Finally, its time to strap up the pads, lace up the cleats, and hit the field for the 2015 football season. In the inaugural year of….sigh…the Celebration Bowl there will be several contenders from the MEAC. We won’t know who’s a strong front runner after Week One though, as several schools open against some tough FBS competition, while others are playing regional Division II opponents.
Six of the eleven squads will line up against opponents from the highest level of collegiate football this weekend. Last year’s MEAC playoff representative Morgan State will visit Air Force of the Mountain West Conference in Colorado. Looking to find some solid ground after some rough years, Savannah State will also travel to Colorado for a match-up against Colorado St, another MWC member.
Norfolk State will head north to Piscataway, NJ to face Rutgers, a team it has yet to score against in three meetings. (Rutgers has outscored Norfolk St 128-0 in those three games).
Howard will head into the mountains of Boone, NC to face an Appalachian St. team that is still trying to find its footing in the FBS. A&T went to Boone and beat Appalachian State a few years ago, but unless Howard has a QB on their roster that is light years ahead of last year’s QB Greg McGhee, chances of an upset are pretty slim.
The two MEAC teams down in Florida both have in-state FBS match-ups so expect some crowd following when they come to town. FAMU will head over to Tampa, FL to take on South Florida. Rival Bethune-Cookman gets the pleasure of taking on the Miami Hurricanes down in Coral Gables, FL.
There will only be two teams that take on other FCS opponents this weekend. Delaware State will head to Lynchburg, VA for a match-up with Liberty in its first game under Kenny Carter. South Carolina St will have to wait for Sunday (9/6) to hit the field in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, FL against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The remaining MEAC schools, NC A&T, North Carolina Central and Hampton, will start out with tune up games against Division II schools. Preseason favorite A&T will host old CIAA rival Shaw U. in the first meeting between the two teams since 1963. Rival NCCU will take on the other CIAA school from Raleigh, St. Augustine’s University.
Over in the Tidewater, Hampton will host SIAC member Kentucky State as it jumps into Year Two of the Maynor Era.
Heartless Week One Picks
Air Force over Morgan State
Rutgers over Norfolk State
Colorado St over Savannah State
App St over Howard
Hampton over Kentucky State
Miami over Bethune-Cookman
NCAT over Shaw
NCCU over St. Aug
Liberty over Delaware State
USF over FAMU
SCSU over UAPB