With just three weeks left in the MEAC regular season, it will be a sprint to the finish line.
As it stands now, three teams – Howard, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State – are separated by one game in the loss column, with the Bison leading the pack at 2-0 in the standings.
Delaware State, Morgan State a Norfolk State – each with two losses in the conference – need a lot of help to reach first place.
For the MEAC, the reality is that it gets late early in a six-team league.
“Each and every week is going to be a dogfight,” said Howard coach Larry Scott. “Everybody is going to give you their best shot. So we’ve come from it from a playoff mentality. You’ve got a five-game playoff, and nothing matters more than just that day you’re faced with.”
Ahead for Howard in a final stretch run that includes games versus NC Central, SC State and Morgan State to finish the regular season.
The Bison and Eagles are one of two matchups on Saturday that have MEAC championship implications. The other – is Delaware State at defending league champion SC State – in what amounts to an elimination game. The Hornets (4-4, 1-2 MEAC) need to win out and have other teams ahead of them stumble. The Bulldogs, with just one conference loss to date, are in a similar position, too after losing to Morgan State last Saturday.
“We have to figure out how to get our team back together,” head coach Buddy Pough said. “We didn’t have (receiver) Richard Bailey, and that seems to make a big difference in the whole scheme. We haven’t been able to get Yancey Washington going again. We really have to figure some things out, this was a rough outing.”
The team with the best overall record – NC Central at 6-2 – probably has the best shot to run the table and win the league despite its lone conference loss. Upcoming opponents have a combined 6-18 record. But since parity has created so much unpredictability, not even the team that was once ranked in the FCS Top 25 poll, is taking anything for granted.
“We talk about parity and we talked about how good these teams are and I think sometimes y’all just think we come up here and praise another team, but I mean it,” said NC Central coach Trei Oliver. There is very little difference between the top team and the bottom team.”