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Good luck figuring out the MEAC where as many as five football teams are vying this weekend for the title

by Lut Williams

Have you seen all the scenarios for who wins the 2014 Mid Eastern Athletic Conference championship and automatic berth to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs based on the results from this, the final weekend of the regular season?

I‘m not sure who the guru is in the MEAC office who figured out the nine possible scenarios – and yes, I did say nine – but it‘s not a job I would want. I have a hard time figuring out things when it‘s just two or three teams involved. This time it‘s five!MEAC Football

In simple terms, if North Carolina A&T, the current first-place team at 6-1 in the MEAC, wins its 2 p.m. game Saturday at traditional long-time, I-40 rival North Carolina Central – one of four teams tied for second with 5-2 marks – the Aggies win the title outright and get the league‘s automatic playoff berth.

That part, and the fact that the Aggie and Eagle fans will pack the joint (O‘Kelly-Riddick Stadium) Saturday to find out, is easy.

If North Carolina Central wins however, oh my goodness, look out! That‘s when the other eight scenarios come into play based on how the other three second-place teams do on Saturday. Those teams include: 1) Morgan State, who closes the season in a 1 p.m. game at home vs. Delaware State; 2) South Carolina State, who also plays at home at 1 p.m. vs. Norfolk State; and 3) Bethune-Cookman, who closes out its season in Orlando, Florida vs. Florida A&M in the Florida Classic at 2 p.m.

If all five teams finish at 6-2, they all will share the MEAC title. The tie-breakers outlined below will determine who gets the automatic FCS playoff bid.

Here are the tie-breaking conclusions based on Saturday‘s outcomes:
MEAC Tiebreaker:
1. If NCAT wins: (AQ: NCAT)
2. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU loses, SCSU loses and MSU loses: (AQ: NCCU)
3. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU loses, MSU wins, SCSU loses (AQ: NCAT)
4. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU loses, MSU loses, and SCSU wins (AQ: NCCU)
5. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU wins, SCSU loses and MSU loses (AQ: BCU)
6. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU loses, MSU wins, and SCSU wins (AQ: MSU)
7. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU wins, MSU loses and SCSU wins (AQ: NCCU)
8. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU wins, MSU wins and SCSU loses (AQ: BCU)
9. If NCCU wins, NCAT loses, BCU wins, MSU wins, and SCSU wins: (AQ: MSU)

What you have above is a simple breakdown. The official dizzying version from the MEAC office – the how tos, why comes, ifs, ands and buts – includes nearly 20 paragraphs and about 600 words. After head-to-head competition, part of it is a nondescript “points system based on the tied teams‘ non-conference record.“ Really? How‘s that work? Read it for yourself and see if you‘ve got it down.

Basically, other than the first option outlined earlier – A&T winning outright – there is one two-way tie possibility, three (3) three-way tie possibilities, three (3) four-way tie possibilities and one (1) five-way tie possibility.

As you can see from above, A&T gets the automatic bid in only two instances – 1) if it wins Saturday or, 2) it loses, Bethune and SC State lose and Morgan State wins. Keep that in mind if you can, Aggie fans.

B-CU lands the bid in two circumstances, as does Morgan State. NC Central prevails in three different ways.

SC State, the leader in the clubhouse before last week‘s results and with wins over both A&T and Bethune, doesn‘t get the automatic bid in any scenario. Go figure!

So, seeing as how the A&T and Bethune games start at 2, we should be figuring out the possible implications of the outcomes of the other two games before those games are over.

It should make for an interesting Saturday.

And, oh yeah, I‘d hold off on those coach of the year ballots until all the results are in.

And, after all that, who gets an at-large bid to the playoffs? Figure that one out.


While it‘s fingernail-biting time on the gridiron, it‘s handwringting time on the hardwood.

Get a gander at some of the opening results for the Div. I HBCU basketball programs:

Clemson 86, Florida A&M 41
NC State 93, Jackson State 58
Miami 84, Howard 49
George Washington 92, Grambling State 40
Indiana 116, Mississippi Valley State 65
Iowa 90, Hampton 56
Hawaii 85, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 57
Oregon 107, Coppin State 65
California 91, Alcorn State 57

Ouch!!! Those were the blowouts. ‘A bad start,‘ for these guys would be an understatement. Expect more of the same.

These were the encouraging losses from the same night.
Eastern Washington 86, Texas Southern 62
Penn State 61, Morgan State 48
UNC 76, NC Central 60
Dayton 76, Alabama A&M 52
Washington 77, South Carolina State 59
TCU 71, Prairie View A&M 54
Eastern Kentucky 76, Savannah State 53
Louisiana Tech 85, Southern 76
Virginia Tech 71, Maryland-Eastern Shore 46

OK. Take from those scores that Morgan State, NC Central, SC State and Savannah State will be in the top half of the MEAC race. Ditto for Texas Southern, Southern, Alabama A&M and Prairie View in the SWAC.

And the wins:
N. C. A&T 91, (Div. III) Greensboro College 61
Alabama State 105, (NAIA) Auburn-Montgomery 64
Norfolk State 81, (Div. II) Pfeiffer 43

The jury‘s still out on them.

The biggest win so far was Delaware State‘s 77-75 overtime victory at Penn (remember NC Central over NC State a year ago) on Nov. 15. Go ahead and pencil in DelState as MEAC champ!

There have been a few more close calls, a couple of wins and plenty more blowouts.

This, “until the rise of morn“ (a Koranic verse), i.e. until the conference seasons start.

Are we headed for a subdivision in Div. I basketball (Basketball Championship Subdivision, BCS). Don‘t be surprised.

© AZEEZ Communications


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