It is that time of the year when certain schools are playing for pride.

You know, schools that have no shot at participating in postseason play in 2014.

But, there are still reasons — as few as they might seem — to invest three hours on a Saturday watching your favorite bottom feeder before winter officially rears its ugly, heartless head.

For Jackson State, observing the development of LaMontiez Ivy might be something fans might want to keep an eye on. Head coach Harold Jackson has pretty much hitched his wagon to the redshirt sophomore through a trying season. Even though JSU will finish third in the SWAC East, Ivy’s progression will be the key to determine whether the Tigers are able to bounce back from a disappointing 2014 campaign.

Alabama State might not have Reggie Barlow around after 2014, but that does not mean the folks down in Montgomery should forgo the dwindling opportunities to watch running back Malcolm Cyrus tote the pigskin a couple of more times. Cyrus leads the SWAC in rushing with 1,317 yards.

Prairie View was supposed to win the SWAC West. Then they went 0-4 to start the season. Jerry Lovelocke, the great gunslinger of the Panthers, has had a dazzling career in Houston. Watching him work a few more times will be worth it for the Prairie View faithful.

Howard, even in a year when the MEAC is seemingly wide open, has not had the ability to take advantage. That only leaves Bison backers to get one more fleeting look at senior quarterback Greg McGhee. He might be the best player in the MEAC.

Hampton is a school I’ve often confused Howard with. Don’t know why. Anyway, Connell Maynor looks like he’s gonna build something special in Virginia. The Pirates upset win over MEAC power Bethune-Cookman Thursday is a sign that Hampton — with a great coach like Maynor aboard — will be contending in the conference in short order.

I know we didn’t get to all the schools playing out the string this month and  next. However, I bet an unclothed reality television starlet on the cover a magazine you can find a reason to invest time and resources into your team with nothing left to play for.


Alabama State versus Grambling State

Grambling State is riding a 7-game winning streak, and Alabama State will present their last toughest test before at matchup with Southern at the Bayou Classic. Alabama State, while not playing for a division championship, is still really good at football. They can beat Grambling. If the Hornets do, the SWAC West race gets a whole lot more interesting.

Grambling State 20, Alabama State 17

South Carolina State versus Morgan State

Hampton’s upset win over Bethune-Cookman has created further chaos in the MEAC standings. The great benefactor is South Carolina State. At 5-1 in conference play, a win over Morgan State could leave them in sole possession of first.

South Carolina State 31, Morgan State 20


Tuskegee (8-2, 7-0) and Albany State (7-2, 7-0) are both beaten in conference play heading into the title game Saturday. This contest figures to be decided on the basis of whether Tuskegee’s high-powered offense can consistently move the football against Albany State’s stingy defense. The contrasting styles make for a compelling matchup in this one. This game could go either way, though.

Albany State 24, Tuskegee 23


For the second straight season this contest between Winston-Salem State and Virgina State has been overshadowed by off-the-field incidents. WSSU Rudy Johnson quarterback was assaulted during a postseason banquet, which forced last year’s title game to be canceled. Just days ago, Virginia State QB Tarian Ayres was suspended from the squad after being pinched for driving while plastered. Are we ever going to get a CIAA championship game minus the controversy?

Winston-Salem State 33, Virginia State 17


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