Welcome the 2018 MEAC Football Season

Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. (That felt so good I will say it again).

Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. Our beloved Wildcats travel to Nashville to take on the Tigers of Tennessee State this Saturday, September 1st at 7:00pm in the John Merritt Classic. Bethune will look to capture its first MEAC crown since 2015 and finish the season in Atlanta in the Celebration Bowl.

But it’s not just the Wildcats who will fight to position themselves at the top of the MEAC standings come season end. Aggies, Eagles, Bison and Bulldogs will all attempt to claw their way to the catbird seat and represent the conference in Atlanta in December.

Our MEACFANSZone friend, durhamgsoaggie, put together a list of things to watch for this season in the MEAC that will likely have major impacts on 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!

1. A Tale of Two Willies In Tally.

2018 will mark the first time that the two D1 universities in Florida’s capital will both have black head football coaches (and under the age of 45). In fact, the ADs, men’s basketball coaches and head football coaches of both FAMU and FSU are all black males.

Slick Willie (Taggart) and Fast Willie (Simmons) are great young football minds who have the potential to change the game at their prospective levels. In addition to winning, the question is whether they can produce a synergy within the city of Tallahassee that hasn’t been there to lift both sides to dominance? And will FAMU’s recruitment of Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the nation’s highest rated players, have an effect on this if successful?

2. The evolution of Akevious Williams and the Circle City Debate

Most media outlets have Howard picked as the consensus #2 behind A&T because of the Caylin Newton/Mike London effect. But an argument can be made that the most talented roster in the MEAC from top-to-bottom is down in Daytona. With Larry Brihm now departed to the CFL, will Williams make the leap this year as the unquestioned leader at QB under the tutelage of Allen Suber? Or will he fall back into a timeshare with a player like Jabari Dunham? Given BCU’s home games against A&T & NCCU and a bevy of talented RBs to go with an aggressive defense… the answer to this question could have championship ramifications for the MEAC.

BCU also elected to give up its home game vs. Howard for the Circle City Classic. If BCU wins, this is a moot issue. However… if Howard wins on the neutral site, the questions will linger whether it was a wise move to give up home-field advantage for the $$$ and visibility for Circle City. This game is definitely one to watch.

3. NCCU – The QB Collectors

NCCU started 2017 with former Southern/JUCO transfer Micah Zanders at QB. Due to injury, freshman Chauncey Caldwell took over the reins for the Eagles with sophomore Naill Ramadan mixed in. In the offseason, NCCU signed Zanders’ brother Marvin, a grad transfer QB from Missouri. In addition, freshman Dominique Shoffner redshirted. Crowded QB rooms are nothing new in a D1 football program. But with a squad replacing 8 starters on defense, continuity and efficiency on offense will be key early in the season. Coach Granville Eastman is a defensive guy who will have his defense fully functional by mid-season. RBs are abundant with the return of Isaiah Totten and arrival of hometown star Jamal Elliott. But the QB room in Durham is a carousel to watch early in the season.

4. The Ticking Clock in Norfolk

3 seasons and no progress in Norfolk for Coach Latrell Scott. Solid recruiting classes, a solid returning starter at QB in Juwan Carter, a big win down in Durham vs. NCCU… but no real traction so far. Tragedy struck the Norfolk program in a major way last season. But this is a new season and the natives in the talent-rich Tidewater region are on the warpath. Can Scott’s staff produce the synergy needed to produce a winning season? Can an offensive line emerge to control the clock, keep an opportunistic defense fresh and keep the talented Carter upright to make plays? Or will Scott’s tenure end with a grave in the Tidewater wetlands? One thing is for sure… Virginia State and Reggie Barlow are coming on September 1st. Could Scott be playing against his potential replacement? Time will tell.

5. End of an era in Orangeburg and Savannah.

Rumors have been swirling that 2018 will be the last for SCSU Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough. 2018 is also the last season for Savannah St as they move back to the SIAC in Division II. SCSU produced another high draft pick with Darius Leonard going in the 2nd round to the Colts. With SCSU losing LB Dashawn Taylor as well… will the massive OL/DLs down in Orangeburg be able to carry the load and give Buddy one last winning season out the door? And can Coach Erik Raeburn continue to build a viable program given concurrent defections due to the pending move down for progress in 2018?

6. New faces, same problems in Delaware & Baltimore

Coaches Rod Milstead and Ernest Jones bring new energy & passion to their programs. But structural and regional issues still remain the same for both programs. Can the coaches recruit successfully enough in the same competitive recruiting regions? And are the staffs they assemble capable enough in the scheme/execution department to make a significant change in the quality of football we’ve seen from both schools? A competitive DSU/MSU combo makes this entire conference take a step up. We need it.

7. Golden Non-Conference Opportunities

Multiple schools have great opportunities for OOC wins, including Morgan St, NCCU, FAMU and BCU. Norfolk St has a major home game against FCS power James Madison. But the headliners are Howard & A&T.

Howard has FBS Ohio & Kent St while ending the season hosting FCS Bryant. A&T kicks off the season with FCS power Jacksonville St, then travels to FBS East Carolina, followed by hosting FCS Gardner Webb. The A&T/Jax St. game may be the biggest MEAC FCS game since the 1999 I-AA Playoffs in terms of competitive standing on the FCS stage. Howard’s win over UNLV and near-miss at Kent in 2017 put them on the map in the Mike London era. Continuing to win more of these games is critical to gaining a broader market audience for the MEAC. But tiebreakers may also come into play for A&T and Howard, since they will not play each other in 2018. So all of these matchups are key in 2018.

Read more: http://meacfanszone.proboards.com/thread/35030/top-2018-meac-football-storylines#ixzz5PUT555Hm  

Thanks durhamgsoaggie for your input.

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Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show

GREETINGS WILDCAT FANS!

Back by popular demand for another season is your Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show!

The “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show” hosted by the Hailwildcats.com Arm Chair QB’s airs Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.  immediately following the “Terry Sims” Show on www.blogtalkradio.com/hailwildcatsxsosshow!

The “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show!” is a live one and a half hour no holds-barred sports radio talk show with a large focus on Bethune Cookman Football Past and Present, upcoming BCU football matchups, news around the MEAC, local Volusia county High School football activities and keeping BCU fans updated with the latest information from the gridiron including recruiting. The Arm Chair QBs, engage and provide the latest information to keep you in the game. With over 50 years of combined coaching and football experience, the Arm Chair QB’s are the creators, radio hosts, and voices of the “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show”and  maintain a solid and expert approach to each show.

TUNE IN THURSDAYS FROM 8:00 PM -9:30 PM ON www.blogtalkradio.com/hailwildcatsxsosshow

 

UNABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE BCU FOOTBALL GAME?

Make sure to tune into our Hailwildcats.com “Instant Replay” Game Recap show, the leading fan interactive podcast where the “Eyes in the sky” do a Instant Replay (Recap) from each Saturdays BCU football action. On “Instant Replay” the “EYES IN THE SKY” will break down and grade every quarter, every side of the ball, and grade every position. Our show airs 3 hours after every game. Tune in and listen on www.blogtalkradio.com/hailwildcatsxsosshow following each game.

 

HAIL WILDCATS!

Who are We???

True story folks.

Before my cousin and I headed off to college, our uncles decided to loan us their extra wheels for the summer so we could handle all of our post high school shenanigans. So we alternated between driving one uncle’s white 1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray and another uncle’s almost doo-doo brown 1976 Plymouth Valiant.

Yes the Stingray was as awesome as it sounds. 427 cubic inches of aggressive, opulent, spectacular American Muscle.

Also yes, the Plymouth was a hooptie. We affectionately named the Plymouth “sadadat” based on the sound she made when we drove her.

“Sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”….. you could hear us coming from 3 blocks away.

It was actually my homeboy Johnny Torrence, currently the proprietor of Torrence Lifestyles, who came up with that name but I digress.

Both vehicles got us to and from beachside parties, girlfriends homes, work…you name it. But getting there in the Plymouth was nothing like arriving in the ‘vette. What the Stingray was in feisty excitement, sadadat was in humdrum pragmatism.

I have spent all summer trying to figure out if the 2018 rendition of @BCUGridiron will be more like the ‘vette or the Plymouth I use to drive. Excitement or humdrum? The truth is I have no idea.

Every time I try to make myself believe the Cats are poised to make a run, I start to hear “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat” playing in my head.

I wish I could go on a Denny Green tirad and shout “the Wildcats are who we thought they were” but I have no idea who the Wildcats are.

I have even robbed myself of my late summer hobby of spending hours envisioning all of the reasons why our beloved Bethune-Cookman Wildcats will finish the season atop the MEAC and HBCU football standings.

But nope! That has not yet happen this season.

No wishing the Aggies, Rattlers, Bulldogs and Eagles fans bad luck this season for having the audacity of thinking they will somehow win against the Mighty Fighting Wildcats. My posts on MEACFanZone haven’t been filled with passive aggressive jabs about “the little church school”striving hard to prove everyone wrong.

It hasn’t happen. None of it. Instead I am just sort of preparing to ride out the 2018 football season in the passenger seat of the Plymouth…but I have my racing gloves and shades in hand just in case in I need to jump in the ‘vette too.

Terry Sims took over as the head honcho in Daytona Beach in 2015. The Wildcats finished 9-2 that season, 4-6 the next and 7-4 last season under Sims’ direction. For those keeping score at home, Sims’ teams have swapped between good, bad and average like my cousin and I swapped vehicles. BCU’s 20-12 (.600) record in the Sims era averages out to about 7 wins and 4 defeats a season.

Bethune won 7 of its 9 matchups against FCS teams last year. That is good. 8 of those 9 games were 1 possession games entering the final 2 minutes of the contests including against bad 3 win teams like South Carolina State, Savannah State and FAMU. That is not good.

Sure you will take a win any way you can get it but what if the Wildcats don’t convert a Hail Mary against NCCU as time expires this season? What if the Cats don’t block a SCSU field goal as time whines down? What if the FAMU punter doesn’t foolishly attempt a fake punt with his team leading and possessing all of the momentum in the second half? (That last question was fully intended to frustrate Rattler fans btw.)

If BCU plays the same way they have the past two seasons, there is equal chance of the ball bouncing for or against them.

The prayer of the Wildcat faithful is that Coach Sims and company will calibrate things just right, have this team firing on all cylinders and find themselves putting games away early and not allowing contests to hang in the balance.

Of course other teams will have something to say about that but the Road to Atlanta and the Celebration Bowl is more easily navigated this year than in years past.

The two North Carolina schools are the only schools to have represented the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl. However, both schools find themselves in a state of major transition with head coach Rod Broadway retiring at NCA&T and NC Central losing their head coach Jerry Mack to FBS Rice.

BCU’s roster is talented enough to rise to the top of the leaderboard in conference but if they are to do so, they will have to improve on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats finished last season ranked in the middle of the pack on both offense (6th) and defense (5th).

Sims described his defense as bend but don’t break last year. With running starters like Elliot Miller (DB), Trenton Bridges (LB), Devin James (LB) and Todney Evans (DL), the Wildcats should have plenty enough on defensive side of the ball to exert their will and return to the dominant, hard hitting, fast paced unit they are traditionally known as being.

The D will have to lead the way early in the season while Arkevious Williams acclimates to being the new starting QB. Offensive coordinator Allen Suber will also have to look for ways to prepare a bevy of new receivers to make up for the losses of Jawill Davis and Frank Brown.

“Vroom, vroom” or “sa-da-dat?

I am still unsure which one we will see in 2018. What I do know is we are just two weeks away from finding out when the Cats travel to Nashville on September 1st at 7:00pm to take on Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic.

HailWildcats.com will be there to bring you a fan’s perspective of all the action. You are cordially invited to travel with us to Nashville and all road games as we support our boys in their quest to make it to the Celebration Bowl. Click here for fan bus details: https://hailwildcats.com/ontheprowl/.