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Black College News

Most races undecided as season enters final month

BCSP Editor

The CIAA and SIAC enter the final two weeks of their regular seasons this weekend with just one division race decided. In the SIAC West, Kentucky State has come out of nowhere to get wins over defending division and conference champ Miles and previously undefeated Tuskegee the last two weeks to clinch the West division title. In the SIAC East, Albany State and Benedict are on top as they battle this week in Augusta, Ga. with Fort Valley State lurking. Four teams (Bowie State, Virginia Union, Virginia State and Elizabeth City State) are tied for first in the CIAA North with 2-1 records. Winston-Salem State and Fayetteville State are tied for the South Division lead with both at 3-0.

At 3-0 in the West Division and one division game left this week at home (1:30 p.m.) vs. Lane, Kentucky State (4-4, 4-1 SIAC) has clinched the division title. The Thorobreds, under first-year head coach John L. Williams, will represent the division in the Nov. 12 league championship game in Montgomery, Alabama. KSU finishes the regular season next week with a non-division SIAC date at home vs. Benedict. Meanwhile, Tuskegee (6-1, 4-1, 1-1 W), who had risen to No. 5 in the NCAA Div. II national poll, has fallen to 17th after the KSU loss as they travel for a 1 p.m. date at Central State (1-7, 1-5, 1-2 W) Saturday.

Despite being out of SIAC championship contention, Tuskegee is still alive for a Div. II playoff spot as they are ranked third in Super Region II. The top eight teams in the region make the playoff field. Tuskegee closes the regular season next week vs. Miles. Albany State (4-3, 3-1 SIAC) leads the East Division at 2-0 while Benedict (4-4, 3-2) is in second at 2-1. They meet in Augusta, Ga. Saturday (2 p.m.) with the division lead at stake. Benedict can clinch the division title and a spot in the SIAC Championship Game opposite Kentucky State with a win. Albany State can clinch the division crown with a win and a loss by Fort Valley State (2-6, 2-3, 1-1 E) at Morehouse’s homecoming (2 p.m.) Saturday. Wins by Albany State and FVSU will set up a showdown for the East Division title and championship game berth between the two next week in their traditional season-ending Fountain City Classic game in Columbus, Ga.

The final two weeks will decide both division titles in the CIAA and who will play in the Nov. 12 league championship game which has now been moved to Salem, Virginia (see related story). With four teams tied in the North, it’s anybody’s guess how things will flesh out. Two of those 2-1 teams tied in the North – Virginia Union and Elizabeth City State – meet at ECSU’s homecoming Saturday (1:30 p.m.). Virginia State hosts (2 p.m.) Chowan and Bowie State plays (1 p.m.) at Lincoln.

In the final week (Nov. 5), ECSU is at BSU and VSU is at VUU. In the South, Winston-Salem State (6-2, 5-0, 3-0 S) plays at Shaw’s homecoming (1 p.m.) while Fayetteville State (3-5, 3-2, 3-0 S) has its homecoming (1:30 p.m.) vs. Livingstone. Regardless of the outcome of those games, the Div. title and berth in the CIAA title game will be decided next week when FSU hosts WSSU.

Three teams – BCSP No. 3 North Carolina Central (6-2, 5-0 MEAC), No. 2 North Carolina A&T (6-1, 4-0) and No. 6 South Carolina State (3-3, 3-0) – are undefeated in MEAC play as we head into the final five weeks of the regular season. This week, NCCU is off while A&T, up to 12th in this week’s STATS FCS national poll, hosts a resurgent Florida A&M (3-5, 3-2) team for homecoming (1 p.m.) and SC State travels (1 p.m.) to Hampton (3-4, 3-2).

BCSP No. 2 Grambling State (4-1, 4-0 SWAC W) is tied atop the SWAC West with No. 5 Southern (4-2, 4-0 W). No. 8 Prairie View A&M (4-3, 4-1 W) is just a half-game behind. This week, the G-Men, 21st in the FCS poll, have their homecoming (2 p.m.) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6, 1-4 W), Southern has a tough date (2 p.m.) at Alcorn State (3-3, 3-2 E) and Prairie View plays at the Jackson State (3-4, 3-2 E) homecoming (2 p.m.). JSU and Alcorn State currently lead the SWAC East race with 3-2 marks. Alabama A&M and Alabama State take identical 2-5 overall marks and 2-4 conference records into the 75th Magic City Classic at Birmingham’s Legion Field Saturday (3 p.m.). Texas Southern (3-4, 3-3 W) plays at the top ranked team in the STATS FCS national poll in 8-0 Sam Houston State (6 p.m.).

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