Duane Nash is our resident HBCU expert and operator of The Yard-HBCU Sports. You can follow Duane — like 7,000 other big-time HBCU fans have — on Twitter @TheYardHBCU. Duane will give readers weekly insight into what teams will win the big games, which individuals are in contention for big honors … and much, much more.
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FOR STARTERS … It’s Week 9 of the college football season! The final week in October and Homecoming Season continues with three schools celebrating on Saturday. One of those games, however, will be tougher than the usual homecoming game. Norfolk State and Tennessee State will be on a bye this weekend and some of you will be reading this, wondering, “you’re missing a game!” Yes, Jackson State/Prairie View A&M will have probably taken place by the time this is published…but I was going to pick the Panthers anyway, so …
Here are Duane's picks for this week's games:[divider]
Virginia-Lynchburg (0-6) at Hampton (3-4), Saturday, 2:00 PM, ESPN+: The bad news, Hampton has lost three out of their last four. The good news, it’s Homecoming and guess who’s comin’ to town? You guessed it, Virginia-Lynchburg of the NCCAA. The Dragons, who are currently on a eleven-game losing streak dating back to last season, are giving up 50 points per game this season. Happy Homecoming, Hampton! THE PICK: Pirates 52, Dragons 3
South Carolina State (4-2, 2-1) at Bethune Cookman (6-1, 4-0), Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPN3: The current MEAC Offensive Player of the Week, Bethune Cookman quarterback Akevious Williams, and the rest of the Wildcats will welcome the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week, the Bulldog’s defensive lineman Tyrell Goodwin and South Carolina State to Daytona for their Homecoming. As big as last weekend’s game between North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M was, this matchup is equally as big. With first place still up for grabs, the winner will take a step closer to making reservations for a trip to Atlanta this December. THE PICK: Wildcats 24, Bulldogs 21
Florida A&M (6-1, 4-0) at Morgan State (1-5, 1-2) at Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN3: Riding high off their big win over rival North Carolina A&T last weekend, the Rattlers will travel to Baltimore to face Morgan State. Good news for the Bears, they are .500 at the crib. Bad news, Morgan State, which scores a league worst 16.7 points per game, will have trouble keeping pace with that high-powered Rattlers offense which puts up over 30 a game. THE PICK: Rattlers 35, Bears 10
Howard (1-6, 0-0) at North Carolina A&T (4-1, 2-1), Saturday, 1:00 PM, ESPN3: The Aggies are returning to Greensboro after a tough 34-31 loss to Florida A&M last Sunday. Coach Sam Washington will be facing an opponent that truly is “lesser” (statistically) than North Carolina A&T. Enter the Bison of Howard. The MEAC’s worst scoring defense also gives up 477 yards of offense per game. Hey, the Bison only give up 37 points per game to MEAC opponents, so it shouldn’t be that bad Saturday, right? Right?!? THE PICK: Aggies 49, Bison 10
Delaware State (1-6, 0-4) at North Carolina Central (2-5, 1-2), Saturday, 2:00 PM, ESPN3: Losers of five straight, the Hornets are still looking for their first conference win since November of last year. Offensively, these teams both average around 18 points per game. The difference is that the Eagles have forced 17 turnovers this season, but they have only managed to force just one over their last two games. I have a feeling that might change against a freshman quarterback. THE PICK: Eagles 24, Hornets 17
Southern (4-3, 3-0) at Alcorn State (5-2, 3-0), Saturday, 3:00 PM: A rematch of last year’s SWAC Championship game and it appears as though, unless there’s a full collapse from either team, that this will be the title game again on December 7th with this week’s winner being the home team. The top two scoring defenses in the SWAC will look to slow down two of the top 10 running backs in the conference, Southern’s Devon Benn and Alcorn’s De’shawn Waller. There is a chance that Alcorn quarterback Noah Johnson will return, but if he doesn’t, the Braves have played well with junior Felix Harper, who put up 324 passing yards and 5 passing TDs in Alcorn’s 42-17 Homecoming win over Savannah State. I don’t understand how THIS game won’t be televised but…nevermind! THE PICK: Braves 30, Jaguars 21
Alabama A&M (4-2, 1-1) vs. Alabama State (3-3, 2-1), Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN3: The Magic City Classic! There is a slim chance that either team is worrying about winning the Division in this brutal in-state rivalry. The adage of “tossing the records out the window” truly has meaning in what could be the biggest game on the schedule for both teams and their fanbases. These teams have split their last 10 matchups, with the Bulldogs walking away with the W last year, 27-10. Coach Maynor will look to lead A&M to the first back-to-back win in this series since the Bulldogs did it from 2005 to 2009. THE PICK: Bulldogs 30, Hornets 21
Grambling State (2-4, 0-2) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5-2, 2-1), Saturday, 3:00 PM: Even though the Tigers have won two-straight over SWAC opponents, they have yet to win an actual conference game. Grambling is looking to avoid a 0-3 start in SWAC play since 2013 but the Golden Lions, with the conference’s second-best offense, will want to repay the Tigers for that controversial overtime loss from last year. THE PICK: Golden Lions 30, Tigers 28
Texas Southern (0-7, 0-3) at Mississippi Valley State (1-6, 0-3), Saturday, 3:00 PM: Welp, you have the SWAC’s worst offense in MVSU against TSU and the conference’s worst defense. Take your pick! If the Tigers want to extend their five-game win streak over the Delta Devils, they will have to slow down the versatile, dual-threat QB Dejerric Bryant. THE PICK: Delta Devils 17, Tigers 14
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