Coming off a 2023 season in which Alabama State continued to show improvement under head coach Eddie Robinson Jr., the Hornets are now in a position to compete for a championship.
The Hornets finished with a 7-4 overall record, ranking second in scoring defense (14.5) and third in total defense (281.9).
During the offseason, the Hornets made big-time offensive acquisitions, including former Texas Southern quarterback Andrew Body and Clark Atlanta running back Daquon Kincey.
Coupled with the fact that they will play in six home games this year (nine total games in the state of Alabama), you have a recipe for a potential breakout season for Alabama State.
Here is how we see the Alabama State Hornets 2024 football season.
North Carolina Central (Loss)
Last Meeting: First
For the first time in Alabama State’s football history, they will clash with the North Carolina Central Eagles in the Orange Blossom Classic. This will be the first OBC ever not to feature Florida A&M. This matchup is a battle between Alabama State’s defense and North Carolina Central’s offense. Even with the offseason losses for the respective units, there is still enough talent to make this game interesting.
Last Meeting: Miles 21-17, 2023
The Hornets will have revenge on their mind in week two when they face the Miles Golden Bears. Last year, Miles pulled off a major upset, overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Hornets. I think it’s safe to assume Alabama State got the message and will not play with their food this time.
Last Meeting: First
Alabama State heads to Birmingham for its first-ever matchup against Samford. This is the first time Samford has played against an HBCU since they played Alabama A&M in 2019. Samford has only lost once in their eight previous matchups against HBCUs (Alcorn State, 2001).
Last Meeting: Alabama State 19-14, 2023
Coming back from a bye week in week four, Alabama State enters its SWAC schedule going on the road to face Bethune-Cookman. Although Alabama State has won three straight against Bethune-Cookman, this is a different BCU team than Bama State has seen. Entering their second season under Raymond Woodie, the Wildcats had a tremendous offseason recruiting high-caliber talent.
Record: 2-2, 1-0
Florida A&M (Win)
Last Meeting: Florida A&M 23-10, 2023
The following week, Alabama State will play its home conference opener against the defending Celebration Bowl champion Florida A&M Rattlers. Florida A&M has been the opposite of Bethune-Cookman, having beaten Alabama State in their first three straight contests.
However, a problematic offseason has Florida A&M’s question to repeat in question. They will be without SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Jeremy Moussa and SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Isaiah Major, and they will also be moving forward without head coach Willie Simmons. There will be no better time this season for Alabama State to snap its losing streak against FAMU.
Record: 3-2, 2-0
Mississippi Valley State (Win)
Last Meeting: Alabama State 20-3, 2023
Staying on their home field, Alabama State will clash with a Mississippi Valley State team that they have had much success against in recent years.
Since 2010, Alabama State has only lost to Mississippi Valley State once in 14 meetings, winning all their matchups against them on their home field. The Delta Devils have not beaten the Hornets on their home field since 2002. There has been little evidence to suggest that the streak will end this season or anytime soon.
Record: 4-2, 3-0
Alabama A&M (Win)
Last Meeting: Alabama State 31-16, 2023
The 89th annual Magic City Classic commences from Birmingham, Alabama, when Alabama State faces off against Alabama A&M. The Bulldogs are looking to avoid three straight losses in this series, which has not happened in nearly 30 years. While Alabama A&M made some solid additions this offseason, the talent gap between them and Alabama State is too significant for them to overcome.
Record: 5-2, 3-0
Alcorn State (Loss)
Last Meeting: Alcorn State 23-20, 2023
In a potential SWAC championship preview, Alabama State travels to Mobile, Alabama, to play the Alcorn State Braves. Last season, the Braves got the best of the Hornets, hitting a game-winning field goal to secure an overtime 23-20 win.
History is not on the side of the Hornets, who have not beaten Alcorn in Alabama since 2013 (four straight losses). Both teams are evenly matched in terms of talent, with this likely being a contender for Game of the Year in the 2024 season.
Record: 5-3, 3-1
Grambling State (Win)
Last Meeting: Alabama State 17-6, 2023
Alabama State clashes with the Grambling State Tigers in their final road game of the season. This is the first time the Hornets will face Grambling on their home field since 2018. They will be looking for their first straight victory against the Tigers, something they have not done since 2014.
Record: 6-3, 4-1
Jackson State (Loss)
Last Meeting: Alabama State 24-19, 2023
In a critical matchup that could decide the fate of the SWAC East, Alabama State lines up against the Jackson State Tigers. Alabama State kept its promise last season, spoiling Jackson State’s homecoming and snapping a two-game losing streak against them. This time, the Tigers have had time to mature amongst themselves and are fueled by revenge. This game could go either way, with the stakes being high.
Record: 6-4, 4-2
Prairie View A&M (Win)
Last Meeting: Prairie View A&M 21-14, 2023
In their conference finale, Alabama State prepares for another potential SWAC championship preview against Prairie View A&M. Getting a win against Prairie View has not been easy for Alabama State, having lost nine straight against the Panthers. They have come close in recent years, with three of their last four losses in one-possession games. The Hornets seem due to end the streak, and this year is as good as any to do so.
Record: 7-4, 5-2
Last Meeting: Alabama State 41-3
Finally, on Thanksgiving Day, Alabama State ends its regular season with a matchup against Tuskegee. The last two matchups between these teams have not even been close, seeing the Hornets win by a combined score of 84-12. However, I do not think this is cut and dry, as Bama State has been susceptible to upsets in this series. Although they have won four straight against Tuskegee, they still have a 6-7 record against them in their last 13 contests.
2024 Record: 8-4, 5-2 (SWAC)