The 2014 season was defined by five teams earning a share of the MEAC regular season championship. Morgan State (7-5 in 2014) received the automatic bid to the FCS playoffs are winning a tiebreaker.
The upcoming season figures to be carbon copy of the chaos that ended with one of the closest races in conference history.
North Carolina A&T: Winning nine games was not enough to reach the FCS playoffs last season. With junior running back Tarik Cohen, the MEAC co-Offensive Player of the Year coming back, and a host of other starters on offense and defense returning, there is a good chance the Aggie could represent the MEAC in the first-ever Celebration Bowl come December.
Bethune-Cookman: The Wildcats lost head coach Brian Jenkins to Alabama State in the offseason. In comes longtime BCU assistant Terry Sims, who will have the luxury of having quarterback Quentin Williams and running back Larry Brihm. Sims biggest challenge will be attempting to mold a defense that lost several starters from a season ago.
North Carolina Central: The Eagles return eight players who were named to the all-conference team in 2014 to go along with a recruiting class that was regarded as among the best in HBCU football. The key to winning the league will be how much its maligned defense improves after giving up an average of 24.8 points per game.
South Carolina State: As many as 21 players return from a team that won eight games last season, including defensive studs Javon Hargrave and Darius Leonard. The Bulldogs always seem to be in the running for the MEAC championship, and 2015 will be no different.
Morgan State: The Bears won the league for the first time in more than 30 years, and will bring back All-MEAC running back Herb Walker, who rushed of 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. Morgan State should get off to good start in conference play with their first five games being against Delaware State, Hampton, Howard and Savannah State.
Howard: Four-year starter Greg McGhee is gone after a stellar career at Howard. Who will replace him is anyone’s guess at this point. Redshirt sophomore Jamie Cunningham is the only quarterback on the current roster who has throw a pass (one) at Howard.
Hampton: Even though the Pirates won just three games a season ago, they didn’t make life easy on MEAC opponents. Hampton knocked off Bethune-Cookman and gave Morgan State all it could handle in a three-point loss.
Delaware State: First-year head coach Kenny Carter takes over a team that won just two games in 2014 but returns 14 starters. An October that features Morgan State, Hampton and Florida A&M should keep them in the MEAC race for at least a month.
Florida A&M: Last season was one to forget for the Rattlers. Maybe the hiring of Alex Wood will help, but he isn’t even officially under contract yet after being hired last December during a lengthy coaching search.
Norfolk State: The Spartans had arguably the worst offense in the MEAC last season. They won four games in 2014 because of their historically solid defense. The unit should get a boost with former four-star recruit and Syracuse transfer Quinta Funderburk now on the roster to play receiver. Latrell Scott knows something about offense and is a program builder. If Norfolk State can get anything from the offense, the Spartans can make things interesting in the MEAC.
Savannah State:The Tigers have lost 21 consecutive games with that seemingly not changing during the 2015 season.