Bradford Gillens – Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia has somewhat of an idea of the competitiveness in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, having played conference member North Carolina A&T in his first game as head coach of the Chants. CCU won the game 29-13, but the former TD Amertrade CEO knows there is a big difference between the Aggies team he faced in September and the Bethune-Cookman team he will face Saturday in Daytona Beach in the opening round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
“From an offensive perspective, they’ve done a great job of moving the football, Moglia said. They create issues for the defense that is playing them because of the multiple sets they face.”
While Moglia was quick to offer praise of the Wildcats, his Chanticleers enter the game riding a five game winning streak where they’ve averaged 46.2 points per game in those contests. Leading the offensive explosion has been senior dual threat quarterback Aramis Hillary. The All Big South first teamer leads the conference in total yards this season with 2,617 (2,133 passing, 484 rushing) and 20 total touchdowns and is the catalyst for the Coastal Carolina offense.
“He’s a great leader and everybody on our team respects him, Moglia said. One of his biggest strengths is that he makes good decisions. We give him progressions on all of his reads, whether it be through the option run or through the pass that are reasonably simple, but you still have to be able to make them and execute them and he’s been great at that. He’s been effective when he’s had to run and throw the ball and that’s primarily due to the fact that he’s been able to make good decisions.”
At the conclusion of this past Saturday’s Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt around his waist. Yeah you heard me, coach Jenkins was rocking a Championship belt around his waist that Dusty Rhodes would have been proud to don.
“I have been telling (our football team) about the belt. You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end. Right now this phase of our season is done. We have won this belt and hopefully we can put things together and be able to put on another (belt)” coach Jenkins stated.
Look Good Play Good
The Bethune-Cookman football team wore all white uniforms (helmets included) for the first time in school history on Saturday. The new white headgear is the fourth helmet the Wildcats have competed in during the Brian Jenkins era. When asked about the abundance of helmets and uniform combinations, coach Jenkins stated: “the young men deserve it. We are so hard on our young men throughout the year about doing things right. I believe in rewarding them for the effort that they put in for this university. So it’s things like that I do to show them appreciation for their effort, dedication, commitment and passion to each other, for each other, and also for this university”.
He went on to state: “the guys did not know when the white helmets were coming. When they came into the locker room before the game, they saw the maroon helmets. They put them on (and went out for pregame). When they came back in (the locker room) they saw the white helmets. The helmets gave our guys a charge and some excitement to our fans”. “I don’t know you might see a different helmet next week” (in the playoff matchup).
BCU is 4-0 in helmet reveal games during the Brian Jenkins era.
Eddie Robinson Award Finalist
Coach Brian Jenkins, who has led his Bethune-Cookman Wildcats to their second FCS playoff appearance in three years, has been named a 2012 Eddie Robinson Award Finalist. The award is presented annually to the national coach of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) by The Sports Network.
“Obviously, this is an extreme honor to be named a finalist for an award of this magnitude,” expressed Brian Jenkins on Monday afternoon. “This award not only shows the hard work of a head coach, his staff and players throughout the year, but also the hard work and dedication of a man for whom the award is named. “Not only was Eddie Robinson an inspiration to me, but he paved the way for African-American coaches like myself and many more to reach new heights in the college football coaching ranks. Again, it’s such an honor to be named a finalist for this award.”
Coach Jenkins led BCU to their first ever 10-0 start when he arrived on campus in 2010. Saturday’s win earned the Wildcats their first ever 8-0 season in league play.
The Wildcats, who earned the league’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, will host Big South champion Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchsed from the Bethune-Cookman Box Office or from Ticketmaster.com.
The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats are MEAC Champions for the second time in three years. But unlike 2010 when the Wildcats joined South Carolina State and Florida A&M as league co-champions, the 2012 crown will not be shared. This year’s Championship is the Cats’ first outright title since 2002.
BCU now owns 5 MEAC crowns and 11 conference championships all-time. (The Wildcats won 6 SIAC titles before joining the MEAC in 1979.)
Possible 1st round matchups
Here is what we know: the Wildcats are headed to the 2012 FCS playoffs; and Bethune-Cookman has submitted a bid to host a first round game. Who BCU faces and whether or not the Cats will be awarded a home game are still anyone’s guess. The mystery will be revealed next Sunday morning when the field of 20 is announced. We should probably refrain from speculating on who the Wildcats will face and just allow things the sort themselves out but that would be no fun.
So let’s take a look at the most probable first round matchups based on what we know today.
Keep in mind that 12 playoff bound teams receive a first round bye; the FCS playoff committee ranks the top 5 seeds; and teams are matched based on things such as geographic proximity. With that in mind, the Cats are not expected to receive a first round bye and will very likely face one of the following teams in the opening round.
Wofford (Spartanburg, SC) is looking like a very probable matchup for BCU. The Terriers, along with Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, are co-champions of the Southern Conference. All three teams appear to be locks to make the field of 20. In fact, Appalachian State (Boone, NC) could also be a potential first round foe. The Wildcats will certainly have to hit the road if matched against App State as the Mountaineers almost always host their first game of the playoffs.
Coastal Carolina (Conway, SC) will likely end the season tied for first place in the Big South with Liberty and Stony Brook. The Chanticleers will receive the conference’s automatic bid if the three teams finish the season tied for first. Interestingly, Coastal and Bethune played one common opponent this year (North Carolina A&T) and the margin of victory was the same for both (+16 points).
Stony Brook entered the weekend ranked 6th in the Sports Network FCS poll but suffered a defeat to conference foe Liberty. If (and that’s a big if) Stony Brook receives an at-large berth, they could very well be matched against BCU in the first round.
This week’s Tennessee State/UT-Martin (Ohio Valley) matchup is an unofficial playoff game for both teams. The loser is definitely out of the mix. The winner, however, could secure one of the final at-large slots and may be pitted against the Wildcats on Thanksgiving weekend.
Colonial Athletic teams James Madison, Towson, Villanova, and Richmond are all sitting on the proverbial playoff bubble and either of whom could be matched against Brian Jenkins’ squad in the opening round.
Thank goodness we will not have to speculate much longer. Post season play begins in less than two weeks but first things first.
The Wildcats tangle with arch-rival FAMU in Saturday’s Florida Blue Florida Classic in Orlando. BCU will look to complete their first ever undefeated MEAC season in the regular season finale. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.