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More tough dates await top teams

LUT WILLIAMS

BCSP Editor

It’s back to reality for most of the teams in the BCSP Top Ten, primarily from the MEAC and SWAC of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), after a week that saw them take it on the chin from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams.

Among the big losers were preseason BCSP No. 1 Alcorn State (69-6 to Georgia Tech of the ACC), No. BCSP No. 4 Southern (62-15 to Louisiana Tech of Conference USA), BCSP No. 5 Grambling State (73-14 to Cal of the Pac-12), BCSP No. 6 Bethune-Cookman (45-0 to Miami of the ACC) and BCSP No. 8 Morgan State (63-7 to Air Force of the Mountain West). In a Div. II tussle, defending CIAA champion and No. 9 Virginia State lost 35-16 to California (Pa.).

The only winners from the Top Ten were then BCSP No. 2 South Carolina State, who defeated struggling Arkansas Pine Bluff in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge (35-7), BCSP No. 3 North Carolina A&T who humbled Shaw of the CIAA 61-7, No. 7 North Carolina Central who did the same to fellow CIAA member Saint Augustine’s (72-0) and BCSP No. 10 Tuskegee who shut out fellow SIAC member Clark Atlanta 26-0. But those winners are in for some challenges of their own this week.

S. C. State (1-0, 0-0 MEAC), the new BCSP No. 1, has a 6 p.m. home date Saturday against Coastal Carolina (1-0), ranked third nationally in this week’s STATS (formerly Sports Network) FCS Poll. Coastal Carolina announced last week that it will be joining the Sun Belt Conference and moving up to the FBS level by 2018. N. C. A&T (1-0, 0-0 MEAC) and N. C. Central (1-0, 0-0 MEAC), up to second and third in the BCSP ranking, have daunting FBS dates Saturday at 6 p.m at ACC opponents UNC (0-1) and Duke (1-0) respectively.

Tennessee State (1-0, 0-0 OVC), who moved into the Top Ten at No. 4 after a win Saturday night over Alabama State, takes on its second straight SWAC foe when it tangles with Jackson State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) in the 26th Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis Saturday at 6 p.m. And Tuskegee (1-0, 1-0 SIAC), who stayed at 10th after its win over CAU, faces perennial SIAC rival and contender Albany State (0-1, 0-0 SIAC) in a big early season conference showdown in the 2nd White Water Classic in Phenix City, Alabama (3 p.m.). Tuskegee (West) and Albany State (East) met in last year’s SIAC Championship Game.

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In other games involving BCSP Top Ten teams; No. 5 Alcorn State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) is at Alabama State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) Saturday (6 p.m) in a SWAC East battle, No. 6 Southern (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) plays Thursday night on ESPNU (6:30 p.m.) at Mississippi Valley State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) in another SWAC tussle, No. 7 Grambling State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) hosts No. 8 Bethune-Cookman (0-1, 0-0 MEAC) in the only contest between BCSP Top Ten teams (4 p.m.) while No. 9 Morgan State (0-1) is on the road (6:30 p.m.) taking on Illinois State (0-1).

Elsewhere in the SWAC Saturday, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-1) hosts Morehouse (1-0) in a SWAC vs. SIAC battle (6 p.m.) and Prairie View (1-0, 1-0 SWAC) has a 6 p.m. date at Texas State (0-1). On Friday night (7 p.m.), Texas Southern (0-1) hosts NAIA member Bacone (0-1). Alabama A&M (0-1) is idle.

In the MEAC Saturday, Norfolk State (0-1, 0-0), fresh off a 63-13 pasting at the hands of Rutgers, plays crosstown Norfolk (7 p.m.) at Old Dominion (1-0), Howard (0-1) who lost 49-0 to Appalachian State of the FBS Sun Belt Conference, has its second tough date (1 p.m.) at ACC member Boston College (1-0). Hampton (1-0) hosts Richmond (0-1) while Delaware State (0-1) is at Kent State (0-1), both at 6 p.m.

In other intriguing matchups, Winston-Salem State (0-1, 0-0 CIAA), off a loss to UNC Pembroke, tries its hand at 6 p.m. at Div. II No. 14 Valdosta State (1-0) who defeated AlbanyState 21-13 last week. Fayetteville State (1-0) hosts UNC Pembroke (1-0) at 6 p.m.

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