HBCU—Black College football’s 2018 season is winding down and after the Bowie State, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship win, which advances them to the NCAA Division II playoffs, and a Miles College victory in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, the final showdown will be the Celebration Bowl at Mercedes Benz Stadium, on December 15th between the Mid-Eastern Athletic and Southwestern Athletic Conferences.
Amir Hall led the way in the 9-2 Bowie State blow out, 30-10 victory over Fayetteville State University. Despite an interception and two sacks, Hall had four touchdowns, three running and one in the air. The Bulldog defense held the Broncos to only 88 yards passing and one touchdown. Bowie Defensive back Thomas Riddick, intercepted a Collyn Anderson pass late in the first quarter with the Bulldogs up 0-14. Hall who had 186 yards passing and 138 yards rushing in his championship game broke the 4,000 all-purpose yards threshold with 4,066 yards to close the regular season.
The Bulldogs CIAA championship win elevated them to the Division II playoffs. Bowie will face-off against the 8-3 West Alabama Tigers, of the Gulf South Conference. The Tigers beat the SIAC champs, Miles College, 37-21 early in the season, and the very next week took a 24-58 loss to Valdosta State. Valdosta is the advanced team whom the winner of the November 17th, Tiger vs. Bulldogs game will play on November 24th. West Alabama’s quarterback Harry Satterwhite, is 2,374 yards passing on the season and running back Tyler Rogers has 723 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. For the Bulldogs, running back Brandon Abrams has 515 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the season. Defensively for Bowie, defensive lineman Joshua Pryor has 19 tackles for a loss this season and 52 in total.
Neither Tuskegee University, last years SIAC championship winners, nor their runner-ups the Fort Valley State Wildcats were in this years 2018 championship game. Miles College and Albany State, last years third and fourth ranked programs went the distance and the Miles College Golden Bears came up big in a 50-23 blow-out against the 7-4 Rams.
Golden Bears quarterback Daniel Smith, had 238 yards passing and connected with wide receiver DeionTray Fagin, for two passing touchdowns. Smith closed out his regular season with 2,217 yards passing and Fagin obtained his only two touchdowns for the season, in the final championship game. Running back Justin Hardy recorded three touchdowns on the day with 128 yards rushing. Albany State struggled to keep Smith and the running back core for Miles out of the endzone in redzone territory, as the the Golden Bears finished 8-8 on scoring in the redzone.
Going into the SIAC championship the 7-4 Rams were the predicted 2018 first place team by the SIAC, with seven first place votes. Going into the championship game, Albany was the hopeful winner in order for a SIAC team to obtain a NCAA playoff spot. Only the top seven teams in the Super Region advance to the postseason and Albany’s loss to Miles College, moved them out of the top seven and didn’t move Miles up far enough to procure a spot in the playoffs.
The MEAC conference champ and Celebration Bowl candidate will go to whatever team comes out on top November 17th, however, the SWAC fate will be decided after the two best go head-to-head on December 1st in the 2018 SWAC Toyota Football Championship. SWAC commissioner, Charles McClelland, brought back the championship game for the 2018 season in the summer. “On the eve of SWAC Football Media Day, the conference office announced that its football championship game will be brought back for 2018,” Alcorn State reported.
Alcorn State continues to lead the SWAC as the favorited team to make it to the championship in the Eastern division with a 6-1 record even after their 42-52 loss this weekend to New Mexico State in a out of conference game. Leading the West is the Southern University Jaguars at 5-1. Southern who beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 56-24 Saturday, is looking to make the most of their final conference and divisional matchup on November 17th, in a Black College football showdown against the third-ranked, Grambling Tigers who won Saturday as well against Alabama A&M.
In order for a Southern win on Saturday to elevate them to the Celebration Bowl, they will need another win on December 1st against the 1st ranked Alcorn State Braves. Despite the Braves conference record, even if they win on Saturday against Jackson State, due to the reprisal of the championship game that record will only work in their favor for field advantage. After a venue conflict, it was decided by the SWAC commissioner, that the”best course of action for the league was to move the 2018 SWAC Championship game on campus to the highest-ranking institution that qualifies for the championship game.”
The team that could shake up the system and ties up the conference is Grambling. If Grambling procures a win in its matchup against Southern, and Alcorn loses to Jackson State, Southern would be knocked out of the race and Grambling’s and Alcorn’s win to lose ratio would tie at .636%. That scenario would lead to a Tiger, Braves brawl at the SWAC championship game.
Florida A&M showed up as the team to beat in the MEAC this year, despite a lackluster 2017 season that resulted in only three wins. First-year head coach Willie Simmons has provided the Rattlers with an immediate spark that carried them up until a week nine loss to Howard University. The loss to Howard has the Rattlers on a two game loosing streak, succumbing to the South Carolina State Bulldogs 44-21. The two losses allowed for the North Carolina State Aggies to catch-up and secure the number one spot in the MEAC this week after a 28-12 win over Savannah State University. FAMU and the Aggies are both 5-1 in the conference, however, the Rattlers are now 6-4 overall and the Aggies are 8-2 overall.
The Aggies will require a Saturday win over the 2-3 North Carolina Central Eagles to make it to Bowl play for the second consecutive year. A&T won the Bowl last year and they were predicted to win the conference again this year, by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s July polling. “North Carolina A&T State was picked to defend its MEAC Football Championship as the Aggies topped the league’s annual preseason poll, ” predicted the MEAC. While A&T has the advantage, the Rattler’s will need a win over the third-ranked Bethune Cookman Wildcats and an Aggie loss in hopes of obtaining their first Celebration Bowl bid.
Tiffany Hoyd Urban Media Today Sports