There may be a few weeks left in the regular season of college football, but for all intents and purposes, the playoffs have started in HBCU Football. This week four teams will play in conference championship games, while as many as six teams are still alive in the MEAC and SWAC.
Let's start in Division II. Coming into the weekend, six teams still had their eyes on a potential conference championship bid. With Albany State having already wrapped up its SIAC East title a week earlier, a conference title game berth was on the line for the second year in a row as Tuskgee and Miles came together. Miles led by double-figures for much of the first half, but Tuskgee woke up and came away with a 48-33 win in a high scoring affair.
Over in the CIAA, there were TWO elimination games. Up in Richmond, long-time rivals Virginia State and Virginia Union battled for the Northern Divsion Crown, with VSU coming out on top 33-12. Down I-95 in Fayetteville, Winston-Salem State beat Fayetteville State 17-7 to win its fourth consecutive CIAA Southern Division title.
Saturday's results means Winston-Salem State and Virginia State are set to meet in the CIAA Championship for the second year in a row. You may remember last year's matchup never happened after an altercation between players led to the game's cancellation. Let's hope that calmer heads prevail this year so that any disputes can be settled appropriately on the field and not in the bathroom.
While the Division II regular season is over, the FCS regular season still has two weeks remaining. If things continue on their current track, things could be equally as interesting down the stretch.
Alcorn State picked up its first-ever SWAC East title with a resounding 41-14 win over Alabama A&M on Saturday. The win means that the Braves will be heading to the SWAC Championship Game in Houston in December. They will play the SWAC West champion, which will be either Southern or Grambling as both won in Week 11.
Meanwhile in the MEAC, things aren't quite as clear. Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T and South Carolina State all won in Week 11, giving all three teams a 5-1 MEAC record. South Carolina State can claim the MEAC title by winning its last two games, as it holds the tie-breaker over A&T and BCU with victories over both teams in their head-to-head matchups. It also has arguably the toughest remaining opponents of the trio, still having to face dangerous teams in Morgan State and Norfolk State.
Buckle up your seatbelts folks, this is going to be quite a ride!