When Bethune Cookman and Florida A&M faceoff this Saturday at 2:30, the two teams will be playing for more than just in-state bragging rights. The winner of this year’s Florida Classic will be fighting for the right to be considered for this year’s FCS playoffs.
Both the Wildcats and Rattlers boast identical 7-3 records and a victory over Division II Fort Valley State. Saturday’s Florida Classic is essentially a playoff elimination game for the loser since both teams need one more FCS win to qualify for playoff consideration.
The Pros for BCU:
Assuming the Wildcats defeat FAMU, BCU can boast of a 6 game winning streak since their midseason quarterback change and a road victory over playoff bound and Top 25 foe Norfolk State.
Brian Jenkins’ club ranks in the Top 25 Nationally in 6 major categories on both sides of the ball:
· Total Offense- 10th
· Scoring Offense- 13th
· Rushing Offense- 6th
· Total Defense- 12th
· Scoring Defense- 25th
· Passing Defense- 6th.
In the “moral victory” category, the Wildcats gave perennial powerhouse, University of Miami, all they could handle for 3 quarters.
BCU has also performed similarly to playoff bound Towson, Old Dominion, and Appalachian State against common opponents;
- Towson beat Morgan State 42-3; BCU defeated Morgan 49-23;
- Old Dominion beat Hampton 45-42 while the Wildcats defeated HU 35-31;
- Appalachian State defeated Savannah State 41-6; BCU defeated SSU 59-3.
Bethune-Cookman’s loss to North Carolina A&T has not only prevented the Wildcats from competing for the conference’s automatic qualifier, but the loss to the Aggies could also be the difference as to whether or not the Wildcats receive an at-large invite from the FCS playoff committee.
The MEAC’s recent playoff woes (winless since 1999) could also be held against the Wildcats. The MEAC, however, is a respectable 7-9 this year against out of conference FCS competition.
Most FCS pundits believe that there are 4 or 5 at-large playoff spots still on the table. The teams most likely to fill those spots are BCU (MEAC), FAMU (MEAC), Wofford (SoCon), James Madison (CAA), Indiana State (MVC), Youngstown State (MVC), Illinois State (MVC), Eastern Kentucky (OVC), Central Arkansas (Southland), New Hampshire (CAA), and Duquesne (Patriot). Translation and football cliché of the week—“there is still a lot of football left to be played”.
So tell us, assuming BCU wins the Florida Classic, do you believe that the Wildcats are worthy of a playoff spot?