October 27th, 2023 12:00am
The regional rankings came out on Monday, and the team you weren’t expecting was among the alphabetical top 10. Fayetteville State trumped the two one-loss Virginia schools to be among the 10 teams. FSU has the benefit of playing an undefeated Lenoir-Rhyne, a one-loss Virginia Union, and three loss UNC-Pembroke and Johnson C. Smith. That’s a rather decent strength of schedule to measure up against. It doesn’t mean that the Virginia schools are out of it by any means, since they both have to meet in the regular season finale. Plus, there are a number of teams ahead of VSU/VUU that are going to beat up on each other. So, more to come there.
Other news includes a congrats to Shaw RB Sidney Gibbs, who became the school's all time leading rusher last week.
Game of the Week
Winston-Salem State (4-2, 4-4) at Johnson C. Smith (4-2, 5-3): I can’t remember a time in which JCSU came into this game with the better record. JCSU’s strength continues to be its defense. Subtlety, the JCSU offense has been playing keep away from the opposing offenses, with the Golden Bulls holding onto the ball well over 30 minutes a game the last two outings. WSSU comes into this game with a solid offense, and sometimes questionable defensive play. JCSU’s offense is struggling as well, and is a shell of what it was when they started the season. JCSU is hungry to get a win over WSSU for the first time in 22 tried. I’m just not sure it will happen against the Southern division’s most productive offense. Advantage: WSSU
Bounce Back Game
Lincoln (3-3, 4-4) at Virginia State (5-1, 7-1) – Lincoln reverted to old ways last week. It now faces a VSU team that’s reeling after last week’s loss. Can VSU get the running game going again? Can Lincoln regain the over the air production? Advantage: VSU
There’s probably an upset in here somewhere, I’m just too coward to pick it
Fayetteville State (6-0, 6-2) at Shaw (2-4, 2-6): The last hurdle for FSU to return to the championship game is Shaw. Shaw showed some life last week, but faltered in the closing seconds against Livingstone. FSU’s defense should be able to corral the Bears. But, don’t expect a high scoring game in this affair. Pack your patience. Advantage: FSU
Elizabeth City State (1-5, 2-6) at Bowie State (3-3, 4-4): ECSU’s surprise win shows how close they have been to knocking teams off. Here, the face off against a Bowie State team that had an offensive resurgence behind a third quarterback: Jordan Morse. Morse opened up pass game, something that had been lacking the last several games. The pass took some pressure off the passing game that had been struggling to get going. This week, BSU lines up against a much more capable rushing defense. So, it will be interesting to see if they can replicate their success. It may be a tall task to ask ECSU for two upsets in a row. Advantage: Bowie
Saint Augustine’s (0-6, 0-8) at Livingstone (3-3, 3-5): SAU’s defense has kept them in some games, and expect them to do so here. It’s the offense that may let them down. Livingstone has been living on the edge, and closing out opponents even when playing from behind. Just ask Shaw and WSSU. Plus, it’s a home game. Advantage: Livingstone
No Mercy Game
#20 Virginia Union (5-1, 7-1) at Bluefield State (0-6, 1-7): This game isnt going to be pretty. Lets just put that out there. B-State is very one dimensional, racks up lots of yards, throws a lot of interceptions, and doesn’t have the points to show for it. Plus, they are facing a very stiff defensive line for VUU. Life can be hard and cruel in the CIAA North. Advantage: VUU