The start of November signifies that the college football season is nearing its end.
While the big talk around college football is the upcoming FBS Playoff, the HBCU playoff season is already in full-swing. The picture will be a lot clearer after Saturday, when the CIAA and SIAC lock-in their championship game participants while the MEAC contenders slowly start to rise to the top.
Saturday marks the end of the regular season at the Division II level, and there is still much to be settled in both the CIAA and the SIAC. As of today, only one of the four teams to participate in the two championship games have been determined. Albany State will represent the SIAC East in this year's championship game after beating Benedict, coupled by a Fort Valley State loss to Morehouse; it will play the winner of Saturday's Miles-Tuskegee matchup. Miles won the season-finale between the two Alabama teams last year, upsetting favored Tuskegee. Fans are wondering whether history repeat itself.
Things are even more wide open in the CIAA. Virginia State will put its Northern Division title on the line as it travels up I-95 to Richmond to take on rival Virginia Union on Saturday. Both teams enter the game with a 7-2 mark, with the winner getting a shot at a title and the loser likely witnessing the end of its season. Down in North Carolina, Winston-Salem State will look to add its fourth-straight CIAA Southern Division title. Standing in its way is a Fayetteville State team that knows that despite its underdog status, it too is only one game away from the CIAA Championship.
While no championship game berths are on the line in the MEAC, five teams with one conference loss find themselves jockeying for position for a championship crown that won't likely be decided until the last week of the season. Four of those teams will meet this weekend as Bethune-Cookman travels to Norfolk State and North Carolina A&T heads to Baltimore to face Morgan State. South Carolina State has the easiest game of the group, hosting a struggling FAMU squad.
There aren't as many contenders in the SWAC, but this week will feature championship implications as well. Alcorn State has a chance to wrap up the SWAC East title this week as it travels to second-place Alabama A&M. Over in the SWAC West, division leader Grambling State should have a cakewalk against Mississippi Valley State, while second-place Southern faces a fading-but-still-dangerous Texas Southern squad.
Don't forget to listen to the HBCU report on TSL Sports Talk, Thursdays from 3-5pm EST.