Football season is vastly approaching and the teams of the MEAC are ready to go. North Carolina A&T is the projected favorite while Howard is in contention to knock the champs off. North Carolina Central just added a former 4-star running back and are always ready to strike.
The Florida teams of the MEAC, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M, are looking to connect the final dots to make a splash within the conference. Coach Oliver Pough is looking to make an impact in his final season at S.C. State. Delaware State, Norfolk State, and Morgan State are looking to improve on all levels. And for Savannah State, the Tigers are prepping for their final season in the MEAC.
There’s always a story to watch out for and heated competition within the conference. Here’s the 2018 MEAC Games to watch.
Saturday, August 25: Jacksonville State vs North Carolina A&T
Many wonder how North Carolina A&T would’ve fared last season in the FCS playoffs if the Celebration Bowl was not in play. It finished the season as the only unbeaten team in the FCS. National doubts or not, A&T has another chance to prove themselves on the national stage against Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference.
The two teams will clash at the FCS Kickoff Classic in Montgomery. Alabama. JSU has not lost a conference game in four straight seasons and also has not had a losing season since 2002. JSU’s dominant program is looking for its sixth straight FCS playoff appearance as well.
The Aggies will look to show HBCU football isn’t a cake walk when they matchup with the Gamecocks and they will do so while being led by Lamar Raynard; the MEAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and an HBCU Gameday All-American.
Sunday, September 2nd: Prairie View A&M vs North Carolina Central
Prairie View A&M and North Carolina Central will be the conference representatives in the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge. But the location has a nice twist. Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta is the location. This will mark the start of the season as the season ends in Atlanta as well.
North Carolina Central is looking to unleash preseason all-American running back Isaiah Totten on the Panthers defense. On the other side of the ball, Davanta Renolyds will be looking to create havoc for the PV’s offense. The MEAC Pre-Season Defensive Player of the Year will be the center of everyone’s attention when he’s on the field. But, NCCU has more. Former four start RB Jamal Currie-Elliot from Oregon is now on the squad. Expect him to get quite a few looks in this game. Both teams’ head coaches will make their debuts as NCCU’s Granville Eastman takes over as interim while former Grambling play caller Eric Dooley takes the reins for PVAMU.
The MEAC is currently 9-3 in the challenge.
Saturday, September 22nd: Howard vs Bethune Cookman
While this game will take place in Indianapolis, Daytona Beach could be where MEAC title dreams end. BCU faces major teams on the MEAC slate at home this year, and while the Circle City Classic is neutral game, not having to play at Howard is just as good for BCU.
Caylin Newton struck a dagger in BCU last season with a TD run with 39 seconds left in the game. The star freshman had almost 200 yards of total offense last season. Defensive linemen Todney Evans and Kevin Thompson will look to stop he’s rushing attack as Newton damaged the Wildcats on the ground this season.
This game will come down to BCU’s explosiveness on offense. BCU ranked third last season in passing but only 8th in rushing. The Wildcats will have to score when they get a chance or the Bison will run out of Indianapolis with a win.
Saturday, October 6th: Howard vs NC Central
This game is set to be explosive. Howard is projected to finish second as NCCU is slated to finish 3rd. As we’ve seen in the MEAC, that’s only talk. This game can be a crucial point in the MEAC title race. If things trend as expected, this is basically an elimination game. If A&T or another team goes on a streak, the loser of this game will need someone to lose down the line to truly stay in contention.
Besides their Hampton game last season, this NCCU environment will be the toughest in the conference to play in since Newton has been their QB. The Eagles home-field advantage will be up and ready as the Bison comes to Durham.
Saturday, October 20th: Where The Tides Can Turn
A&T, NCCU, and HU are all on the road on October 20th. As we’ve seen recently, a loss can greatly diminish one’s MEAC title chances. With all teams on the road in tightly contested matchups, which team will stay alive?
North Carolina A&T vs Bethune Cookman
Here’s why BCU can be the giant killer in the MEAC. They had close losses against Howard and North Carolina A&T with a close win against NCCU. More on this later.
But the BCU coaching staff is trying to put together the final pieces. It held A&T to its lowest margin of victory last season. The Aggies scored ten unanswered points to beat the Wildcats last season. This time around, BCU will be looking to finish the job.
North Carolina Central vs Norfolk State
If you don’t remember, Norfolk State defeated NCCU last season. The loss slightly derailed the Eagles until they completely derailed by losing their last two games of the season. In last season’s game, NCCU was shut out 21-0 at halftime. They scored 21 points but another NSU TD pushed NCCU away from the win.
Preseason all-American LB Nigel Chavis will try to shut down the NCCU rushing attack. Marcus Taylor will be looking to damage NCCU’s defense like he did last season. Taylor had eight receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns from freshman Juwan “Pootie” Carter. NSU’s home field advantage will be tough as NCCU walks into Norfolk on their homecoming. Will NCCU crash the party or will the Spartans slash the Eagles title chances?
Howard vs Morgan State
This game right here means a lot for the DC Metro area. Howard and Morgan are the prominent D1 HBCU’s in the area. While Howard is n DC, a lot of students in the DMV goes to Morgan State, just like Bowie State in the CIAA. This is a battle really fueled by the student bodies. Howard is considered to be a rival by MSU, while HU doesn’t really consider it. This game might determine some things. Hampton is gone from the MEAC and Howard needs a regional rival. MSU can surely fit that void.
On the field last season, it wasn’t pretty but MSU has history on their side. In the past 15 seasons, Howard has only defeated MSU in 2005, 2012, 2013, and 2017. All at home. So Howard has not walked out of Baltimore with a win in a while.
The game is an orange out and MSU is looking to wreck Howard’s season. Despite the bad record, MSU was third in total offense last season. Rico Kennedy and Malachi Washington are MEAC Pre-Season defense first-teamers for MSU. Expect Newton to keep an eye on those two.
Thursday, November 8th: North Carolina Central vs Bethune Cookman
What really ended NCCU’s chances at a MEAC title last season was a loss against BCU at home. On paper, NCCU dominated the game. They outgained BCU with 312 total yards compared to BCU’s 178. The Wildcats punted on nine drives. NCCU was so dominant, they doubled the number of first downs that BCU gained. But the scoreboard did not portray this at all.
This game is late in the season and under the lights on National TV. Expect the unexpected as BCU’s home slate could lead them to the promised land.
Saturday, November 10th: Howard vs Norfolk State
Two 80-plus yard drives pushed Howard over NSU last season in DC. HU was on the ropes and got clutch play from Newton in the end to claim the victory. NSU’s squad is a sleeper in the MEAC. Howard will most definitely need this game and it’s their last MEAC game of the season. Due to Hampton leaving the MEAC, Howard has an extra nonconference game and it lands the week after this game.
Howard is on the road late in the season which makes this game an interesting one. An NSU win could be disastrous for HU’s Celebration Bowl hopes.
Saturday, November 17th: North Carolina A&T vs North Carolina Central
This game right here is not nice at all. It’s not made for handshakes and unity dances in the crowd. This rivalry is the best thing going in the MEAC, no matter the sport. Historically, A&T leads this series 50–34–5. If an NCCU fan would call the storyline, the Eagles have won the last three out of four. If an A&T fan would call it, they won last year; just like every game and award in sight last season.
Expect this game to come down to the offense. NCCU could have a record-breaking season in terms of rushing yards. A&T could do the same via passing. No matter what’s on the line, this rivalry brings everything out of every athlete who touches the field.
Saturday, November 17th: Florida A&M vs Bethune Cookman
We all know about this game but there’s a slight possibility that this game will have MEAC title implications. If BCU’s home field magic works this season and if Ryan Stanley torches MEAC defenses; this game could either deal with conference tiebreakers or actual MEAC title chances.
Saturday, September 15th: NC Central vs SC State
Saturday, September 29th: Florida A&M vs NC Central
Saturday, October 13th: Florida A&M vs North Carolina A&T