HBCU football is officially back, and what an exciting time it is following an entertaining full-slate of games.
The SWAC hierarchy may have changed after the 2022 SWAC championship representatives lost against fellow conference contenders.
We saw a host of upsets, including a couple of Division II teams getting wins against some familiar faces in the SWAC and MEAC.
Also, a SWAC rivalry has turned completely one-sided, with a team getting its ninth straight win in the series.
Here are five takeaways from the first week of the HBCU football season.
New sheriff in town in the SWAC
There’s a changing of the guard in the SWAC, and they go by the name of Florida A&M. The Rattlers exercised their demons, finally getting over the hump with a 28-10 win in the Orange Blossom Classic against Jackson State.
Since entering the SWAC, Florida A&M played second fiddle to Jackson State, losing each of its two matchups against them. This included a 59-3 demolishment in last year’s edition of the Blossom Classic.
Jackson State was not only Florida A&M’s only SWAC loss in the past two seasons; they hadn’t even scored a touchdown against them.
With that hurdle out of their way, the Rattlers get an early jump on the rest of the SWAC East against whom they have not lost yet.
This loss hands JSU its first conference loss since April 2021 and its first regular season loss since September 2021.
Whether a team is the underdog or the favorite going into the game, it means nothing once those 11 players step out.
It is about who is willing to go above and beyond to give their team the win. This weekend, we saw some upset-minded groups simply prove they wanted it more than their opponent.
Bowie State and Virginia State went to war with the MEAC and emerged victorious against Delaware State and Norfolk State, respectively.
Central State defeated Mississippi Valley State in the Chicago Football Classic thanks to a game-winning field goal.
Alabama State staked its claim as a contender in the SWAC, beating the reigning SWAC West champion Southern.
Morgan State arguably won the weekend, becoming the first HBCU ever to beat Richmond (previously 9-0 against HBCU opponents).
Prairie View A&M makes it 9 straight
Prairie View A&M opened its 2023 campaign battling adversity to defeat Texas Southern 37-34 in a Labor Day Classic overtime thriller.
The Panthers trailed by as many as 17 points in the game and entered the fourth quarter down by 10.
Prairie View A&M has wholly dominated this rivalry in recent years. This is the team’s ninth straight win over Texas Southern, extending their longest win streak in this series.