First-year Alabama State head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. wants his ballclub to make its matchup against Howard in the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge a “personal” pursuit.
After all, the MEAC is 11-4 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge tilts since the game was established in 2005. The MEAC dominance over the SWAC doesn’t stop just for the season opener in Atlanta, either. Taking into account Celebration Bowl results, the MEAC is an impressive 16-5 versus the SWAC in major bowls or classic matchups.
When the Hornets face the Bison at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta on Aug. 27 on national television, Robinson — who played in the first-ever Heritage Bowl game for Alabama State against North Carolina Central — hopes the outcome of a game less than 60 days away will be in favor of the SWAC.
“To me, it’s a personal experience because you know I kind of lived and breathed the SWAC,” Robinson explained Tuesday during a press conference that featured Howard coach Larry Scott. “It’s always been my opinion that the SWAC was a better football conference over the MEAC.
“However, if you look at the records the last couple of years … you are what your record says you are. I can’t say that today, but we definitely want to turn that around. So I think I think it’s one of those things where we’re playing for Alabama State, but we’re playing for the conference and we have to kind of restore order because the SWAC is the preeminent HBCU conference in the nation.”
For Howard, a program that will enter the 2022 season with renewed enthusiasm after it compiled an impressive 2021 signing class headlined by three-star running back Eden James, it wants to keep the conference momentum going.
“The record right now is 11-4, and we don’t want to be the team that stops that,” said Scott. “So just for our young men to have the sense of urgency of what that means, you’re not only carrying the brand that is Howard, not philosophy and who we are as a football team, but we’re representing our conference as a whole. And that has to mean something.”