By A.D. Drew, co-host BCSN SportsWrap
November 14, 2019
It’s championship time for our HBCU’s. The playoff picture is getting clearer. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who needs help? Let’s examine what it will take for our various D-II HBCU’s to get into the “tournament”.
First of all, Division II teams must be ranked within the top 7 teams in their Super-Region. An exception is made for conference champions who must finish in the top 9 to qualify (at the expense of a top 7 finisher). Each super region is made up of four conferences, plus any independents that are geographically within the footprint of that region. The number one seed gets a bye, and the remaining six play round one. Seeds two, three, and four are at home in round one. NEW FOR 2019: The remaining three teams are matched up geographically with the three home teams for round one. This is done to avoid travel issues and increase attendance in the first round. Super Region 2 comprises most of our HBCU’s. The region encompasses the CIAA and SIAC, along with the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) and Gulf South Conference (GSC).
Super Region 2
The current regional rankings in Super Region Two, based upon records versus Division II opponents, through November 11:
|RANK||SCHOOL||CONFERENCE||IN-REGION RECORD||DIVISION II RECORD||RPI|
|9||Albany St. (GA)||SIAC||7-3||7-3||.502|
Bowie State. Bowie State is the CIAA North Champions and will play Fayetteville State in the championship game this Saturday. This game is a rematch of last year’s championship game that Bowie State won 30-10. The Bulldogs are in the playoffs, win or lose. If Bowie wins, they will host a first-round game. If Valdosta State or Lenoir-Rhyne lose, they will host a second-round game also. In a perfect scenario, the Bulldogs can be number one in the Super Region (they will need loses by Valdosta State and Lenoir-Rhyne for this to happen). Bowie is not only playing for the CIAA championship and playoff position, but they will look to make a claim for the Black College National Championship.
Albany State. Albany State’s victory over a wounded Fort Valley State did not impress the voters. They remained in the #9 slot. If they win the SIAC Championship Game, they should meet the minimum qualification as a conference champion ranked #9 or higher. But, Albany State must scoreboard watch the Fayetteville-Bowie State game. Along with Shaw and Virginia Union, Albany State is the only HBCU with an RPI over .500. A Fayetteville victory still may put the Broncos ahead of Albany State if the Golden Rams struggle to victory. A loss on Saturday will doom this team for the second year in a row. Last year, the Golden Rams were defeated by the Golden Bears 50-23. Who will be Golden this year?
OUTSIDE, LOOKING IN
Note: The teams listed here must be aware of Delta State. The Versus Sports Simulator (www.compughterratings.com) gives the Statesmen s a 60% chance of defeating the Mississippi College Choctaws on Saturday.
Fayetteville State. The Broncos control their own destiny by winning the CIAA South. A victory over Bowie State in the CIAA Championship Game should be enough to get the Broncos in the playoffs. The victory over a top 5 ranked Bowie will be impressive with the voters. A Fayetteville victory will definitely knock out Virginia State and may cost Albany State if they wind up switching spots in the polls. There is a chance that despite having three teams in the top 10 of the polls this year, the CIAA may have Bowie as their only representative with a Broncos victory.
Miles. Miles’ schedule has hurt them. They have only faced one opponent that was above .500 at the time of the game. Despite three opponents finishing over .500 for the season (Fort Valley State, Missouri S&T, and Kentucky State), only Fort Valley had an in-region record over .500. Miles’ RPI has finally climbed over .400 to .404 with their victory over Tuskegee. A victory over Albany State will improve this rating.The Golden Bears must beat the Golden Rams in a similar fashion to last year and then scoreboard watch to see if Fayetteville State loses. A Broncos win will eliminate any chance that Miles has at getting the #9 slot. A Delta State loss will help open the door for Miles, along with a Bowie State victory.
Virginia State. Virginia State finished second in the CIAA North. Their one loss came to 3rd-ranked Bowie State. Despite being in the top seven, they are not sitting in a good spot with the SIAC not represented in the top 7. Valdosta’s victory over West Florida last weekend was not beneficial for the Trojans. The pollsters screwed this team. They should have been sitting at the critical #6 position. The Trojan’s have an unplanned bye since they will not be competing in the CIAA Championship Game. A bye at this time of the year is beneficial for teams. This could give them an advantage in the first-round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they are not getting in the playoffs without some serious help. First, they must be aware of Delta State sitting directly behind them in the poll. A Delta State victory over Mississippi College might impress the voters enough to move them ahead of the idle Trojans. Second, Miles must defeat Albany State and then the pollsters must not put Miles in the number 9 position. An Albany State victory should leave the Golden Rams in the playoffs. Lastly, Bowie State must defeat Fayetteville State. There is hope, but the chances of Virginia State getting in are slim to none.
Virginia Union. The Panthers fake field goal has Virginia Union out of the playoffs for real. Virginia Union was eliminated in their head-to-head match-up with Virginia State this past weekend. Despite Union’s three losses being to top 10 regional teams (Lenoir Rhyne, Bowie State, Virginia State), they will be sitting at home, licking their wounds. Head Coach Alvin Parker has done a tremendous job turning around the program, but will have to wait until 2020 for an opportunity to make the playoffs.
Super Region 1
West Virginia State. If the Yellow Jackets defeat Notre Dame (OH), they are in. They are currently sitting at #6 in Super Region 1. The strength of the conference has helped West Virginia State. Unfortunately, the Yellow Jackets have not beaten the tough teams in their conference. West Virginia State is on the outside, looking in.
According to our partners at the VERSUS SPORTS SIMULATOR (www.compughterratings.com), here at Saturday’s lines and win probability:
Super Region 1
#3 Notre Dame, OH (-17) at #6 West Virginia State +/- 71 85%
Super Region 2
#1 Valdosta State (-22) at West Georgia +/- 64 90%
#2 Lenoir-Rhyne (-38) at Catawba +/- 60 97%
#3 Bowie State (-12) vs. #10 Fayetteville State +/- 66 78%
#4 Wingate (-15) at Mars Hill +/- 56 62%
Tusculum at #5 Carson-Newman (-22) +/-53 91%
West Alabama at #6 West Florida (-16) +/- 43 83%
#7 Virginia State Idle
#8 Delta State (-4) at Mississippi College +/- 53 60%
Miles at #9 Albany State (-4) +/- 36 62%
DREW’S PROJECTED FINAL RANKINGS (D-II RECORD)
- Valdosta St.*
- Bowie St.*
- West Florida
- Delta St.
- Virginia St.
- Virginia Union
Projected First Round Match-Up
#1 Valdosta State – Bye
West Florida at #2 Lenoir-Rhyne
Carson-Newman at #3 Bowie State
Miles at #4 Wingate