It’s Week 8 and I don’t think anyone expected things to be this tight in the MEAC and SWAC.
Early Celebration Bowl favorites North Carolina A&T and Prairie View A&M are coming off losses, Florida A&M is in sole possession of first place in the MEAC, and conference championships are still technically within reach for everyone.
With four teams on a bye this week — Alabama State, Florida A&M, Prairie View A&M and Savannah State — everyone is looking to keep pace with their respective conference or division leaders. Six MEAC teams with one conference loss will go head-to-head this Saturday.
Here are my picks for this week’s games!
MEAC Game of the Week
North Carolina A&T at Bethune Cookman
The conference’s best scoring offense and defense will square off in this match up. Dual-threat QB Akevious Williams and the Wildcat offense, which averages over 35 points per game, has only been held under 28 points in their season opener against Tennessee State (34-3). DE Darryl Johnson and the Blue Death Defense, which allows 15 points per, hasn’t given up more than 23 all season.
PREDICTION: Aggies 24, Wildcats 21
Notes: The Aggies haven’t lost a road game since November of 2016. Their last loss in Daytona Beach was 2012.[divider]
After coming off a bye, both teams could be forced to do something that they don’t want to do because of the weather in Norfolk this Saturday, which is run the ball, seeing as though North Carolina Central and Norfolk State are ranked in the bottom half of the MEAC in rush offense.
The Spartan defense, which gives up 16 per, will expect to see a lot of QB Chauncey Caldwell and RB Isaiah Totten.
PREDICTION: Eagles 18, Spartans 14
Notes: Last year was the first time the Spartans had defeated NCCU in 22 years (1-4). [divider]
Both teams are coming off wins from last week. The MEAC’s Defensive Player of the Week, Morgan State LB Ian McBorrough, and the Bears look to slow down the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, Howard WR Jequez Ezzard and that high-powered Bison “Go-Go” offense which averages over 500 yards per game.
PREDICTION: Bison 42, Bears 14
Notes: Even though the Bears and Bison have split their last six games, Howard has not beaten Morgan State in Baltimore since 2001.[divider]
This game could be a mess. The weatherman is calling for thunderstorms in Orangeburg. Both teams give up at least 400 yards of offense, both teams are coming off of losses from last week and neither team scores more than 12 points per game.
PREDICTION: Bulldogs 28, Hornets 7
Notes: SCSU Head Coach Buddy Pough is 9-5 All-Time against Delaware State. [divider]
SWAC Game of the Week
Grambling at Alcorn State
With a little help, this could be a preview of the SWAC Championship game…again. It’s been the match-up for the last three years. Both teams are ranked within the top 3 in the SWAC in points scored and allowed.
If the Tigers want to win their third straight this season, and fifth straight against the Braves, they will have to stop QB PJ Simmons and RB Noah Johnson.
PREDICTION: Braves 30, Tigers 28
Notes: The Tigers, winners of six of their last seven against the Braves, haven’t lost to Alcorn IN Lorman since 1997.[divider]
Coach Dawson Odums and the Jags are in the Driver’s Seat in the SWAC’s West Division. Win out, and it’s on to Birmingham. Statistically, this game looks like it could be closer that you would expect but Southern should easily walk away with this win.
In their three games against SWAC opponents, The Tigers have lost by an average of two touchdowns.
PREDICTION: Jaguars 34, Tigers 14
Notes: Coach Odums has never lost to Texas Southern, winning six straight over the Tigers. [divider]
This game may be a little difficult to watch, seeing as though both teams have a combined record of 1-11. Doesn’t help that they both give up over 490 yards defensively and 45 points per game. Oh yeah, weatherman’s calling for rain that morning. Take your pick.
PREDICTION: Delta Devils 24, Golden Lions 21
Notes: Dating back to 2015, the Delta Devils have a combined record of 3-30. Of those three wins, two are against the Golden Lions.[divider]
The Tigers are looking to win three straight and four of their last five when they face non-conference opponent North Alabama this weekend. Can the Tigers, who average under 19 points per game, take advantage of a Lions defense that allows almost 28 points per?
PREDICTION: Lions 24, Tigers 20
Note: The first ever meeting between Jackson State and North Alabama but the Lions are 1-0 against SWAC opponents this season, beating Alabama A&M 25-20 in Week 3.