By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
Today will be an interesting final regular season football weekend in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Or it will be a simple defining one.
If North Carolina A&T defeats rival North Carolina Central today, they will claim an outright MEAC championship. But if they don't, a number of scenarios come into play.
According to the MEAC, a loss by North Carolina A&T would trigger one or multiple
ties that could affect Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T,
North Carolina Central, Morgan State and South Carolina State based on
each team’s regular season finish.
North Carolina Central could win the MEAC with a win over A&T today and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoff.
But there could also be three three-way ties for first if:
- The three-way tie including Morgan State, North Carolina A&T
State, and North Carolina Central all finishing at number one would give
North Carolina A&T State the Conference’s
automatic bid. North Carolina A&T State would earn the bid based on
its eight (8) point advantage in non-conference play. Because all
teams remained tied after the first criteria, head-to-head, then the
automatic bid was awarded based on non-conference wins.
- If North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central and South
Carolina State finish at number one, a three-way tie would occur and North Carolina Central would earn the Conference’s automatic bid. In this scenario N.C. Central would hold head-to-head wins over both North Carolina A&T State and South Carolina State.
- If Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T State, and North Carolina Central finish at number one, three-way tie, then Bethune-Cookman will receive the conference’s automatic bid based on its record versus all-tied teams.
But there could also be three FOUR-WAY ties if:
- If North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central, Morgan State and South Carolina State all finish in first place, then Morgan State will receive the conference’s automatic bid based on its record versus all-tied teams.
- If Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State finish first, then North Carolina Central will
receive the Conference’s automatic bid. Again, this determination
would be based on N.C. Central’s record versus all-tied teams.
- If Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central, and Morgan State finish at number one, then Bethune-Cookman will receive the Conference’s automatic bid. The determination of the bid is based on the B-CU’s record versus all-tied teams.
And get this -- there still could be a FIVE-WAY tie for first if:
- Bethune-Cookman, North
Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central, Morgan State and South
Carolina State all finish at 6-2 in conference play. Each team will
share the conference title and Morgan State will
receive the conference’s automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division I FCS
Championship based on its record versus all-tied teams.
Very interesting indeed....
North Carolina A&T at North Carolina Central (Everything is on the line here as the two long time rivals battle for the MEAC title. A&T has won five games in a row while Central has won their last two. A&T has played dominant football as they haven't given up a point in nearly a month and their offense has scored at least 31 in every game during their win streak. Central isnt as prolific on offense, but they play hard-nosed defense. The most they've given up in the last four weeks is 34 points in a loss to Bethune Cookman)
Delaware State at Morgan State (Morgan State has a lot on the line while Delaware State is just looking for a win. The Hornets have lost four in a for and five of the last six during a 2-9 season. They have the MEAC's lowest-ranked offense, averaging just 233 yards a game. MSU's Herb Walker Jr. has rushed for 1,160 yards this season to lead the MEAC.
Hampton at Howard (The conference's leader in passing and total offense, Greg McGhee, who became the all-time MEAC leader in career total offense last week, looks to add to his stats today in the Battle to See Who Is the Real HU. Three of the MEAC's top six rushers will be on the field in Hampton's Jorrian Washington and Howard's William Parker and McGhee. Howard has the MEAC top offense while Hampton is ranked third. Defense is another story. Hampton is ranked ninth while Howard is ranked tenth)
Savannah State at Brigham Young (This one might not be very pretty.Savannah State is winless, has the MEAC's worst defense and third worst offense and they visit one of the nation's major FBS independents. Brigham Young has won six games this year in a down season for the Cougars)
Norfolk State at South Carolina State (Norfolk State could have very well been one of the teams in the MEAC's mess of first place. But really close losses the last two weeks to Bethune Cookman and North Carolina Central took them out of the race. South Carolina State is still smarting over their loss to Morgan State last week which took them out of a chance of a MEAC title. They are hoping for an outside chance at an NCAA FCS at-large berth.)
Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M (With two scenarios giving them the MEAC's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, Bethune Cookman is focused on a win. Florida A&M, after a rocky and bad season, is making this their championship and/or bowl game. They will have to play better defense than they have lately. Aside from a 12-10 loss to Norfolk State two weeks ago and dominating hapless Delaware State 41-7 last week, the Rattlers have lacked defensive sting)
Stillman at Alabama State (Will this be ASU coach Reggie Barlow's last game? Two weeks ago, ASU's AD asked Barlow to step down, though Barlow refused and said he'd play out the season. His team has gone 6-5 this season while he is 48-42 in eight years at ASU. After impressively winning four of their first five, they hit a four game losing streak, but have won their last two, including over Grambling last week. Stillman, which averages 28 points a game behind quarterback Josh Straughan and running back Javonte Thurmon, is looking to finish 6-5. A midseason four game winning streak was a distant memory after they lost the next three. They defeated CAU last week. This is the 91st Turkey Bowl game.
Jackson State at Alcorn State (Harold Jackson has only been at J-State for a year, but there are already calls for his job after a dismal 4-7 season where they finally broke an ugly five-game losing streak last week. They have a tall mountain to climb today as they face a 9-2 Alcorn State team that is undefeated at home this year and is looking for their first-ever 10-win season. They boast the nation's top scoring offense at 45.7 points a game and leads the SWAC in 17 offensive and defensive categories)
Alabama A&M at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (It's been a tough season at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a 3-7 team that has actually played decently well over the past month. They are 2-2 over the past four games, losing to two teams, Alcorn State and Prairie View, in games where they were overmatched. A&M is also 2-2 over their last four games, losing a close one to Prairie View A&M last week. Defense is the problem for A&M. They give up a lot of points in losses)