The final two games of the 2022 HBCU FCS regular season are upon us, and the focus is shifting toward the postseason for the teams that have played well enough to extend their respective seasons.
Aside from a potential slip-up from conference leaders, we have a general idea of who will play once the regular season is done.
Before previewing this week’s games, my 9-3 record from last week is an improvement on the prior week, but my overall win percentage is slipping further from my end-of-the-year goal of 80% and I only have two weeks and 25 games remaining.
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
All times are Eastern Standard.
2022 record: 100-30
Week 10: 9-3
Week 11 Top 5 Games
North Carolina Central (7-2, 3-1 MEAC) at Norfolk State (1-8, 1-2 MEAC), Saturday, 2:00 PM (ESPN3)
The Eagles are on their way to having their best win percentage as an FCS program ever, and a win this Saturday will make them the fourth program to have multiple appearances in the Celebration Bowl. Their opponent this week is the seventh-worst-scoring defense in the nation (39.78 PPG). Good luck slowing down QB Davius Richard, who has scored at least three touchdowns in seven of his starts this season.
Eagles 42, Spartans 17
South Carolina State (3-6, 1-2 MEAC) at Howard (3-6, 2-1 MEAC) Saturday, 1:00 PM (ESPN3)
Last week’s loss to Central means the Bison will have to win their remaining two games and get a little help from Norfolk State on Saturday for them to become the first team to start AND finish their season in Atlanta — participating in both the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and the Celebration Bowl. Even with an NCCU win this Saturday, Howard can still end the year with a share of the conference championship for the first time since 1993 by winning out. To do so, they’ll have to defeat a team they are 1-5 against in their last six meetings.
Bison 24, Bulldogs 21
Charleston Southern (2-7, 2-2 Big South) at North Carolina A&T (6-3, 3-0 Big South), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
The Bucs may want to bring Admiral Ackbar with them to Greensboro If the Aggies are focused on what appears to be THE de facto conference championship game against Gardner-Webb next week. Reality is, Charleston Southern just might need a rebellion to slow down RB Bhayshul Tuten, the nation’s fourth-leading rusher. Whenever Tuten has 12 or more carries in a game this season, he has gained at least 100 yards. Combine that with A&T being 2-0 all-time against CSU, and this “trap game” might be non-existent to the Aggies.
Aggies 30, Buccaneers 20
Florida A&M (7-2, 5-1 SWAC) at Alabama State (6-3, 4-2 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (Bounce TV)
Currently riding the second- and third-longest win streaks in the SWAC, Florida A&M (7) and Alabama State (3) are still vying for the second-best record in the conference. And, with a LOT of help, the Rattlers still have a chance at winning the East Division. But if the Hornets can continue to get good play out of QB Dematrius Davis (366 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns in last two games), score points in the red zone, and reduce the mistakes (3 turnovers in last three games), ASU could win its seventh game in a season for the first time since 2014.
Rattlers 24, Hornets 20
Prairie View A&M (5-4, 4-2 SWAC) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-7, 0-6 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (UAPB Sports Network)
With two games left in the season, the Panthers currently hold a slim one-game lead in the West Division. Good news for Prairie View, their remaining opponents have a combined 8.3% win percentage against SWAC programs this year. This should be a guaranteed win for PVAMU, who have won eight of their last nine against UAPB … but nothing is automatic. We just watched Alcorn hold the Panthers to 16 points after PVAMU averaged 56 points against their previous two opponents.
Panthers 31, Golden Lions 10
No. 21 Elon (7-3, 5-2 CAA) at Hampton (4-5, 1-5 CAA), Saturday, 1:00 PM (FloSports)
Phoenix 27, Pirates 14
Morgan State (3-6, 1-2 MEAC) at Delaware State (5-4, 2-2 MEAC), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloSports)
Hornets 17, Bears 14
UT Martin (5-4, 3-0 OVC) at Tennessee State (3-6, 2-2 OVC), Saturday, 5:00 PM (ESPN+)
Skyhawks 31, Tigers 17
Mississippi Valley State (1-8, 1-5 SWAC) at Southern (5-4, 3-3 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
Jaguars 27, Delta Devils 17
Bethune-Cookman (2-7, 2-4 SWAC) at Alcorn State (4-5, 3-3 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (HBCU GO)
Braves 28, Wildcats 20
Alabama A&M (3-6, 3-3 SWAC) vs. No. 5 Jackson State (9-0, 6-0 SWAC), Saturday, 5:00 PM (ESPN+)
Tigers 49, Bulldogs 10
Grambling State (3-6, 2-4 SWAC) at Texas Southern (4-5, 3-3 SWAC), Saturday, 7:00 PM (ESPN+)
Texas Southern 27, Grambling State 24