at Maine (5-5, 4-3), 3:30 p.m. The top- ranked Wildcats are aiming for their first outright CAA title since 1994. They have captured the last four meetings, including a 41-27 victory in Orono in the playoffs last season. But Maine has come on strong with three consecutive wins and the Brice-Cowell Musket is on the line.

Central Arkansas (6-5, 5-2 Southland) at X-No. 23 Sam Houston State (7-4, 6-1), 4 p.m. Sam Houston State running back Keshawn Hill is imitating Timothy Flanders, having found the end zone 18 times this season. They need some more touchdowns against UCA because only a win gets coach K.C. Keeler's squad into the playoffs. UCA defensive end Jonathan Woodard has 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, which are both Southland highs.

Missouri State (4-7, 1-6 Missouri Valley) at X-No. 11 Northern Iowa (7-4, 5-2), 5 p.m. Missouri State's late-season schedule has been more brutal than slumping Youngstown State's. It's a long shot, but UNI would win the Valley title with a victory over Missouri State and losses by both Illinois State and North Dakota State, whom they defeated in consecutive weeks earlier this month.

No. 12 Montana State (8-3, 6-1 Big Sky) at X-No. 13 Montana (7-4, 5-2), 5:10 p.m. It's really not supposed to work this way, but the road team has won the "Brawl of the Wild" in each of the past five seasons. Montana State QB Jake Bleskin was excellent in filling in for an injured Dakota Prukop and figures to start again. UM will turn to backup quarterback Shay Smithwick-Hann if an ankle injury keeps Jordan Johnson on the sideline.

Lamar (7-4, 4-3 Southland) at X-No. 19 McNeese State (6-4, 4-3), 7 p.m. The Cowboys, on a two-game slide, have to get back in the saddle after missing the playoffs. Surging Lamar is looking for the biggest win since it became a four- year program and QB Caleb Berry is third in the nation in passing yards per game (307.5) and tied for second in touchdown passes (31). Coach Matt Viator and the Cowboys want to send out 13 seniors with a win.

No. 21 Richmond (7-4, 4-3 CAA) at X-No. 22 William & Mary (7-4, 4-3), 7:30 p.m. The scenario couldn't be better: This final game on Saturday's national schedule is basically a play-in game to the postseason, with the winner gaining an at-large bid and the loser staying home. Turnovers have sent Richmond on a two-game losing streak, while William & Mary has won two straight behind surging tailback Mikal Abdul-Saboor, who has rushed for 652 yards and seven touchdowns in the Tribe's last four games. The Tribe has a 61-57-5 lead heading into the 124th meeting.

Non-Ranked Conference

There are plenty of rivalry games to end the regular season.

Also, retiring Penn coach Al Bagnoli will guide the Quakers one final time. He brings a 147-80 record in 23 seasons (No. 2 in Ivy all-time wins) into his final game at Cornell.

Saturday, Nov. 22

Robert Morris (1-9, 1-4 NEC) at X-Duquesne (5-6, 1-4), noon

Gardner-Webb (4-7, 0-4 Big South) at X-Monmouth (5-5, 0-4), noon

Central Connecticut State (2-9, 0-5 NEC) at X-Saint Francis (5-5, 3-2), noon

X-Holy Cross (4-7, 2-3 Patriot) at Georgetown (2-8, 0-5), noon

Wagner (6-4, 4-1 NEC) at X-Bryant (8-2, 4-1), noon

X-Towson (4-7, 2-5 CAA) at Rhode Island (0-11, 0-7), 12:30 p.m.

Columbia (0-9, 0-6 Ivy) at X-Brown (4-5, 2-4), 12:30 p.m.

X-Penn (1-8, 1-5 Ivy) at Cornell (1-8, 1-5), 12:30 p.m.

X-Drake (6-4, 5-2 Pioneer) at Stetson (5-6, 3-4), 1 p.m.

Campbell (5-6, 4-3 Pioneer) at X-Dayton (7-3, 5-2), 1 p.m.

Colgate (4-7, 2-3 Patriot) at X-Bucknell (8-2, 4-1), 1 p.m.

UT Martin (5-6, 4-3 OVC) at X-Eastern Illinois (5-6, 5-2), 1 p.m.

X-Dartmouth (7-2, 5-1 Ivy) at Princeton (5-4, 4-2), 1 p.m.

Delaware State (2-9, 2-5 MEAC) at X-Morgan State (6-5, 5-2), 1 p.m.

Hampton (3-8, 2-5 MEAC) at X-Howard (4-7, 2-5), 1 p.m.

Mercer (6-5, 1-5 Southern) at X-Wofford (5-5, 3-3), 1:30 p.m.

Norfolk State (4-7, 4-3 MEAC) at X-South Carolina State (7-4, 5-2), 1:30 p.m.

X-The Citadel (4-7, 2-4 Southern) at VMI (2-9, 1-5), 1:30 p.m.

Davidson (1-10, 0-7 Pioneer) at X-Valparaiso (3-8, 1-6), 2 p.m.

North Dakota (4-7, 2-5 Big Sky) at X-Northern Colorado (3-7, 2-5), 2 p.m.

Tennessee State (5-6, 2-5 OVC) at X-Murray State (3-8, 1-6), 2 p.m.

Jackson State (4-7, 2-6 SWAC) at X-Alcorn State (9-2, 7-1), 3 p.m.

X-Lehigh (3-7, 2-3 Patriot) vs. Lafayette (4-6, 2-3) in New York, 3:30 p.m.

X-Alabama A&M (4-7, 3-5 SWAC) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-7, 2-6), 3:30 p.m.

Stony Brook (5-6, 4-3 CAA) at X-Albany (6-5, 2-5), 3:30 p.m.

Southern Utah (2-9, 2-5 Big Sky) at X-Northern Arizona (7-4, 5-2), 4 p.m.

Sacramento State (6-5, 3-4 Big Sky) at X-UC Davis (2-8, 1-6), 4 p.m.

Northwestern State (6-5, 4-3 Southland) at X-Stephen F. Austin (7-4, 4-3), 4 p.m.

Weber State (2-9, 2-5 Big Sky) at X-Idaho State (7-4, 5-2), 4:35 p.m.

X-Tennessee Tech (4-7, 3-4 OVC) at Austin Peay (1-10, 1-6), 5 p.m.

Non-Ranked Non-Conference

Alabama State beat Stillman, 41-28, in last year's Turkey Day Classic, but this year the oldest running black college football classic in the nation moves up from Thanksgiving Day. To the credit of the host Hornets, they have defeated Jackson State and Grambling State since it became known eighth-year coach Reggie Barlow will be relieved of his duties after Saturday's finale.

Morehead State (4-7) at X-Charlotte (4-6), noon

Stillman (5-5) at X-Alabama State (6-5), 2 p.m.

X-Cal Poly (6-5) at San Diego (9-1), 7 p.m.

Non-Ranked FCS-FBS

If Western Carolina pulls an upset, will they be invited to the College Football Playoff in addition to the FCS playoffs?

Charleston Southern (8-3) at X-Georgia (8-2), noon

Savannah State (0-11) at X-BYU (6-4), 3 p.m.

Western Carolina (7-4) at X-Alabama (9-1), 4 p.m.

Samford (7-3) at X-Auburn (7-3), 7 p.m.