Conference races are far from over. In fact, they are getting more interesting by the week. Here’s how they look heading into the final two weeks of the SIAC and CIAA regular seasons and the final month of MEAC and SWAC games.
The biggest question in the CIAA, other than winners and losers over the final two weeks of the regular season, is the situation in the North Division.
Currently, no adjustment has been made on the record of Bowie State after its starting quarterback over the first five games, record-setter Matthew Goggans, was declared ineligible. The conference announced shortly after Goggans’ ineligibility was announced, after an Oct. 3 win over Johnson C. Smith, that it was “working with the institution (BSU) during its fact-finding investigation” and would report once that was completed. CIAA officials said Tuesday that the fact-finding had not been completed yet. That means no official word has been released as to whether BSU will have wins from its 4-1 start with Goggans under center nullified or forfeited.
That decision is just part of the problem. Also to be publicly made clear is how conference records will be adjusted to determine division winners and participants in the Nov. 14 Championship Game in Durham, N. C. BSU’s current 5-0 conference mark and 3-0 division record puts them in first place. While waiting for that decision, this week Bowie State hosts Lincoln, Virginia Union hosts Elizabeth City State and Virginia State is at Chowan. All three games are 1 p.m. starts.
In the South, Winston-Salem State and Fayetteville State are tied atop the division with 4-1 conference marks. Livingstone and Johnson C. Smith are two games back at 2-3. This Saturday, WSSU has homecoming vs. winless Shaw (2 p.m.), FSU is at Livingstone’s homecoming (1:30 p.m.) and JCSU plays at winless Saint Augustine’s homecoming (1 p.m.).
In the SIAC East, Fort Valley State and Albany State are both leading the division with 2-0 marks and appear headed for their traditional season-ending showdown (Nov. 7) at the Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Ga. to determine the division winner.
Before that however, are games this week as Albany State plays at home Saturday vs. winless Benedict (0-8) and FVSU has its homecoming vs. Morehouse. Both games get under way at 2 p.m. In the West, Tuskegee and Miles are tied at 3-0 also headed for a Nov. 7 showdown at Tuskegee’s homecoming for that division’s title. Tuskegee has a home game Saturday (1 p.m.) vs. dangerous Central State and Miles is on the road Thursday (6 p.m.) at Stillman.
In the MEAC, North Carolina A&T moved to 4-0 in the conference with its 65-14 homecoming win over Howard Saturday. The Aggies, up to 20th in both the STATS and Coaches FCS national polls, travels to Tallahassee, Florida to take on Florida A&M Saturday (3 p.m.).
Bethune-Cookman (4-1), South Carolina State (3-1) and North Carolina Central (3-1) are just behind the Aggies. B-CU plays at winless Delaware State (2 p.m.) Saturday while SC State (vs. Hampton) and NCCU (vs. Norfolk State) have dangerous homecomings games at 1:30 and 2 p.m. respectively. Hampton is 3-2 in MEAC play while NSU is 2-2. Morgan State (3-2) is off this week.
East Division leader and defending league champion Alcorn State (4-2, 3-1 SWAC E) is back in action Saturday after a week off playing at Southern (4-3, 4-1 W) in Baton Rouge, La. (4 p.m.).
The game between the high-scoring teams (SU 35.4 ppg., Alcorn 37.8) will feature the top two running backs in the SWAC in Southern’s Lenard Tillery (104.6 ypg., 9 TDs) and Alcorn’s Darryan Ragsdale (85.5 ypg., 6 TDs.). The battle will also include two of the top QBs in Southern’s Austin Howard and Alcorn’s John Gibbs Jr. Southern needs a win to remain a game behind West Division leader Grambling State (6-2, 6-0 W) who is idle. Elsewhere, Alabama A&M and Alabama State meet in Birmingham’s Legion Field in the 74th Magic City Classic (2:30 p.m.). A&M (2-2) needs