LUT WILLIAMS BCSP Editor
Three weeks into the 2023 football season and there are only five teams left with unblemished records in black college football.
Two are in the CIAA – Virginia Union and Virginia State – and three are in the SIAC – Benedict, Tuskegee and Allen.
VUU and VSU are no surprises as they are legitimate and perennial contenders for CIAA honors. The same goes for defending SIAC champion Benedict and Tuskegee, who won their respective divisions a season ago and met in the league’s 2022 championship game.
But Allen is a different story.
The Yellow Jackets are in their fifth year returning to football in 2018 after a 15-year hiatus. They have been led since their return by head coach Teddy Keaton and are seeking their first winning season.
In 2022, the Jackets finished 2-8 overall, 0-7 in SIAC play – not very good to say the least. But of those seven conference losses, four were by single digits. Three were by less than four points – a one-point loss to Clark Atlanta (42-41), a two-point loss to Fort Valley State (29-27) and a three-point loss to Central State (35-32). They fell to Tuskegee by eight (35-27). Their other losses were to Kentucky State (41-22), Benedict (54-21) and Edward Waters (38-12).
They avenged one of those losses with a 34- 30 win over Kentucky State Saturday. Sophomore quarterback David Wright threw (30-53-2) for 411 yards and five touchdown passes, four in the fourth quarter as Allen erased a 23-point deficit, scoring 27 unanswered points to pull out the win. Wright currently leads the SIAC passing stats at 390.5 yards per game with 7 TDs.
The Jackets continue their redemption tour Saturday (1 p.m.) at Central State (0-1, 1-2 SIAC).
Elsewhere in the SIAC Saturday at 1 p.m., Benedict travels to 2022 CIAA finalist and new South Atlantic Conference (SAC) member Chowan (0-3), Tuskegee (3-0, 2-0) under new head coach Aaron James, hosts 0-3 Lane, and Fort Valley State (2-1, 2-0) is at Kentucky State (1-2, 0-2). Edward Waters (0-3, 0-2) hosts Morehouse (0-3, 0-1) at 2 p.m., Albany State (1-2, 1-0) and Savannah State (2-1, 1-0) meet in Brunswick, Ga. at the Coastal City HBCU Classic at 3 p.m. and Miles (2-1, 1-0) hosts winless Clark Atlanta (0-3, 0-2) at 4 p.m.
The CIAA features North vs. South division battles Saturday. In 1 p.m. starts, Bowie State (2-1, 1-0) is home vs. winless St. Augustine’s (0-3, 0-1) and Elizabeth City State (1-2, 0-1) entertains Shaw (0-3, 0-1). S. Div. co-leader Winston-Salem State (1-2, 1-0) has Bluefield State (1-2, 0-1) in a 2 p.m. start while Lincoln (Pa.) (1-2) hosts S. Div. co-leader J. C. Smith (2-1, 1-0) at 7 p.m.
At 6 p.m., Virginia State hosts winless (0-3) Livingstone while Virginia Union hosts defending champion Fayetteville State (1-2, 0-1) in the Willard Bailey Classic on HBCUGo.
Unsurprisingly, there are no black college FCS teams in the MEAC, SWAC, CAA or Big South/OVC with clean records as teams in those conferences fell hard in a series of “money games” against FBS competition.
The best of those like 2-1 N. C. Central (UCLA, 59-7), 2-1 Florida A&M (South Florida, 38-24) and 2-1 Tennessee State (Notre Dame, 56-3) have taken it on the chin in such games.
SWAC play kicks off Thursday with Alabama A&M (1-2, 0-1) hosting Arkansas- Pine Bluff (1-2) on ESPNU (7 p.m.). On Saturday, Grambling (1-2) hosts Texas Southern (0-3, 0-1) and Jackson State (2-2, 0-1) hosts Bethune-Cookman at 2 p.m. Alcorn State (1-2) hosts Prairie View (1-2, 1-0) and Florida A&M hosts Alabama State (1-1) at 6 p.m.
MEAC teams continue their out-of-conference games Saturday. NC Central is in Indianapolis (3 p.m.) for the Circle City Classic vs. Miss. Valley State. SC State (0-3) is at home (6 p.m.) vs. The Citadel, Morgan State (1-2) hosts Albany, Norfolk State (1-2) is at Towson (4 p.m.) and Delaware State (0-3) is at (3:30 p.m.) Miami (OH).