Back in the day when my crew and I were rocking Jeri Curls, Guess Jeans and Adidas with the fat boy shoelaces, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen penned the famous line: “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” Today as I sit here with my baldhead, no name jeans and Dr. Scholl inserts, I am unashamedly thanking Florida A&M University for the fire that is currently blazing across the MEAC and HBCU landscape.
Yeah, you heard me correctly. On this 21st day of October, I am thanking Florida A&M University for setting the MEAC landscape on fire.
The spark that started the flames came on Sunday afternoon when the Rattlers defeated reigning Black College National Champions North Carolina A&T 34-31 in overtime.
Prior to Sunday’s rescheduled contest, there was a sense of apathy…inevitability…been-there-done-that permeating MEAC circles. There were no real surprises up to that point. All of the teams we thought would be good heading into the season were handling their business; none more so than the #9th ranked Aggies who seemed on course to win their 3rd straight MEAC crown.
But all of that changed when FAMU pulled off the first real shocker of the season. As a result, lethargy has been replaced with vigor around the conference. Trash talk is ramping up. Half of the league is playing the “what-if” game and reviewing all of the scenarios that would land their squad in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.
Buddy Pough and the resurgent South Carolina State Bulldogs now control their own destiny to get to the Celebration Bowl. NCA&T is still in control of their own fate to get to Atlanta. Florida A&M, who isn’t eligible for postseason play this year due to self-imposed sanctions, still control their own destiny as it relates to being named Black College Football National Champions. Rattler fans, who have watched their team defeat Southern, South Carolina State and now North Carolina A&T, are starting to feel real good about themselves. Many of them are already peeking ahead at the Florida Classic.
Speaking of the Florida Classic, let’s not forget about our favorite hBCU. Bethune-Cookman is 6-1 and sitting atop the MEAC standings but if you were not playing close attention you could have easily missed that fact. This is partly because the Wildcats have yet to have a signature win and partly because BCU’s schedule is heavily back loaded with games against SCSU, NCA&T and FAMU all upcoming.
The Bulldogs visit Daytona Beach this Saturday to face the Wildcats in a huge homecoming matchup. A SCSU win would throw the conference race into utter chaos. A win by BCU keeps them looking down at everyone else in the standings and on pace for the MEAC title and one of the most significant Florida Classic matchups in years.
Yeah, I know there is a ton of football left to be played between now and then but a guy can dream can’t he?
Everything is on the table. All of the team goals are still in front of the Wildcats. Let’s hope Terry Sims, his coaching staff and his team can pull it all together and keep the fire burning in the hearts of BCU fans. South Carolina State you’re on the clock. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm this Saturday. Who will ascend to the top of the mountain!