There are only five weeks remaining in the 2022 HBCU FCS football season.
Even with six teams entering this weekend on a bye (Norfolk State, Alabama A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Florida A&M, Grambling State, Alabama State), Week 8’s schedule does not lack marquee matchups.
We’re still in the midst of HBCU Homecoming Season, but this Saturday’s excitement will be heightened by the year’s most anticipated out-of-conference contest taking place in Mississippi, a potential de facto title game played in the Palmetto State, and flocks of alums and celebrities assembling in “Mecca.”
Before previewing this week’s games, let’s discuss my Week 7 prognostications. Finishing 10-2 last week, my prediction record is at an even 80%. Not bad. Let’s see if I can do better.
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
All times are Eastern Standard.
2022 record: 76-19
Week 7: 10-2
Week 8 Top 5 Games
Campbell (4-2) at No. 6 Jackson State (6-0), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
By far the best opponent both teams will face to this point of the season. 2022’s Top 2 FCS Recruiting Classes, JSU needs this win to prove themselves against an OOC opponent not named Tennessee State along with helping QB Shedeur Sanders on his quest to win the Heisman and/or Walter Payton Award. A road win for the Camels, at JSU’s Homecoming, would bolster their chances toward their first-ever post-season appearance.
CU’s defense, which allows 160 yards per game on the ground along with being the sixth-worst red zone defense in the nation, could have its hands full with JSU’s RBs Santee Marshall and Sy’veon Wilkerson.
Tigers 24, Camels 20
North Carolina Central (5-1, 1-0 MEAC) at South Carolina State (2-4, 0-0 MEAC), Saturday, 1:30 PM (ESPN3)
The winner of last year’s contest would eventually win the MEAC crown by one game. Saturday’s winner could very well be this season’s champ. Both coaches expect this to be a physical matchup, with the expectation that both teams will focus heavily on the ground game – on both sides of the ball. We’re about to learn a lot about the Bulldogs. Buddy Pough believes that “this ain’t the SC State teams of the past.” I would bet that he’s concerned about his defense’s chances of slowing down QB Davius Richard and that Eagles’ offense averaging about 42 points per game.
Eagles 35, Bulldogs 21
Delaware State (4-2, 1-0 MEAC) at Howard (1-5, 0-0 MEAC), Saturday, 1:00 PM (ESPN+)
Bison QB Quinton Williams returns from injury just in time for Howard’s Homecoming … and to face the MEAC’s best defense. Both teams have substantial rushing offenses, but if DSU DLs Omakus Langley, Marcus Winfield, and Isaiah Williams can be disruptive, the Hornets will win five games in back-to-back seasons in eight years, go 2-0 in conference play, and ruin the Bison’s celebration.
Hornets 24, Bison 20
Eastern Illinois (2-4, 1-1 OVC) at Tennessee State (2-4, 1-0 OVC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
It was just three weeks ago I questioned when TSU would get their first dub after starting the season 0-4. Well, the Tigers are currently on a two-game win streak. They could make it three if QB Draylen Ellis, who compiled 308 total yards and three total touchdowns against TTC last week, can exploit the nation’s 19th-worst pass defense.
Tigers 35, Panthers 27
Bethune-Cookman (1-5, 1-2 SWAC) at Mississippi Valley State (0-7, 0-4 SWAC), Saturday, 4:00 PM (HBCU GO)
Yes, I picked a pillow fight for one of my top matchups this week, but with good reason. Last year, MVSU secured its first win streak in nine years when they defeated BCU at their homecoming. This weekend, the Wildcats could return the favor by ruining the Delta Devil’s homecoming and extending their current losing streak to eight games. Problem is, we’re looking at two of the worst defenses in the nation – Bethune can’t stop the run, Valley can’t stop the pass. That means we’ll see a lot of BCU QB Jalon Jones and MVSU RB Caleb Johnson.
Delta Devils 21, Wildcats 17
North Carolina A&T (3-3, 1-0 Big South) at Robert Morris (0-6, 0-2 Big South), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
Aggies 37, Colonials 17
Richmond (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at Hampton (4-2, 1-2 CAA), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloSports)
Spiders 24, Pirates 17
Morgan State (2-4) at Delaware (5-1), Saturday, 3:00 PM (FloSports)
Blue Hens 31, Bears 20
Alcorn State’s Homecoming
Texas Southern (2-4, 2-2 SWAC) at Alcorn State (3-3, 2-1 SWAC), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
Braves 24, Tigers 21
Prairie View A&M (3-3) at Lamar (0-6), Saturday, 5:00 PM (ESPN3)
Panthers 24, Cardinals 20
Virginia Lynchburg (0-0) at Southern (4-2), Saturday, 5:00 PM (Jaguar Sports Network)
Jaguars 45, Dragons 10