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Your BASN Guide To HBCU Football: Week 10
Updated: November 4, 2016
By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN (BASN) — Over the next few weeks, the sweat and promise of summer practices in the heat give way to the cold realities and championship aspirations of the winter.
Say hello to the first weekend of November. When a title can be separated by a missed block or a bad snap. From a freshman still trying to make sense of it all to a fifth-year senior who just wants one more play.
Magic Johnson would always call this “winning time”. Some players seize the moment, while others will allow the moment to seize them. Nevertheless, the championship chases are slowly simmering to a boil.
Here’s where we stand heading into this weekend.
With their win over Shaw last weekend, the defending champions from Winston-Salem State (7-2, 6-0) not only clinched its sixth straight Southern Division crown, the Rams are also headed back to the CIAA Championship Game.
Who will they meet? That’s still up in the air. Bowie State (6-3) leads the Northern Division at 5-1 with Virginia State (7-2), Elizabeth City State (5-4), and Virginia Union (5-4) all one game behind at 4-2.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs will host the Vikings while the Trojans will visit the Panthers. Both games are scheduled for 1 p.m. ET starts. Now, here are all the scenarios.
A BSU win would give the division crown and title game berth to the Bulldogs. An Elizabeth City win, coupled with a win by VUU over Virginia State would give the Vikings the division title and title-game berth.
The Trojans will earn the title and championship game berth with an Elizabeth City win over Bowie State and a VSU win over the Panthers. Don’t memorize all that, you’ll just get a headache.
By the way, the Rams will finish their regular season Saturday when they travel to Fayetteville State (4-5, 4-2) to meet the Broncos. The game, scheduled for 2 p.m ET, will be televised live by the ASPiRE Network.
With Western Division champion Kentucky State waiting in the wings, the winner of Saturday’s Fountain City Classic between Albany State (5-3, 3-0) and Fort Valley State (3-6, 2-1) at Columbus, Ga, will win the East and meet the Thoroughbreds in next week’s SIAC Championship Game.
The Golden Rams have won 13 of their last 16 meetings against the Wildcats, however, Fort Valley State has a slight advantage in the overall series. They lead 33-32-3.
ASU leads the overall Fountain City Classic series at 20-6.
While Tuskegee won’t be able to win the league title, the Golden Tigers (7-1) are still poised for a possible Division II playoff berth. TU climbed two spots to 18th in the latest D2football.com poll.
They also slipped one spot to fourth in the latest Super Region 2 rankings. The top seven teams from each region qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs, with the top seed receiving a bye in the opening round.
The remaining six teams will all play contests on the opening day of the playoffs, with the second, third and fourth seeded teams hosting games. The final pairings will be released on November 13.
The Golden Tigers will travel to Legion Field in Birmingham to meet Miles College for their regular season finale Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. The game will be televised live by the ASPiRE Network.
With three games remaining, North Carolina A&T (7-1) and North Carolina Central (6-2) are tied at the top at 5-0 in the league. Their season-ending battle against each other on November 19th in Durham could prove to be the de facto league championship game.
But both teams have to keep winning. Saturday at 1 pm ET, the Aggies will host South Carolina State (3-4, 3-1) in Greensboro while the Eagles will travel to Delaware State (0-8, 0-5) to meet the Hornets at 2 pm ET.
DSU hasn’t defeated NCCU since a 29-7 win in 2010. The Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings including three straight. They lead the overall series 16-6.
Coming off their first MEAC loss of the season, Buddy Pough’s Bulldogs will look to maintain its recent success against A&T. In 2013, they defeated the Aggies 29-24 in Atlanta at the Atlanta Classic.
In 2014, they shut out the Aggies 13-0 again in Atlanta. Last year in Orangeburg, they held the Aggies to 145 total yards (102 rushing, 43 passing) though A&T came away with a 9-6 win.
Alcorn State (3-4) and Jackson State (3-5) are tied for the lead in the Eastern Division with 3-3 conference records. On Saturday, the Tigers will travel to Montgomery to meet the Hornets of Alabama State (2-6, 2-5) at 2 p.m. CT.
The Braves will be on the road as well. They’ll travel to Texas to meet Prairie View A&M (5-3, 5-1). Since departing as Alcorn State’s offensive coordinator in 2014 and taking over as head coach at Prairie View A&M in 2015, Willie Simmons is 1-0 going head to head with the Braves.
The two teams will square off live on ESPN3/Watch ESPN at 1 p.m. CT.
As for the Western Division, Grambling State is still perfect at 5-0 with Southern and Prarie View right behind at 5-1. The Jaguars (5-2) will host Texas Southern (3-5) while GSU travels to Alabama A&M (3-5).
Winners of 14 straight SWAC games, the Tigers have been paced by quarterback Devante Kincaid. In the last three games, he’s completed 73 of his last 95 attempts for 1,183 yards. He’s passed for a total of 1,810 yards through six games and has tossed 19 touchdowns with only one interception.
As mentioned earlier, Winston-Salem State has won the CIAA’s Southern Division the last six seasons. Who was the last team other than WSSU to win the Southern Division?
THE BIRTH OF BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL
On December 27, 1892, Biddle Institute (Johnson C. Smith University) traveled to Livingstone College’s Old Delta Grove campus in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Though there was snow on the ground and it was only two days after Christmas, the teams forged their way to a historic moment in sports while writers recorded the results.
According to historian T. M. Martin, the men of Biddle spent two years studying the sport of football. In 1892, they challenged the men of Livingstone, whose team was formally organized in the fall of that year.
It is doubtful that when Biddle University and Livingstone College teed it up on that December afternoon, in what was described as little more than a cow pasture, either team had the slightest inkling of the legacy they were about to give birth.
It was the first black college football game. The teams played two 45-minute halves on Livingstone’s front lawn. W. J. Trent scored Livingstone’s only touchdown on a fumble recovery.
By then, snow covered the field’s markings and Biddle argued that the fumble was recovered out of bounds. The official ruled in Biddle’s favor, allowing them to keep the 5-0 lead that they established early on, giving JCSU the historic first victory.
Some 124 years later, the Blue Bears and Golden Bulls are still playing each other on the gridiron. While both clubs have struggled with 2-7 records this season, the rivalry maintains a large part of HBCU sports history.
In 2009, the contest was dubbed the Commemorative Classic in honor of its historic significance. J.C. Smith leads the overall series 41-22-2. Last year, Livingstone’s 35-12 win at Saulsbury snapped a six-game losing skid against the Golden Bulls.
Saturday’s game, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, will be played in Charlotte.
In 2010, the Shaw University Bears went 9-3 (7-0 in the league) and won the CIAA’s Southern Division. They also defeated Virginia State 14-7 in the league’s championship game.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.