Bethune-Cookman takes over sole possession of first place; Howard’s loss allows Delaware State to leap into second place tie with NCCU
By ALVIN HOLLINS JR.
OCTOBER 27 – The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (5-0, 6-2) flexed their muscles against upstart North Carolina Central Saturday, subduing the visiting Eagles, 42-17 to seize the high ground in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football standings with three regular season weeks left.
The loss dropped the visiting Eagles (4-1, 5-3) into a second place tie with Delaware State (4-1, 5-3), which won 28-23 on Thursday night against Morgan State (2-3, 3-5).
Delaware State had their path to second cleared by South Carolina State (3-3, 4-5), which bashed Howard University (4-2, 5-3), 41-23 at Orangeburg Saturday afternoon.
In the other afternoon games, North Carolina A&T (2-3, 4-4) rebounded from a shutout loss at Delaware State a week ago, with a 30-9 home win over Norfolk State (0-6, 2-7) at Greensboro, N.C., keeping the Spartans winless in MEAC play; Hampton (2-3, 2-5) rallied to edge past visiting Savannah State (0-5, 1-7), 21-13 at Hampton, Va.
Enjoying a bye Saturday was Florida A&M (3-2, 3-5).
The New Pecking Order…
Bethune-Cookman (5-0) is in sole possession of the top spot in the league, followed now by Delaware State (4-1) and North Carolina Central (4-1) tied for second, with Howard (4-2), in fourth, and Florida A&M (3-2), still on the fringe, in fifth.
Next Weekend’s Schedule
Next Saturday’s schedule features a full slate of conference games headlined by first place Bethune-Cookman at Morgan State (1:00), and Delaware State at North Carolina Central (2:00), with the winner to lay claim to sole possession of second place.
Hampton is at Howard (1:00), with the Bison now in desperation mode to stay alive for the title; Florida A&M, whose faint title hopes are flickering, are at North Carolina A&T (1:30), while Savannah State visits Norfolk State (2:00), in a battle of the two remaining MEAC squads without a conference win.
South Carolina State (3-3, 4-5) will have a bye, Nov. 3
The Contenders’ Update:
@ Bethune-Cookman (5-0, 6-2) * rolled past North Carolina Central, 42-17 Saturday, to seize sole possession of the high ground in the MEAC… The Wildcats get their next two games on the road: at Morgan State (Nov. 3) and Savannah State (Nov. 10), before closing the regular season against FAMU, November 17.
@ North Carolina Central (4-1, 5-3) had its’ four-game winning streak snapped at Bethune-Cookman Saturday, but will have a shot at staying in the mix next weekend when they host Delaware State (2:00)…. Their remaining games feature a road tilt at FAMU (Nov. 10), and a home game against rival North Carolina A&T (Nov. 17) to close the season.
@ Delaware State (4-1, 5-3), has won four straight games to barge their way into the 2012 MEAC title conversation…. Their 28-23 win Thursday at Morgan State, on the heels of their impressive 24-0 shutout of North Carolina A&T last Saturday, has earned them the third spot in the standings into the last three weeks of the regular season…. The surging Hornets will close with two of their final three games on the road: at NCCU (Nov. 3) and Howard (Nov. 17), with a home game against Hampton (Nov. 10) in between.
On The Outside Looking In:
@ Howard (4-2, 5-3)[/b] saw its’ title hopes take a serious blow with Saturday’s road loss at SCSU, and its’ NCAA at-large hopes probably evaporated as well…. IF THE BISON FINISH 6-2 (8-3) AND BEAT GEORGIA SOUTHERN (Nov. 10), IT COULD KEEP THEM IN POSTSEASON CONVERSATION… In November, HU has Hampton (this week) and DSU at home (Nov. 17), with Georgia Southern (Nov. 10) on the road.
@ FAMU (3-2, 3-5)must WIN OUT and hope for a lot of help.. The Rattlers will have a much-needed bye weekend October 27, then close at North Carolina A&T, host NCCU for Homecoming, then tangle with B-CU in Orlando…
MEAC Random Shots
@ Defending champion Norfolk State (0-6) was 5-1 a year ago en route to their first-ever MEAC crown, but things have gone badly for the Spartans, who close at home with Savannah State (Saturday) and Morgan State (Nov. 10)….
@ Bethune-Cookman (5-0) can win their second MEAC title in three years if they can close out their final three games at Morgan State and at Savannah State, followed by that regular season finale in Orlando against archrival FAMU… The Wildcats are tops in the MEAC in the Sagarin Ratings (51.59 at #154), and also have four (4) points for their win against Alabama State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in the Out of Conference tiebreaker points chase.
@ With Howard (4-2) losing at South Carolina State, only Delaware State (4-1) could pose a possible co-championship threat to Bethune-Cookman, should the Wildcats drop one of their final three games, and both squads finish 7-1 in the league, since the two teams do not play this season.
@ The Game of the Week next weekend will be the Delaware State-North Carolina Central showdown in Durham (2:00), as the second place co-holders duel to remain on deck in case B-CU slips up…
@ Howard University (4-2, 5-3) has to win two of its’ final three games to clinch its’ first winning season since 2002, when they finished 6-5… They face Hampton, Georgia Southern and Delaware State in their final three games.
@ Florida A&M (3-2, 3-5) has a tough final three games facing them too, beginning next Saturday at North Carolina A&T (2-3), followed by a homecoming clash against North Carolina Central (4-1, Nov. 10) and the Florida Classic finale against first place Bethune-Cookman (5-0, Nov. 17)… The Rattlers would need a clean sweep and a whole lot of divine intervention to lay claim to even a share of the 2012 title.
MEAC FOOTBALL STANDINGS
Thru Saturday, October 27, 2012
School ………………………….. Conference / Overall
Bethune-Cookman ……….……… 5-0 1.000 / 6-2 .750
Delaware State ……………………. 4-1 .800 / 5-3 .625
North Carolina Central …………. 4-1 .800 / 5-3 .625
Howard University ………………… 4-2 .667 / 5-3 .625
Florida A&M …………………..……… 3-2 .600 / 3-5 .375
South Carolina State ………….… 3-3 .500 / 4-5 .444
^North Carolina A&T ……..……… 2-3 .400 / 4-4 .500
Morgan State ………………………… 2-3 .400 / 3-5 .375
^Hampton ………………..………….. 2-3 .400 / 2-5 .285
Norfolk State ………….……..……… 0-6 .000 / 2-7 .222
Savannah State ………..…………… 0-5 .000 / 1-7 .125
^-Ineligible for 2012 title
This Week’s Schedule
Game of Thursday, October 25
*Delaware State 28, Morgan State 23
Games of October 27
*Bethune-Cookman 42, North Carolina Central 17
*South Carolina State 41, Howard 23
*North Carolina A&T 30, Norfolk State 9
*Hampton 21, Savannah State 13
BYE: Florida A&M
Remaining Regular Season Schedule
Games of November 3*Hampton at Howard, 1:00
*Bethune-Cookman at Morgan State, 1:00
*Florida A&M at North Carolina A&T, 1:30
*Delaware State at North Carolina Central, 2:00
*Savannah State at Norfolk State, 2:00
BYE: South Carolina State
Games of November 10
*Hampton at Delaware State, 1:00
*Morgan State at Norfolk State, 1:00
*South Carolina State at North Carolina A&T, 1:30
#Howard at Georgia Southern, 2:00
*North Carolina Central at Florida A&M, 3:00
*Bethune-Cookman at Savannah State, 5:00
Games of November 17
*Hampton at Morgan State, 1:00
*Delaware State at Howard, 1:00
*Savannah State at South Carolina State, 1:30
*North Carolina A&T at North Carolina Central, 2:00
*Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M (Orlando), 2:30 (ESPN Classic)
BYE: Norfolk State