HBCU football has two in-state rivalries that could determine the postseason positioning for top-ranked squads in HBCU football.
At this point in the HBCU football season, it's about "saving face." In Week 12, you can say you have the better team, but records won't matter. It's about respect and ending your season on a high note.
It's "Bring It" Saturday! This afternoon, play spoiler is on the minds of Alcorn State and Bethune-Cookman. The coaches and young men have "Bad Intentions" for Jackson State and Florida A&M, who are locked in the Braves' and Wildcats' crosshairs.
“They (the players) know how intense the game and fans are going to be," said Coach McNair (Alcorn).
Intensity is the key. You would have to wonder if the Tigers and Rattlers would show up with the passion and fight that Alcorn and Bethune-Cookman will have Saturday afternoon.
THE CAPITAL CITY CLASSIC
First, McNair's team hopes to pop Jackson State's bubble and stain the Tigers' unblemished 7-0 SWAC record.
Jackson State (9-1, 7-0 SWAC) could quietly be seeking an FCS berth like the Rattlers. The MEAC-SWAC Celebration Bowl contractual stipulations may force JSU to withdraw consideration. If the SWAC selects a representative that could do plenty of damage in the FCS playoffs, Jackson State would be the team.
Alcorn State (6-4, 5-2 SWAC) needs to win against JSU to keep pace with the SWAC East leaders, Prairie View Panthers (7-2, 6-1 SWAC). After defeating Prairie View in Week 11, the Braves revived their hope for the division title. A victory against Jackson State would move the needle closer for Alcorn. Still, they need help from Mississippi Valley to knock off Prairie View in the season finale on Nov. 27.
Should the Panthers fall and Alcorn win today, the Braves will return to Jackson, MS, for round two against JSU in the 2021 SWAC Football Championship game.
THE FLORIDA CLASSIC
Since 1925, Bethune-Cookman ( 2-8, 2-5 SWAC) and Florida A&M (8-2, 6-1 SWAC) have been one of the best football rivalries in Florida. Today, the HBCU legendary program will square off in Orlando.
A convincing FAMU win would place the Rattlers would help their cause for an FCS playoff berth. Coach Sims Wildcats have been giving teams in the SWAC "fits" all season. Don't let their record fool you. BCU's recent games have been highly competitive and created a few surprising results.
Last weekend's 31-14 upset of Grambling may have led to the Tigers relieving Coach Fobbs of his head coaching duties.
Coach Simmons' No. 25 ranked team in the FCS PERFORM STATS poll won't be willing to relinquish their chance at a playoff spot. If the Rattlers slip up and lose to Bethune-Cookman, FAMU can kiss their playoff hopes "goodbye."
HBCU FOOTBALL SCHEDULE NOV. 20
- Tennessee State at No. 25 Mississippi State | 12 p.m. | ESPN+/SECN+
- Prairie View A&M at No. 16 Texas A&M | 12 p.m. | ESPN+/SECN+
- Georgetown at Morgan State | 12 p.m. | ESPN+
- Virginia-Lynchburg at Howard | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
- North Alabama at Hampton | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
- Gardner-Webb at North Carolina A&T | 1 p.m. | ESPN3
- South Carolina State at Norfolk State | 2 p.m. | ESPN3 (rebroadcast ESPNU. 7:30 a.m. 11/21)
- Delaware State at North Carolina Central | 2 p.m. | ESPN3
- Alcorn State at Jackson State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alabama A&M | 2 p.m. | AAMU Sports Network
Texas Southern at Alabama State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Bethune-Cookman at Florida A&M | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+