The calendar is slowly turning to October, meaning that a third of the season is in the books.
As the lone unbeaten programs in HBCU FCS Football, Jackson State and North Carolina Central have shown us that they are the two best teams at this point of the season.
Even though the MEAC is still two weeks away from conference play, two of its teams will join former league member NC A&T in facing Big South opponents, Tennessee State is playing an in-state rival, the SWAC is fully immersed in intraleague play while Alcorn State, Hampton, and Jackson State will be on bye.
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
2022 record: 49-12
Week 4: 8-3
Top 5 Games
North Carolina Central (4-0) at Campbell (1-2), Saturday, 6:00 PM (ESPN+)
173. The most points scored in Central’s first four games of a season since becoming an FCS program in 2007. Led by QB Davius Richard (991 Total Yards, 9 Total Touchdowns), the Eagles have put up video game numbers, scoring 40 or more points in three straight contests for the first time in 37 years. NCCU has already knocked off the team predicted to win the Big South back in Week 1 (NC A&T). Can it knock off another Big South top contender?
Eagles 30, Camels 27
Prairie View A&M (2-2, 2-0 SWAC) at Grambling State (1-3, 0-1 SWAC), Saturday, 7:00 PM (HBCU GO)
Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone but Prairie View is currently 2-0 in league play. This week, the Panthers look to improve their conference record when they face rival Grambling at the State Fair Classic. If the Tigers want to stop their current losing streak against PVAMU at four, the SWAC’s second-worst defense will have to slow down dual-threat QB Trazon Connley, who has 628 total yards and six touchdowns in three games this season.
Panthers 27, Tigers 21
Bryant (1-3, 0-0 Big South) at North Carolina A&T (1-3, 0-0 Big South), Saturday, 7:00 PM (ESPN3)
Last week, A&T controlled the ground game on both sides of the ball in their win against SC State, running for a season-high 284 yards while holding the Bulldogs to 12 yards rushing. Look for Coach Washington to rely on that familiar formula when the Aggies welcome Bryant to Truist Stadium on Saturday, led by RB Bhayshul Tuten who has a combined 400 yards rushing and three total touchdowns over the past three games.
Aggies 35, Bulldogs 30
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-2, 0-1 SWAC) at Southern (1-2, 0-1 SWAC), Saturday, 7:00 PM (ESPN+)
Someone’s “0” in conference play has gotta go and the pressure of keeping pace with Division leader PVAMU will be felt by both teams this weekend in Baton Rouge. This matchup between the SWAC’s best two scoring offenses not named Jackson State should be a fun one to watch, as both teams average over 34 points per contest.
Jaguars 35, Golden Lions 30
Mississippi Valley State (0-4, 0-1 SWAC) at Florida A&M (2-2, 1-1 SWAC), Saturday, 6:00 PM (Rattler Sports Network)
Uh oh. MVSU is one loss away from starting the season 0-5 for the first time since 2018. It doesn’t help that the conference’s worst passing defense will look to stop QB Jeremy Moussa (954 passing yards, 6 pass TDs) in Bragg Stadium, where FAMU has won 12 straight.
Rattlers 31, Delta Devils 10
South Carolina State (1-2) at South Carolina (2-2), Saturday, Noon (SEC Network)
Gamecocks 52, Bulldogs 7
Virginia Lynchburg (0-3) at Morgan State (1-2), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
Bears 42, Dragons 17
Howard (1-3) at Yale (1-1), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
Bulldogs 31, Bison 21
Norfolk State (0-4) at Sacred Heart (2-2), Saturday, 1:00 PM (NEC FrontRow)
Red Flash 17, Spartans 10
Robert Morris (0-3) at Delaware State (2-2), Saturday, 6:00 PM (ESPN+)
Hornets 21, Colonials 20
Lane (2-2) at Tennessee State (0-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM (ESPN3)
Tigers 41, Dragons 10
Bethune-Cookman (1-2, 1-0 SWAC) at Alabama A&M (0-4, 0-1 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (Bulldog Sports Network)
Wildcats 27, Bulldogs 24
Alabama State (2-2, 0-1 SWAC) at Texas Southern (1-3. 1-1), Saturday, 7:00 PM (AT&T Sportsnet SW)
Tigers 21, Hornets 17