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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

HBCU Football Poll Watch: 9/15

(Bethune-Cookman photo)

The three ranked HBCU programs had three different types of games last week. Tennessee State got an easy win, Bethune-Cookman pulled out a gritty victory, and Winston-Salem Sate suffered a close loss. All three remain ranked as we look ahead to next week.

Bethune-Cookman moved up one spot to no. 12 in the coaches poll after a 37-23 win over Grambling State. The Tigers weren't expected to present much of a problem for the Wildcats, but they gave them plenty of pushback. BCU will look to stay perfect when they play UCF on Saturday.

Tennessee State bounced back from a tough loss against Alabama State with a resounding 35-7 win over Jackson State. TSU was rewarded for its win by jumping from 22nd to 20th in the FCS coaches poll.

Winston-Salem State dropped from 12th to 18th in the AFCA Polls after suffering a 22-17 loss to Valdosta State in Powder Springs, Georgia. WSSU will try to rebound at home against SIAC favorite Tuskegee on Saturday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Southern's Baffling Eligibility Issue

Apparently there is a monster in the Baton Rouge area that feeds on paperwork. Months after Southern's athletic program was indefinitely suspended by the NCAA for missing/late paperwork, the school finds itself with another eligibility mess on its hand.

Three defensive backs were told they couldn't play just minutes before Saturday's game against Northwestern State. They were held out of the game because of uncertainty regarding their eligibility according to The Baton Rouge Advocate. And this wasn't the first time it has happened this season.

"Two weeks ago, five Southern starters had to get off the team bus before it left for the season opener at UL-Lafayette because they had not been academically certified.
Defensive backs Kevin King, D’Andre Woodland and Dionte McDuffy were able to stay on the bus, start the 45-6 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns and start again in a 56-14 win against Central Methodist a week later. 
But on Saturday night, the three defensive backs were pulled from the lineup just minutes before kickoff as their certification was deemed inadequate by university officials.
Athletic Director William Broussard seemed as bewildered as anyone by the unexpected change and vowed to find some answers."

In a separate column, the Advocate's Les East sympathized with Southern coach Dawson Odums as he tries to deal with the uncertainty regarding his players. 

Like all football coaches, Odums has learned to suppress a variety of emotions — disappointment, anger, frustration, disgust — in order to offer explanations for football shortcomings, those of his players, his staff and himself. 
But it must have been much harder to field the questions Saturday night, trying to explain what could not be explained — the administrative equivalent of not being able to send precisely 11 players on the field at a time or line up appropriately or snap the football effectively in a reasonable period of time. 
“This is the third week of the season, and I don’t know of any of my friends in the coaching profession that are going through this,” said Odums, who had seen more than a half-dozen players declared ineligible before Saturday. “So they can’t give me advice.”

After the issues that missing paperwork caused Southern earlier this year, you'd think things would be different. It's amazing how something so small can put one of the most prestigious programs in HBCU sports on its heels.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Report Says FAMU Should Consider Jumping To SWAC

The budget woes of the Florida A&M athletic department has been widely publicized for a while now, but a new report contains some interesting information. A report by Collegiate Consulting recommends that FAMU consider leaving the MEAC and joining the SWAC.

The report touched on several issues, but much of its recommendation for considering the SWAC is due to to a possible reduction in travel costs according to the Tallahassee Democrat. 

"On average, the report said, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools are 700 miles from Tallahassee compared to the average of 518 miles for schools in the SWAC. 
Further illustrating its point, the consulting group noted the difference in budgets between the 10-team SWAC programs and the 11 schools in the MEAC. 
SWAC programs average an athletic budget of $6.96 million, compared to the average of $8.6 in the MEAC.
FAMU's athletic budget at the time the report was being prepared was $11 million."

The SWAC recommendation is just one of several that were made. The others include:

• Commence conversation with Division I conference such as the Southwestern Athletic Conference and other peer institutions.

• • Restructure the athletic organization to be more efficient and effective.

• Change marketing title to Associate Athletic Director for External Relations.

• Sports information deport reports to marking department.

• House grounds and transportation staff report to the senior-most maintenance position

• Volleyball operation report to Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing.

• Appoint head athletic advisor.

• Hire volleyball graduate assistant, transitioning to full-time assistant coach within three years

• Hire softball graduate assistant.

• Hire sports information graduate assistant, transitioning to full-time assistant sports information director in three years.

• Hire compliance coordinator.

• Hire athletic advisor graduate assistant.

Roughly a decade ago, FAMU attempted to join the FBS (then known as Division I-A). Now, this report says being in the MEAC is too expensive for the program.

Sound off: Should FAMU explore a move to the SWAC?

Photo Gallery: JCSU Holds Off Kentucky State

It wasn't the prettiest win, but after being blanked in its opener, Johnson C. Smith can definitely appreciate its 13-6 win over Kentucky State. Check out this slideshow of the game, band and cheerleaders.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

HBCU Football Scores 9/13/2014

Final Scores

Tuskegee 20, Albany State 12
Johnson C. Smith 13, Kentucky State 6
Howard 35, Morehouse 17
Clark-Atlanta 20, Lane 17
Valdosta State 22, Winston-Salem State 17
Bethune-Cookman 37, Grambling State 23
Tennessee State 35, Jackson State 7
Northwestern State 51, Southern 27
NC A&T 17, Elon 12
Fort Valley State 42, Savannah State 28
Alabama State 47, Mississippi Valley 22
Coastal Carolina 30, South Carolina State 3
Elizabeth City State 18, Tusculum 10
Livingstone 48, Paine 45
NC Wesleyan 27, Lincoln (PA) 0
Texas Southern 30, Central State 16
Truman State 17, Langston 12
Towson 21, Delaware State 7
UNC-Pembroke 16, Fayetteville State 14

Friday, September 12, 2014

MEAC Preview and Picks: Mixed Level of Competition For Week Three

Bowie State at Morgan State 

Morgan State may be 0-2, but its doubtful that their are as many teams with that record that can feel as good about themselves at the FCS level. Between a near-misses at FBS Eastern Michigan and fellow FCS member Holy Cross, the Lee Hull era has gotten off to a promising start.

Morgan will open up its home schedule against neighboring Bowie State. Due to playing in separate divsions, these two schools haven't met since 2010. Morgan escaped with a 14-7 win that night.

This one could be close as well, as BSU quarterback Matt Goggans (former NCCU QB) has a solid arm and decent receivers to throw to as well as talented running back Keith Brown.

Gameday Pick: Morgan State

Towson at Delaware State
UNC-Charlotte at North Carolina Central
South Carolina State at Coastal Carolina
Elon at North Carolina A&T
Hampton at Richmond 
Fort Valley State at Savannah State
Norfolk State at William and Mary
Grambling at Bethune-Cookman 

SWAC Preview and Predictions: Southern Heritage Classic Highlights Week Three

Tom Smith and Tennessee State are looking to rebound from a Week Two loss to Alabama State. (TSU photo)

Jackson State vs. Tennessee State (Southern Heritage Classic)

It's only week three, but it's not a stretch to say that this is a must-win for Tennessee State. TSU came into the season looking  to return to the playoffs and win the Ohio Valley Conference. Two games in to the season, all they have to show is a blowout over an NAIA team and a loss to SWAC foe Alabama State.

Jackson State's season has gotten off to a pretty good start under new coach Harold Jackson. JSU beat FAMU on a miraculous Hail Mary and then followed it up with a dominating performance against VUL. With that said, a win over Tennessee State would be by far the program's biggest feather in its cap this season.

While this game won't factor in to the OVC title, it could greatly affect whether or not TSU gets an out-of-conference bid should it not win its conference. TSU knows that, and expect them to come out focused and ready to prove that last week was a fluke.

Gameday pick: Tennessee State

Grambling State at Bethune-Cookman
UAB at Alabama A&M
Louisiana College at Alcorn State
Mississippi Valley State at Alabama State
Northwestern State at Southern 
McNeese State at Prairie View 

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About Me

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.