Week 11 of Black College Football means that the season is over for some teams while others are heading towards a resolution, and a few to the apex of theirs.
By Saturday, the SIAC and CIAA will have crowned new champions while the MEAC and SWAC will know just how clear the road to The Celebration Bowl will be, and a wild card game may have big-time implications on the Division II playoffs.
The SIAC Championship Game is a matchup of two teams who weren’t expected to do much this season. Both Kentucky State and Fort Valley State were picked to finish at or near the bottom of their respective divisions to start the season, and neither will finish with a winning record as both teams come into Saturday’s game with a 4-6 record.
The CIAA Championship matchup is a familiar one as Bowie State and Winston-Salem State meet in the title game for the third time since 1989. WSSU shocked the HBCU Football world last year by coming up with a 17-14 win on a last-second field goal by Will Johnson to win the CIAA title and upset highly favored Bowie.
BSU enters the game 7-3, clinching the CIAA North Division last week with a blowout win over Elizabeth City State. It is led by redshirt-freshman quarterback Amir Hall, who held a clipboard last year at the CIAA Championship Game. He’s thrown for 27 touchdowns and was named CIAA Offensive Player of The Year.
WSSU comes in on a seven-game winning streak that included several cliffhangers along the way. Their two-headed running back monster of Te’Vaughn Hurse and Kerrion Moore has given defensive coordinators fits all year.
Over in the FCS, the MEAC looks like its finally ready to have a sole champion as both North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T are ranked and undefeated in the conference. Both teams have very winnable games against Delaware State and Howard this week as they prepare for what looks to be a de facto MEAC Championship Game in Durham next week to determine who represents the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl, and who may have to take their chances on an at-large playoff bid.
Speaking of playoffs, don’t count Tennessee State out just yet. The OVC team is 6-3 including a loss to Vanderbilt, and they are just outside the Top 25. If they were to run the table and go 8-3, they just may find themselves in the post-season as well.
Things are pretty interesting right now in the SWAC East, where no one has a winning record but four of the five teams (Alcorn State, Jackson State, Alabama A&M and Alabama State) all have three wins. With two games to go, any of them could end up in Houston at the SWAC Championship Game. Things are tight in the SWAC West as well, as Grambling, Southern and Prairie View all have six conference wins. Prairie View has one SWAC loss, however, to Grambling which means that it needs to beat Southern this week and hope that Grambling trips up twice between now and the Bayou Classic.
And last but not least, we have Virginia State traveling to Tuskegee in a matchup of two teams hoping to earn a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Virginia State finished 8-2, but finished behind Bowie State in the CIAA North Division, meaning they were available when Tuskegee called them needing a 10th game to become playoff eligible.
There were a lot of twists and turns (read: drama) but ‘Skegee was able to make this game happen and will put its 8-1 record on the line against their foe from the CIAA and hope a win will be enough to get them into the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Fasten your seat belts, the fun is starting now.