Saturday, November 16, 2013

Miles and Albany State to Decide SIAC Title; Big MEAC Game for Hampton, Bethune-Cookman; Rest of Today's HBCU Football Action

From The Albany Hearld

Championship football Saturday in the HBCU ranks has hit a big bump in the road with the cancellation of today's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game between 10-0 Winston-Salem State and 9-1 Virginia State after VSU players jumped on Winston-Salem State's quarterback in a pre-championship luncheon Friday.

But there is big HBCU football today.

In the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, surprising Miles College, which knocked off the nation's second-ranked Division II HBCU football team, Tuskegee, last week, faces surging Albany State in the SIAC Championship Game in Atlanta.

Albany State's road to the title game seemed like a dead end during October.  The Golden Rams lost four of their first five games, one of them to Miles.  But they finished the season with four straight wins, including last week's victory over Fort Valley State to put them in the title game.

Miles started out the season with losses West Georgia and one of the top teams in Division II, West Alabama.  But besides a surprising hiccup to Central State, the Golden Bears haven't lost since September.  And they upset Tuskegee last week.

Both teams derailed a possible rematch from last year's Tuskegee romp over Fort Valley State.  Now they will have a rematch from the 2011 championship game. 

"It's been Albany State and it's been Miles College two out of the three years," said Miles head coach Reginald Ruffin to "So, that says a lot about both programs. You guys can expect an exciting game. You won't be disappointed in either team. I can promise you that."

For the final couple of weeks of the regular season, every game is a big game for South Carolina State, Bethune-Cookman, Delaware State and Hampton in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. With Bethune-Cookman losing last week and South Carolina State winning Thursday, the Bulldogs top the MEAC this week.  But Hampton, a game behind both teams, could make a mess of things with a win over Bethune-Cookman today while Delaware State hopes for a little help as they are also a game behind. 

"I don't have to remind the guys what's at stake," Hampton head coach Donovan Rose told The Daily Press. "They're 5-1 and we're 4-2, so we get an opportunity to tie them in the conference. There's some other things going on with other schools, but what a great situation to come back and play the defending champions and to be in a situation where you put yourself in the equation."

In the SWAC, the title game is still three weeks away but the match-up is already set. Jackson State, undefeated in the conference at 8-0 and 7-2 overall (forfeit from Grambling doesn't count in overall win total), will take on Southern (6-2, 6-4 overall).  

Jackson State will have a tough game on their hands this week as they take on the team trailing them in the Eastern Division, a very good Alcorn State team.  Southern will host Division II Clark Atlanta in a much easier contest.

Here is the complete schedule of HBCU football action today:

- Alabama State is at Mississippi Valley State
- Prairie View hosts Abilene Christian
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits Alabama A&M
- Howard is at Texas Southern

- Savannah State visits North Carolina A&T
- North Carolina Central hosts Norfolk State
- Delaware State is at Florida A&M

- Tennessee State hosts Murray State
- Langston hosts Wayland Baptist
- Glenville is at West Virginia State
- Lincoln (Mo.) hosts Southwest Baptist
- Central State is at West Alabama

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