The halfway point of the HBCU football season is here, which means there is added pressure on teams in the thick of their respective conference championship races.
In the SIAC, two matchups will see a shift in the standings, while the tight-knit SWAC West division could grow even tighter.
Here are the 5 Games to Watch in Week 6 of the HBCU football season.
Benedict vs. Miles
Photo: Miles College Athletics
A significant domino at the top of the SIAC standings could fall Saturday evening when the Benedict Tigers face the Miles Golden Bears.
While Benedict is the only remaining team unbeaten overall in the SIAC, they and Miles are two of five teams unbeaten in conference play.
Now that the SIAC is no longer running a divisional format, these two teams are fighting for one of the top two slots with its fellow unbeaten competitors to qualify for the conference title game.
This is the first battle of the undefeated for Benedict in the next two weeks, as they will follow up this meeting with a clash against Fort Valley State.
Meanwhile, Miles has a matchup against two teams currently undefeated in conference play, awaiting them in its final two games (Albany State and Tuskegee).
Virginia State vs. Bowie State
Photo: Bowie State Athletics
The Bowie State Bulldogs will fight to keep their championship hopes alive when they play their homecoming game against the Virginia State Trojans.
Bowie State is coming off an upset loss to Livingstone, dropping its conference record to 2-1 and making Virginia State the last remaining undefeated team in the CIAA North.
This is a must-win for the Bulldogs, as a loss will present a difficult road ahead to clinching a berth in the CIAA championship game.
Meanwhile, a win will put Virginia State in the driver’s seat in the Northern division, with a meeting against Virginia Union in its season finale being its last big test.
Florida A&M vs. Southern
The Florida A&M offense hadn’t been consistent as Willie Simmons would like.
The Florida A&M Rattlers continue their quest to clinch their first-ever SWAC East division title when they go on the road to face the Southern Jaguars.
Like Florida A&M, Southern is currently at the top of its division, holding a 2-0 conference record (tied with Grambling State).
These two teams will likely represent their respective divisions in the SWAC championship game.
Both teams will not only aim to maintain their lead in their division race but also to gain an edge in a potential conference championship matchup.
Grambling State vs. Alcorn State
Photo; Grambling State Athletics
The Grambling State Tigers will be looking to remain in the land of the unbeaten when they travel to Lorman to face the Alcorn State Braves.
As mentioned, Grambling State is tied with Southern for the lead in the SWAC West, holding a 2-0 conference record.
Meanwhile, Alcorn State kept themselves in the mix in the division following its win over Alabama State.
A Braves win, and a hypothetical loss by Southern will put these teams in a three-way tie, with Prairie View A&M in that mix.
Savannah State vs. Fort Valley State
Tim Alderman. Photo: Fort Valley State Athletics
Locked in a tight race at the top of the SIAC, the Fort Valley State Wildcats look to remain undefeated in conference play when they host the Savannah State Tigers.
Having beaten them three straight times, Savannah State has been somewhat of a kryptonite for Fort Valley State.
This includes a 28-24 win last season culminated by a go-ahead game-winning touchdown by Tigers’ quarterback Jadon Adams.
With looming matchups between currently undefeated teams Benedict and Albany State on its schedule, Fort Valley State must get a win in this contest to keep its championship hopes alive.