MEAC, Howard University
Howard University

Howard University coach lays out case for MEAC title game

Howard University football head coach Larry Scott is in favor of a MEAC title game. We examine if it can work.

Howard University head coach Larry Scott has seen the comments about his team sharing the MEAC title. He’s heard the whispers. And he doesn’t care what you think.

Scott refused to apologize for his HU squad’s title as co-champions of the MEAC in 2022 in a recent interview with Jeff Lightsy Jr.

The team went 4-1 in conference play, with its lone loss coming to North Carolina Central, who went on to represent the conference in the Celebration Bowl against Jackson State. 

“Howard University did not make the rules,” Scott said regarding a shared title with North Carolina Central. “We just played by them. That’s all we do. Those rules were in place, and we played by them.”

Scott seems to think some of the doubt comes from the fact that it was Howard University that was named co-champion. 

“Somehow, someway — it always with this negative attention to Howard because ‘oh, it’s just Howard. They feel like they are entitled,” Scott said.  “No — we were 4-1. The rules read this way. And we played by the rules, therefore we were named co-champions. I would love to have been a situation to where; you know what — we were 4-1. You were 4-1. Okay. You played and lost to a team that everybody else actually played well against in the conference.”

SC State, MEAC
South Carolina State fans celebrate a win against North Carolina Central. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)

That team, of course, was South Carolina State. SCSU beat NCCU 26-24 last season, then dropped its four remaining MEAC games, including a 28-14 loss to Howard. NCCU picked up the Celebration Bowl invite with a 50-21 win over Howard in Durham last year.

Scott has a solution to the problem — give the MEAC a championship game. 

“Just like many other sports. Let’s take another week off. Another two weeks,” Scott said. “Let’s tee it off, let’s have a championship game.”

Scott sees plenty of benefits for participating teams. 

“That would be more partial to what my take would be and I think it would be great for either university. Whatever the point differentiation was, or however we decide who hosts the game — it’s just another homecoming actually. It’s on somebody’s campus, it’s another revenue driver, another opportunity for exposure with TV and cameras. Another gate financially. I think it could turn into a big-time deal if you had to settle that type of situation, scenario out again. Hey — let’s put it down and play again.”

Howard University, Larry Scott, MEAC
Larry Scott is entering his third full season as Howard head coach.

MEAC title game has pros and cons

The MEAC is the lone HBCU football league that does not have a championship game, which has led to 10 times over the league’s 50-plus year history that it has had multiple champions, including six times since 2010.

Back then, the conference was at twice as large as it is now in football and there were as many as three-to-five champions in some years.

Scott isn’t the first person to propose a title game for the league, but he does make a compelling case as to why a championship game may not be a bad idea.

Of course, the other side to that coin are potential issues. Firstly, hosting an on-campus game could pose a challenge to get adequate attendance if the game is played in a colder climate. Most of the conference is located in places that are prone to temperatures under 40 degrees, and attendance for games in that weather don’t generally trend well — especially for a game that isn’t on the schedule already. 

Then there is the issue of the Celebration Bowl. The SWAC has a championship game in early December, but the MEAC champion usually has roughly a month off before the game. So far the MEAC has dominated the game 6-1 since its inception in 2015. While there’s no way to know how much that has swayed the results — if any — you know the old saying: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Of course, many people think it is broken, or at least can be improved. Howard University head coach Larry Scott is apparently one of them. In the meantime, he and his team will shine up their MEAC championship rings and wear them proudly. Whether you like it or not.

Howard University coach lays out case for MEAC title game
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