SIAC Football kicks off summer media coverage on Tuesday with its annual media day. Will the 2018 season provide any surprises or will it be another top-heavy season?
Last season’s preseason predictions in the West were spot on. Tuskegee and Miles finished 1-2, while the remaining three teams won a total of three division games aggregate. In the East, the predictions would have held up if Albany State hadn’t fallen apart late in the season. Cue up Herm Edwards, “That’s why they play the game.”
The Golden Rams appeared to be running away with the conference title after rolling over Tuskegee and Miles early on. However, a surprising loss at Clark Atlanta followed up with a disappointment versus Benedict snuffed out the ASU championship dreams.
The vultures were ready to circle Tuskegee after a 61-0 spanking at the hands of Findlay in late September. The Golden Tigers rose up off the mat, however, and never lost again. Tuskegee streaked through the rest of the season with an impressive win over Jackson State and a 50-20 dismantling of rival Miles. Skegee ended the season with another SIAC Championship after a 13-6 win over Fort Valley State.
So the question out West remains the same. Will anyone beat Tuskegee? In the last ten seasons, Tuskegee has won five championships, making their odds of winning a coin flip. Outside of Miles no other team in the West has a history of contending.
In the East, Albany State is the traditional power despite a bit of a lull the past five seasons. Head Coach Kevin Porter has shown that slow starts won’t keep Fort Valley State out of the championship picture. The Wildcats aren’t a dominant team but in the two years since Porter has arrived, he’s 1-1 in the SIAC Championship game. Mike White knows the SIAC in and out and he finally got Benedict to turn the corner last season, but there is still one more step to go.
The two Atlanta schools have been the toast of the conference in basketball the past few seasons, but what about football? Clark Atlanta and Morehouse were both picked at the bottom last season and ultimately finished there. CAU never leveraged two years of Jonathan McCrary into a championship and now the big-armed quarterback is gone.
Morehouse lost by a combined nine points to Miles and Tuskegee last season, but the loss to Tuskegee really hurt. The Maroon Tigers had Skegee on the ropes but a late drive tied the game at the end of regulation, setting JaMarcus Ezell up as the overtime hero. Morehouse wasn’t the same team afterward.
When the preseason picks come out Tuesday they will probably read like last season. After the dips and turns of the regular season end, the same four teams will probably be right there again. It will be fun nonetheless, will it be surprising?