“I anticipate getting back to my winning ways.”
Who knew how prophetic that statement would be when I made my picks last week? Now, I refuse to bloviate about the accuracy of my Week 8 predictions. Instead, I’ll introduce this week’s slate of conference games highlighted by homecomings in Florida (FAMU) and Virginia (Norfolk State, Hampton).
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
2023 record: 80-27
Week 8: 10-0
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
Week 9 FCS HBCU Top 5 Games
All times are Eastern Standard
North Carolina A&T (1-6, 0-4) at Hampton (3-4, 1-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloSports)
These former MEAC and Big South members will meet for the first time as conference foes in the CAA at Hampton’s Homecoming. Both teams have struggled offensively recently, scoring a combined 70 points over their respective three-game losing streaks. The Aggies are on the verge of losing a seventh game in a season for the first time since 2010. If A&T wants to avoid that dubious feat, the nation’s sixth-worst rushing defense will have to stop a team that has seen four players – running backs Elijah Burris, Darran Butts, Tymere Robinson, and quarterback Chris Zellous — rush for 100 yards or more in a game at least once this season.
Pirates 24, Aggies 10
Howard (3-4, 1-0) at Delaware State (1-6. 0-1), Saturday, Noon/11:00 PM (ESPN+/ESPNU)
The Bison have had their share of road woes under head coach Larry Scott, compiling a record of 4-14 away from DC since 2020. They’ll have a chance to be on the better end of that record this weekend as Howard will travel to Dover to face the nation’s second-worst rush defense. Last week, the Hornets allowed 357 yards on the ground in their loss to South Carolina State. Look for that Bison backfield to have a big day.
Bison 30, Hornets 17
Alabama A&M (4-3, 2-2) at Alabama State (3-3, 2-2), Saturday, 3:30 (ESPN+)
Both teams need help catching first-place Florida A&M, but we know the multiple adages associated with rivalry games. The Magic City Classic features arguably one of the biggest rivalries in the SWAC. Last year, the Hornets halted Alabama A&M’s four-game win streak in head coach Eddie Robinson’s first season. This season, Alabama State’s defense allows 18.3 points per contest. They could have their hands full Saturday facing the league’s best offense, which averages 394 total yards and 34 points over seven games.
Bulldogs 31, Hornets 21
Prairie View A&M (3-4, 3-1) at #16 Florida A&M (6-1, 5-0), Saturday, 4:00 PM (ESPNU)
Florida A&M’s Homecoming, which is filled with a few firsts, could be a preview of this year’s SWAC Title Game. These two teams, who have not played against one another since 1984, will meet for the first time as conference opponents when Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons faces his old team for the first time since leaving Prairie View in 2017. PVAMU Quarterback Trazon Connley is averaging 238 passing yards and throwing five touchdowns while going 3-1 against conference opponents. He will need to find ways to stay upright against a FAMU defense that leads the SWAC in sacks (21).
Rattlers 27, Panthers 20
South Carolina State (3-4, 1-0) at #13 North Carolina Central (6-1, 1-0), Thursday, 7:30 PM (ESPNU)
The last two black college football national champions will face off in this marquee matchup Thursday night, pitting the MEAC’s best scoring offense and defense against each other. Fresh off their offensive struggles against Morgan State last week, the Eagles are not only looking to avenge their 26-24 road loss to the Bulldogs last season, but head coach Trei Oliver is in search of his first victory over Buddy Pough. This could very well be another tight contest, with South Carolina State winning the last two games by a total of five points.
Eagles 24, Bulldogs 21
Morgan State (1-5, 0-1) at Norfolk State (2-5, 0-1), Saturday, Noon (ESPN+)
Bears 17, Spartans 14
Mississippi Valley State (1-6, 1-3) at Alcorn State (4-3, 3-1), Saturday, 3:00 (Braves All-Access)
Braves 28, Delta Devils 17
Jackson State (5-3, 3-2) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6, 0-4), Saturday, 3:00 (ESPN+)
Tigers 35, Golden Lions 10
Bethune-Cookman (1-6, 0-4) at Grambling State (3-4, 2-2), Saturday, 3:00 PM (HBCU GO)
Tigers 31, Wildcats 24
Texas Southern (2-5, 1-3) at Southern (4-3, 3-1), Saturday, 5:00 PM (Jaguars Sports Network)
Jaguars 38, Tigers 28
Lindenwood (3-4, 1-2) at Tennessee State (5-2, 1-1), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
Tigers 24, Lions 17