If you know anything about HBCUs, you know that homecoming is the biggest event of the year. That's an undeniable fact, no matter the size or prominence of the school. Florida A&M is no exception, as thousands descend upon Tallahassee every year to celebrate the state's only public instiution originally designed for higher education of black folks.
But this homecoming at FAMU promises to be different than perhaps any other in the school's history. When FAMU steps on the field to face Norfolk State, it will be without Earl Holmes, who was fired on Tuesday. Holmes' firing sent shockwaves through the HBCU sports world as the former NFL linebacker and legendary Rattler was let go just days before homecoming.
Most people didn't expect Holmes to be back. His 6-16 record as a head coah was nowhere near the lofty expectations that many supporters of the program have come to expect. But firing Holmes via letter during homecoming week has left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans and alumni, much of it aimed at athletic director Kellen Winslow Sr.
On the field, this week promises to give fans another exciting slate of games, as races in all four conferences are still tight and undetermined. Nowhere is that more true than the MEAC. Entering this week's action, six teams have just one conference loss.
At least one of those teams will pick up their second conference loss on Saturday, as Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central will square off against each other down in Daytona Beach. The winner of that game will move into a tie with North Carolina A&T, who will get some much-needed rest this week with a bye.
Over in the SWAC, Grambling will try to extend its winning streak to six games after sitting out last week. It will play a Texas Southern team that has lost three of its last four games, but can put points on the board. Grambling's arch-rival Southern will look to keep pace as it faces an Alabama State team that has lost its last three games, including a heart-breaker last week in the Magic City Classic.
Both CIAA and SIAC Divisonal races are tight as well, with only a game separating the leaders from second place. First place teams Virginia State, Winston-Salem State, Tuskegee and Albany State can all clinch their divisions this week with a win and a loss by the second place squad. If that doesn't happen, some of next week's regular season finales will serve as de facto divisional championships.
Buckle up your seatbelts: It's gonna be a fun ride.
And don't forget to listen to the HBCU Football Report every Thusday from 3-5pm EST on TSL Sports Talk,