Bowie State fooball
Photo: Tim Rice

The CIAA has been highly competitive among the conference’s upper echelon teams as to be expected in the first half of the season.

As we head down the road to conference championship season, there appears to be a collision course on a third straight encounter between current unbeatens Bowie State and Fayetteville State.

There is a lot more football left to be played so do not count out their competitors as in

In the meantime, here is the CIAA Football Midseason Report.

CIAA North

Bowie State

Record: (5-1, 3-0 CIAA)

Grade: A+

After suffering a loss in its season opener to Delaware State, Bowie State has recovered very well winning each of its last five games. Including its five wins this season, the Bulldogs have won 19 straight regular-season games against Division II opponents. In three conference games so far this season, they have won by a combined score of 107-10. With a 14-3 win over Chowan last week, the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat to make their third straight CIAA championship game.


Record: (5-1, 2-1 CIAA)

Grade: A

Chowan was the last remaining team to lose a game in the CIAA. The Hawks were one of the top offenses in all of Division II football averaging 51.4 points per game through five contests. Dating back to the 2019 season, the Hawks had built a nine-game streak scoring 20 or more points, peaking with a 73-7 win over Winston-Salem State. Unfortunately, their aforementioned loss to Bowie State not only ended that streak, but has also put them behind in pursuit of the program’s first-ever CIAA championship game berth.

Virginia Union

Record: (3-3, 2-1 CIAA)

Grade: B

Virginia Union has shaken off losses in its first two games by winning three of its last four games, including a 32-0 win against Lincoln (Pa). However, its one loss during that span came against Shaw in a 27-7 loss. Over the past few seasons, the Panthers have been snake bitten by being unable to get past Virginia State or Bowie State in their quest for a CIAA championship.

Virginia State

Record: (2-3, 2-1 CIAA)

Grade: C+

Virginia State had a rough start to the season losing its first three games of the season, including a 28-14 loss to reigning CIAA South champion Fayetteville State. The Trojans are in a three-way tie for second place in a packed CIAA North with Virginia Union and Chowan. The Trojans’ best opportunity to keep themselves in contention will come this weekend when they face Bowie State.

Elizabeth City State

Record: (2-4, 2-1 CIAA)

Grade: C

Contrary to Elizabeth City State’s record, the Vikings have played well this season. Their best performance arguably came in a loss to the MEAC’s Norfolk State, putting up 26 points. It was the Vikings’ second-highest scoring game of the season. Previously, they were dismantled by Fayetteville State in the season opener and were on the losing end of Bluefield State’s first win in 40 years.

Lincoln (PA)

Record: (0-6, 0-3 CIAA)

Grade: F

The football gods have not been very kind to Lincoln in recent years. The Lions have just two wins in their last 50 games dating back to 2016, with their last win coming against Elizabeth City State in 2018. This season, they have been shut out three times and are losing by an average margin of 32 points per game. The Lions are averaging an abysmal CIAA-low 3.7 points per game in six outings.

CIAA South

Fayetteville State

Record: (4-1, 3-0 CIAA)

Grade: A

The difference between Fayetteville State being an “A+” team like Bowie State and an “A” is that the Broncos’ loss to Division II opponent Wingate (although admittedly Wingate is among the better teams in the Division II ranks). Elsewhere, FSU holds signature wins over Virginia State and Shaw, with the latter being significant as it broke a tie in the division. Barring a disaster for the Broncos, they will have a chance to finally get over the hump in what would be its fourth straight CIAA championship game appearance.


Record: (3-3, 2-1 CIAA)

Grade: B

After getting blown out by Wingate in the season opener,  Shaw nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the season in its next game narrowly losing 28-26 against the FCS’ Davidson Wildcats. They went on to win their next three games against Central State, Lincoln (PA) and Virginia Union, respectively by a combined score of 120-13. However, Shaw’s loss last time out against Fayetteville State may have cost the Bears a chance to win the division.

Winston-Salem State

Record: (1-4, 1-2 CIAA)

Grade: D+

After what was a dominant decade in the 2010s for Winston-Salem State winning four CIAA championships, the Rams have had a spectacular fall from grace. They lost each of their first four games, making it their longest losing streak in a single season since rejoining the conference in 2011 (the previous mark being a three-game losing streak in 2015).

They were able to get in the win column against Johnson C. Smith. Their chances of preventing consecutive losing seasons seem unlikely as they end the season with back-to-back games against Shaw and Fayetteville State.


Record: (1-5, 1-2 CIAA)

Grade: D+

While Livingstone does not have the best record, they have certainly been in a position to win games. Livingston was within a field goal in a pair of losses to the SIAC’s Clark-Atlanta and Allen and lost a one-possession game against Elizabeth City State. The Blue Bears do have two lopsided losses on their resume against SIAC favorite Savannah State and CIAA leader Bowie State. The Blue Bears’ lone win came last week at the expense of St. Augustine’s.

St. Augustine’s

Record: (0-4, 0-3 CIAA)

Grade: F

Since their upset win over Fayetteville State in the 2019 season, St. Augustine’s has failed to put itself back in the win column. SAU currently has the worst defense in the conference allowing 42.8 points per game, including allowing a pair of 50-point games in its first two games of the season. In fairness, St. Augustine’s had a tough schedule to start the season with games against Chowan and Virginia State. However, a loss against a lower-tier Livingstone cements its place in the “F” category.

Johnson C. Smith Golden

Record: (0-5, 0-3 CIAA)

Grade: F

Johnson C. Smith actually showed some promise in its season opener although the Bulls came up short 20-19 against Allen. They have been unable to channel that momentum into a win, albeit against a tough schedule of competitors like Bluefield State, Virginia Union and Bowie State. Like St. Augustine’s, the Golden Bulls’ grade was cemented by a loss against lowly Winston-Salem State.



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