What the hell’s going on out here?
No, seriously. I was sub-.500 with my picks last week. Missing on out-of-conference matchups like South Carolina State/Tennessee Tech and Prairie View/Houston Christian is one thing. But Alabama A&M and Alabama State ruined Grambling and Jackson State’s Homecoming respectively, Mississippi Valley State got off the schneid, and Texas Southern served up a Forty Burger to Bethune-Cookman in Daytona.
This week, I anticipate getting back to my winning ways as the MEAC starts league play, intraconference contests continue to heat up in the SWAC, and Homecoming Season continues to roll on as Alabama A&M, Alabama, State, Grambling, Prairie View will all be on byes.
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
2023 record: 70-27
Week 7: 5-6
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
Week 8 FCS HBCU Top 5 Games
All times are Eastern Standard
5. South Carolina State (2-4, 0-0) at Delaware State (1-5. 0-0), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
With a combined nine losses between them, head coaches Lee Hull and Buddy Pough are still trying to figure out their programs almost two months into the season. Yet, both teams have an opportunity to be atop the conference with a win on Saturday. The Hornets snapped a five-game losing streak against the Bulldogs with a 27-24 OT win last year. South Carolina State has plans to ruin Delaware State’s homecoming. However, the Bulldogs have yet to win a road game since September… of 2022.
Bulldogs 30, Hornets 28
4. Alcorn State (3-3, 2-1) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-5, 0-3), Saturday, 3:00 PM (HBCU GO SPORTS)
If what Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coach Alonzo Hampton believes is true, the Golden Lions will face the best opponent at this point of the season at their homecoming. UAPB has lost five of their last six meetings with Alcorn by an average of 24 points. The Braves are eying their third consecutive victory with a win Saturday if quarterback Aaron Allen – who is averaging 320 yards of total offense while compiling seven touchdowns against two interceptions in his last three starts – can lead his offense over a Pine Bluff defense that allowed 414 yards and 42 points in a loss last week.
Braves 31, Golden Lions 13
3. #19 Florida A&M (5-1, 4-0) at Texas Southern (2-4, 1-2), Saturday, 8:00 PM (ESPN+/Rattler Sports Network)
Winners of back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Tigers will welcome a Top 20 program to Houston on Saturday. The Rattlers understand that stopping the run will be their biggest challenge. TSU running back LaDarius Owens (567 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns) continues to impress, but the SWAC’s best rush offense will have a tough time moving the ball against the league’s best defense.
Rattlers 27, Tigers 13
2. Norfolk State (2-4, 0-0) at Howard (2-4, 0-0), Saturday, Noon (ESPNU)
It’s homecoming at “The Mecca.” Both teams are coming off tough road losses last week. However, Howard (193.2 yards per game) and Norfolk State (189.8) are the MEAC’s top two rushing offenses. The return of running back Ian Wheeler and a stingy pass defense (141.5 passing yards allowed per game) should help in Howard’s bid to defeat the Spartans in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2016-2017.
Bison 27, Spartans 24
1. #16 North Carolina Central (5-1, 0-0) at Morgan State (1-4, 0-0), Thursday, 7:30 PM (ESPNU)
The Bears have not forgotten about their 59-20 loss to Central in 2022, extending the Eagles win streak over Morgan State to six. This year, NCCU will travel to Baltimore for a primetime showcase of the conference’s best-scoring offense and defense. The question is, which Morgan State defense will we see? The one that held its first four opponents to 19.25 points per contest, or the team that allowed 45 points to Yale. It doesn’t help that the Eagles, led by the “Pee Wee (Davius Richard) & Mookie (Latrell Collier) Show,” are averaging 41 points against non-FBS teams.
Eagles 31, Bears 20
Southern (3-3, 2-1) at Bethune-Cookman (1-5, 0-3), Saturday, 4:00 PM (CatEye Network)
Jaguars 28, Wildcats 17
Jackson State (4-3, 2-2) at Mississippi Valley State (1-5, 1-2), Saturday, 5:00 (ESPN+)
Tigers 31, Delta Devils 20
Lincoln (CA) (0-8) at Tennessee State (4-2), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
Tigers 45, Oaklanders 7
Richmond (4-3, 3-1) at North Carolina A&T (1-5, 0-3), Saturday, 1:00 PM (FloSports)
Spiders 31, Aggies 10
#7 Delaware (5-1, 3-0) at Hampton (3-3, 1-2), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloSports)
Blue Hens 35, Pirates 21