Last week, black college football was defined by upsets. Heading into this week, it looks like it will be defined by suspense.
For the second week in a row, Durham, NC will be the center of the black college football world. North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central is always a big game in NC, but this year the game will have added intruigue. This year there is more than just inter-state bragging rights on the line, as North Carolina A&T can either win the MEAC title outright with a win or relinquish their position to one of four other teams who could end up representing the conference in the FCS playoffs with an A&T loss.
At 9-2, A&T has been the most consistent team in the MEAC this season. After showing signs of life the last two seasons, A&T has come into its own in the fourth year of the Rod Broadway era. A win on Saturday would give A&T its fifth MEAC football crown and its first since 2003. It would be an added bonus for Broadway, whose careeer blossomed in Durham as NCCU head coach a decade ago. The Eddie Robinson Award finalist is 1-0 in Durham since returning back to his home state after a stint at Grambling.
His counterpart, Jerry Mack, is in his first season at NCCU. The 34 year-old head coach has re-energized the NCCU fan base after a 2013 season that saw the team fire its head coach and struggle heavily. No one outside of Durham would have predicted that NCCU could possibly have a chance at the MEAC title at the start of the year, but that's the case.
Morgan State, South Carolina State, and Bethune-Cookman will all look to close out their season with a win and hope that NCCU can pull off the upset over A&T as five teams still have a legit shot at representing the conference in the playoffs. BCU will try to rebound from two losses in three weeks as it takes on its arch-rival Florida A&M in the Florida Classic.
Over in the SWAC, not much is on the table this week. Alcorn State has already wrapped up the SWAC East title while the Bayou Classic will decide whether they will face Southern or Grambling. Aside from the on the field action, the most interesting thing to come out of the league this week will be which coaches on the hot seat can win and keep their jobs.
And at the Division II level, both Virginia State and Tuskegee host playoff games. CIAA Champion VSU will look for its first-ever D2 playoff win as it hosts LIU Post. Tuskegee, in the playoffs for a second year in a row, will look to win its first playoff game as it hosts West Georgia.
The HBCU Football season is winding down, but the action is as hot as ever as we head to the end.