October 26th, 2022 1:00pm
Although Virginia Union may be the talk of D-II HBCU football this season, the best conference this season, at least in Super Region 2, may be the SIAC. This upcoming weekend will see a showdown in the SIAC West for the Division crown, and three additional teams in the SIAC East attempt to continue to boost their resume, as the East had three teams ranked within the Top 10 of the initial Super Region 2 rankings. Allen has a bye while the remaining teams will have their final tuneup before rivalry weekend next week. What will it take for the teams in contention to get into the playoffs?
To earn a spot in the Division 2 playoffs, a team can earn an invite in one of two ways: earned access or at-large. An earned access bid is earned by a conference champion who is ranked in the top 9 of the final rankings. There are four potential earned access spots in Super Region 2, of which the SIAC conference champion has a opportunity to earn one. The other three conferences with the same opportunity are the CIAA, GSC, and SAC. An at-large bid is earned by a non-conference champion that is ranked in the top 7 of Super Region 2. Only seven teams per region earn a position in the D2 playoffs, for a total of 28 teams.
Two of the top rushing teams in the SIAC face each other, in a Thursday night game, to open SIAC play for week nine. Edward Waters (2-6, 2-3) lost its first three games of the season by one score or less, but they are .500 in their last four games. During that span, they have either blown out their opponent (combined score 94-33) or have been blown out (combined score 101-14). Miles (1-7, 1-4) has had a disappointing season, and their offense has scored a touchdown or less in five of their seven losses.
For the visitor, Tuskegee (6-2, 5-0), the task is simple, win and they will wrap up the West. If the Golden Tigers should lose, they will need Kentucky State (4-4, 4-1) to lose Central State (2-6, 1-4) in week 10. Should Tuskegee remain undefeated in conference play and win the conference championship game, they may have a resume good enough to make the playoffs. In that scenario, they would have a better record than Albany State and would have defeated Benedict and have the head-to-head win over the Tigers. If Tuskegee were not in the top seven, they could receive an earned-access bid if they were the highest ranked SIAC team in the top nine.
According to inkblotsports.com, Tuskegee sits number nine in their rankings (using a formula that the NCAA uses) but are not currently in the top 10 of the initial Super Region 2 ranking.
A win by Kentucky State will put the Thorobreds in position to win the West. With the victory, KSU will control their own destiny. Kentucky State will own the tie breaker versus a, then, one loss Tuskegee team. The Thorobreds still must handle their business versus Central State in week 10. Assuming the Thorobreds wins this week and lose next week, the West will go to the Golden Tigers, should they defeat rival Miles (1-7, 1-4) for homecoming in week 10.
Morehouse (0-8, 0-5) will have a tough hill to climb as the Maroon Tigers seek their first victory of the season against Albany State (6-2, 4-1). The Golden Rams must win this matchup to setup, essentially, an elimination game against Fort Valley State (7-1, 4-1) in the Fountain City Classic during week 10. ASU is currently in the top 10 of Super Region 2. According to inkblotsports.com, the Golden Rams are ranked number seven.
Benedict (8-0, 5-0) is off to the best start in their history. After being the opponent for other school’s homecoming three of the past four weeks, the Tigers return to Columbia to host their own. The Tigers can clinch the SIAC East with a victory on Saturday, as they own the tie breaker against, both, Albany State and Fort Valley State, due to their head-to-head victory over both teams. But the Tigers are playing for more to play for than a Division title. The Tigers are currently in the Super Regions 2 rankings, and according to inkblotsports.com, are the number two team in the region. Benedict’s goal is the SIAC title and a playoff berth. BC is also attempting to ensure a home game for the first and second round of the playoffs. There is an outside chance that the Tigers can even earn a first-round bye. Sticking to the Tigers theme, they will only focus on going 1-0 for the week, as they battle Clark-Atlanta (3-5, 2-4) for homecoming.
The Fort Valley State Wildcats (7-1, 4-1) will take on the Savannah State Tigers (3-5, 2-4), a team that has lost more conference games this season, than they have combined in the two prior seasons since rejoining the SIAC as a Division II program (dropping down from FCS and the MEAC Conference). The Wildcats must secure a victory so that the Fountain City Classic becomes a playoff elimination game. A Benedict win eliminates both Albany State and Fort Valley State from SIAC East contention. According to inkblotsports.com, FVSU is currently rated six.
Both Central State (2-6, 1-4) and Lane (4-4, 3-2) are playing out the schedule without a chance to win the SIAC West. For the Marauders, Coach Kevin Porter continues to attempt to rebuild this once proud program. Although Lane can technically tie with both Tuskegee and Kentucky State, both teams own the tiebreaker versus the Dragons, due to each team’s victory over Lane.