Here’s how the 11 MEAC teams stack up based on records, rankings and their remaining schedules as the Hunt For November begins.
By ALVIN HOLLINS JR.
Now that the 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Football’s “Hunt For November” is in full swing with league play headed into its’ third week, the time has come for ranking the boyz from top to bottom, along with their remaining schedules.
The rankings below are based on the Jeff Sagarin College Football Ratings, and any positions in various national polls will be included.
Bethune-Cookman (4-1, 1-0 * #16 FCS/#1 SBN/#2 HSRN * 118 Sagarin)
@ With wins over #145 Sagarin/#1 HSRN/#2 SBN Tennessee State (5-1) and FBS member Florida International, the defending champs are the team to beat…. And with North Carolina A&T’s 29-24 conference loss to South Carolina State last week, the Wildcats are in full control of their own destiny, as they for now have avoided a potential tie with A&T for the title since the two teams don’t play this season… The ‘Cats do have three key games in the next four weeks: Saturday at Howard; Oct. 26 vs. SCSU; Nov. 2 at NCCU.
REMAINING SCHEDULE: Saturday @ Howard; 10-19 SSU; 10-26 SCSU; 11-2 @ NCCU; 11-9 NSU; 11-16 HAMP; 11-23 FAMU (Orlando).
South Carolina State (4-2, 2-0 * #3 SBN/#4 HRSN * 162 Sagarin)
@ The Bulldogs appear to be on the rebound from last year’s sub .500 overall finish, owning a slice of the league lead and a huge win over North Carolina A&T, puts them on track towards a possible 13th MEAC title… But the next three weeks will likely tell the tale of the Bulldogs’ season as they are at NCCU Thursday, then trek to Bethune-Cookman after a bye week, on Oct. 26.
REMAINING GAMES: Thursday at NCCU; 10-19 BYE; 10-26 @ B-CU; 11-2 @ SSU; 11-9 FAMU; 11-16 MORG; 11-23 @ NSU
North Carolina A&T (3-1, 1-1 * #5 SBN/#7 HSRN * 176 Sagarin)
@the Aggies scored big out-of-conference wins over Appalachian State and Elon to open a few eyes, but their march toward the MEAC title was derailed a bit by their heartbreaking 29-24 loss to resurgent South Carolina State in Atlanta last Saturday.
A&T will need help to win the title as they will be chasing B-CU, SCSU, NCCU and Norfolk the rest of the way, with only NCCU on their schedule at season’s end.
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday @ Hampton; 10-19 DSU; 10-26 @ FAMU; 11-2 VA-LYNCHBURG; 11-9 @ MORG; 11-16 SSU; 11-23 NCCU
North Carolina Central (3-2, 1-0 * #9 HSRN/#10 SBN * 192 Sagarin)
@despite the off-field drama surrounding deposed head coach Henry Frazier, the Eagles remain focused on chasing their first MEAC title in 40 years… Very competitive in a 35-17 home setback to #4 FCS Towson on Sept. 21, the Eags outslugged Howard, 37-28 on the road last week in their league opener… NCCU has the other four title contenders on tap (SCSU, NSU, B-CU and A&T), beginning their attack run at home Thursday against first place SCSU.
REMAINING GAMES: Thursday SCSU; 10-19 MORG; 10-26 @ SSU; 11-2 B-CU; 11-9 @ HAM; 11-16 NSU; 11-23 @ NCA&T
Norfolk State (2-3, 2-0 * #10 HSRN * 225 Sagarin)
@ Two conference wins have softened the disappointment of an 0-3 start, which included relatively close bouts against Charleston Southern and Maine, plus a money game at Rutgers… The Spartans’ league wins were no walks in the park though, as they eased past Morgan State (27-21) and needed a blocked field goal to eke past suddenly dangerous Savannah State (26-24) last week…. The Spartans, who are spared a matchup with A&T, will have the trio of Bethune-Cookman and NCCU back-to-back on the road before closing at home against SCSU… Oh, and they duel ODU in two weeks (Oct. 26) too.
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday at DSU; 10-19 HAMP; 10-26 ODU; 11-2 FAMU; 11-9 @b-CU; 11-16 @ NCCU; 11-23 SCSU.
Howard University (1-5, 0-2 * 221 Sagarin)
@ The Bison started strong in their first two games, holding a fourth quarter lead before fading at Eastern Michigan, 34-24, then rebounding for a 27-16 against Morehouse, but have since dropped three straight including back-to-back conference games which have all but snuffed out their title hopes for 2013… Their Saturday home bout with defending champion Bethune-Cookman could either eliminate them from title contention, or keep them in the mix, as their remaining schedule after Saturday features six teams with losing records.
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. B-CU; 10-19 @ FAMU; 10-26 MORG; 11-2 @ DSU; 11-9 SSU; 11-16 @tex. SOUTH; 11-23 @ HAMP
Delaware State (1-4, 1-1 * 229 Sagarin)
@ The Hornets have been a tough out despite being in rebuilding mode, escaping Savannah State with a 24-22 win, before going toe-to-toe with #21st ranked Bethune-Cookman for three quarters before bowing out 21-7… The Hornets have played a rugged schedule so far which features three FCS Top 25 teams – #1 North Dakota State; #4 Towson and the #21 Wildcats, along with perennial power Delaware…. DSU has two remaining contenders on their schedule, Norfolk State at home Saturday and North Carolina A&T on the road (Oct. 19).
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. Norfolk State; 10-19 @ NCA&T; 10-26 @ HAMP; 11-2 HOWARD; 11-9 BYE; 11-16 @ FAMU; 11-23 MORG.
Morgan State (1-5, 1-1 * 234 Sagarin)
@ The Bears snapped a five-game skid last Saturday with a 34-21 home win over slumping Florida A&M, on the heels of a narrow 27-21 conference-opening loss at Norfolk State two weeks ago… Morgan has a bye Saturday before a closing six-game stretch that includes contenders NCCU, SCSU, A&T and DSU.
REMAINING GAMES: 10-12 BYE; 10-19 @ NCCU; 10-26 @ HOW; 11-2 HAMP; 11-9 NCA&T; 11-16 @ SCSU; 11-23 @ DSU
Florida A&M (1-4, 0-1 * 223 Sagarin)
@ The Rattlers are the leading candidates for the league’s Most Disappointing Award right now, having lost four straight games, including two winnable non-conference home bouts against Tennessee State (27-7) and Samford (27-20), and last Saturday’s 34-21 loss in their conference opener at Morgan State… The FAMU Offense, has tailed off dramatically so far, ranking last in the MEAC and 120th (of 122) in FCS, managing a paltry 211 yards per game… The Rattlers are still alive for the title, but face four of the leading contenders – A&T, NSU, SCSU and B-CU in their closing seven game stretch.
REMAINING GAMES: 10-12 @ Savannah State; 10-19 HOWARD; 10-26 NCA&T; 11-2 @ NSU; 11-9 @ SCSU; 11-16; DSU; 11-23 B-CU (Orlando).
Hampton (0-5, 0-1 * 233 Sagarin)
@ The Pirates are on the verge of being marched off the plank of their own ship as they continue their recent struggles on the gridiron under beleaguered coach Don Rose… Although they are just 0-1 and mathematically still in the hunt for the league title, they have a formidable final seven games that includes Saturday’s home bout with North Carolina A&T, next week’s road game at Norfolk, plus a November home date with NCCU followed by a road tilt at Bethune-Cookman.
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. North Carolina A&T; 10-19 @ NSU; 10-26 DSU; 11-2 @ MORG; 11-9 NCCU; 11-16 @ B-CU; 11-23 HOWARD.
Savannah State (1-5, 0-2 * 242 Sagarin)
@ Under new management, the Tigers are no longer playful tabby cats but have shown a renewed growl since the hiring of head coach Earnest Wilson this summer… SSU is six points away from being 2-0 in league play, with a 24-22 home loss to Delaware State, followed by a 26-24 road heartbreaker at Norfolk State last week… The Tigers host struggling FAMU Saturday, then tackle B-CU, NCCU, SCSU, Howard and A&T to close the regular season.
REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. FAMU; 10-19 @ B-CU; 10-26 NCCU; 11-2 SCSU; 11-9 @ HOW; 11-16 @ NCA&T