It’s Week 11 of the HBCU FCS Football schedule and the front-runners in the MEAC and SWAC – Florida A&M, Alcorn State and Southern – are only leading their closest competitor by one game in the loss column.
Unfortunately, there shouldn’t be any movement at the top this week end, due a to bye (Alcorn State), playing inferior competition (Southern) or participating in games that don’t count against their conference record (Florida A&M and Grambling).
So, let’s make some picks, shall we?!
MEAC Game of the Week:
North Carolina Central at Bethune-Cookman
YES!!! HBCU Football on Prime Time TV on a Thursday! Both teams are still alive in the MEAC title race, with FAMU’s loss last week, but which defense will falter under pressure. Both teams are giving up at least 390 yards of offense and 31 points per game. Will the Wildcat defense break facing an Eagles run game that had three rushers gain at least 100 yards on the ground last week or will Bethune Cookman attempt to take advantage of the worst pass defense in the conference?
Prediction: Wildcats 35, Eagles 30
Notes: Bethune Cookman is 7-2 all-time against North Carolina Central. The Eagles last win in this series happened in 2016, a 31-14 victory in Daytona Beach.
The Aggies, looking to win three straight, will take the MEAC’s best defense into Georgia to face the conference’s worst offense. If Delaware State was able to hold the Tigers to 167 yards and 6 points, what will “The Blue Death Defense” do?
Prediction: Aggies 42, Tigers 6
Notes: The Aggies are 3-0 all-time against the Tigers, outscoring them 111-31.
Good news for Norfolk State, they scored more than 6 points in a game for the first time this season since their Week 5 win. Bad news, they gave up 310 yards on the ground to the Aggies and lost 37-20. Worse news, the best offense in the MEAC is coming to town. We already know how good Howard QB Caylin Newton and WR Jequez Ezzard are, but RB Dedrick Parson averaged 130 yards on 19 carries in his last three games. That “Go-Go Offense” is balanced. Uh oh.
Prediction: Bison 31, Spartans 24
Notes: Dating back to 2004, these two teams have split their last 12 match-ups.
The Hornets are on their first win streak (2) since 2013 and could win at least three in-a-row for the first time since 2012. Expect DSU head coach Rod Milstead to use his running attack, which averaged 253 yards on the ground in their two wins, against a Bear Defense that has given up 265 yards per over the last two weeks.
Prediction: Bears 24, Hornets 14
Notes: When the Hornets last won at least three-in-a-row back in 2012, the last team they beat in that streak – four games to be exact – was Morgan State…in Baltimore.
This game means nothing in the MEAC standings as it doesn’t count towards either team’s conference record, but if you’re Willie Simmons do you try to become the first first-year head coach at FAMU since Ken Riley in 1986 to get a win over South Carolina State or do you rest your players for the more meaningful game against BCU next week?
Prediction: Rattlers 24, Bulldogs 14
Notes: The Rattlers are 1-13 in their last fourteen games against SCSU. That lone win was in 2011.
SWAC Game of the Week:
Jackson State at Alabama State
Both teams are currently one-game out of first place in the East Division, with the Tigers still scheduled to face Alcorn State next week and the Hornets stealing one from the Braves a month ago. Statistically, they are two of the worst scoring teams in the SWAC but both teams average 29 points in their wins, including scoring 30+ in their victories last weekend.
Prediction: Tigers 27, Hornets 20
Notes: The Hornets are 6-2 in their last 8 games, including winning the last four.
Coach Odums and the Jags just need to win out and they are in the Celebration Bowl. This should be an easy test for Southern as the Golden Lions come into Baton Rouge, giving up 46 points per game against SWAC opponents.
Prediction: Jaguars 42, Golden Lions 20
Notes: The Jags have won five straight over UAPB…BUT the Golden Lions last win was in Baton Rouge, a 50-21 victory back in 2012.
Even though the Bulldogs can’t participate in postseason play this year and this game doesn’t count conference game, Coach Maynor and the Bulldogs won’t take it light against Grambling. And with their last three SWAC match-ups coming down to seven points or less – with GSU finishing 2-1 in those games — the Tigers can ill afford to relax this weekend, especially with the Bayou Classic coming up in a few weeks.
Prediction: Tigers 21, Bulldogs 20
Notes: The Tigers and the Bulldogs have the 2nd and 3rd best offenses in the conference respectively, scoring a combined 517 points so far this season.
This game means nothing within the conference, but it could be considered an attraction amongst HBCU Football enthusiasts. Ok, may not seeing as though Hampton’s wins this season have come against a 2-6 Presbyterian team and opponents from Division II or lower…but MSVU is 1-7, so…
Prediction: Delta Devils 27, Pirates 24
Notes: These teams have only played each other once before, a 6-3 victory for Hampton.