By Alvin Hollins
College Sports Journal
TALLAHASSEE, FL. — The HBCU programs in FCS got off to a relatively rough start in the opening weekend of the 2013 college football season, as only five teams came up on the winning side.
MEAC ROUNDUP (2-7): It wasn’t until the Sunday two-step involving the league’s Sunshine State programs – Florida A&M, and defending champion Bethune-Cookman – that the MEAC saw the positive side of the ledger….
Bethune-Cookman, should remain firmly in the FCS Top 25 after prevailing over Ohio Valley contender Tennessee State, 12-9 in Nashville…. FAMU, under new head coach Earl Holmes, had a much easier time in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, bowling past Mississippi Valley, 27-10, to give the MEAC’ its’ sixth straight win in the event, extending the league’s stranglehold over the SWAC in the event to 7-2….
The rest of the action between Thursday and Saturday ran the range between the near miss (Eastern Michigan 34, Howard 24 — Howard led 24-21 in the third period; Army 28, Morgan State 12; Coastal Carolina 27, South Carolina State 20), and the runaway (Georgia Southern 77, Savannah State 9; Duke 45, North Carolina Central 0)… Maine bested Norfolk State, 23-6 at Norfolk, Va., in the remaining game of opening weekend.
SWAC ROUNDUP (3-4): The SWAC’s opening weekend schedule featured a mix of FBS and FCS opposition, and also featured a pair of conference openers as well….
The FBS guarantee games went as expected with Houston routing Southern, 62-13, Tulane pulling away in the second half to subdue Jackson State, 34-7, while Arkansas State breezed past SWAC champ Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 62-11.
Non-conference bouts saw Alabama State drop a 24-22 heartbreaker at Jacksonville (Ala.) State, while Alcorn State bowled past NAIA Edward Waters, 63-12.
League openers featured Prairie View winning over Texas Southern, 37-13, and Alabama A&M handing Grambling a 23-6 setback, the Tigers’ 11th loss in their last 12 games since winning the 2011 SWAC title game.
WHAT’S ON TAP: Week Two in the MEAC will see all 11 squads in action, with the key games to watch being Tennessee State at FAMU; North Carolina A&T at Appalachian State; Hampton at William and Mary, and Delaware State at Delaware.