This was supposed to have been simple Thanksgiving for most of us – kick back and enjoy food and family while watching a lot of football. Thanks to Prairie View A&M (and subsequently Texas Southern and Alcorn State), most HBCU FCS football fans will watch this year’s Bayou Classic intently, with thoughts of postseason ramifications going through their heads.
It’s simple. If Southern can defeat their in-state rival Grambling in the Caesars Superdome this Saturday, they’ll face Jackson State in the SWAC Championship for the opportunity to play in this year’s Cricket Celebration Bowl. If the Jags lose, PVAMU, who squandered their chances to participate in the title game due to losses to Alcorn State (losers of three straight before facing the Panthers) and Mississippi Valley State (who entered their matchup Saturday against PVAMU 1-9), will back their way into the postseason.
As for my predictions, as cocky as I was about my 11-1 record in Week 11, I turn around and wet the bed last week, going 6-5. This week should be a lock, but any given Saturday, right?
Here are my previews and predictions for this week.
All times are Eastern Standard.
2022 record: 117-36
Week 12: 6-5
Turkey Day Classic
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-8, 0-7 SWAC) at Alabama State (6-4, 4-3), Thursday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
In his first season as head coach at his alma mater, Eddie Robinson, Jr. (no relation) can finish the year with the Hornets’ best win percentage since 2013 (.667) if they can defeat the lowly Golden Lions on Thanksgiving. ASU’s defense — the third-best in the conference allowing 20.3 points per game — should have no problems with the Golden Lions. Since scoring 76 points in their last win back on September 10, UAPB has averaged 14 points per game in their eight losses.
Hornets 24, Golden Lions 13
The 49th Annual Bayou Classic
Grambling State (3-7, 2-5 SWAC) vs. Southern (6-4, 4-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM (NBC)
Like I said before, the championship scenario should be straightforward for Southern, but the Jags have been dealing with setbacks in recent weeks. Winners of three of the last four Classics, Southern is heading to New Orleans losers of two of their last three contests. Conversely, Grambling has won two of their last three.
Good news for the Jags, the team with the better record entering The Classic is 6-1 during the Celebration Bowl-era. That one loss, last season when the Tigers (3-7) beat the Jags (4-6) on a last-minute field goal with seven seconds left on the clock. One way for Southern to avoid a loss, win the turnover battle. SU has 14 turnovers in their four losses vs. 5 in their six victories.
Jaguars 27, Tigers 24