Offensive Player of the Week – Travis Davidson (RB, Morgan State). Very difficult choice between the top two running backs and unlikely to make me popular with the hometown fans. Davidson’s numbers were equal to Norfolk State’s Brandon Riddick’s, but they came against a I-A opponent in Buffalo. He scored one fewer touchdown but had more total offense. Also, he rushed for 100 yards in the first half when it was still reasonably close, so it wasn't like it was all garbage time. Runner-ups Riddick (RB, Norfolk State) and Travis Harvey (WR, Florida A&M).
Defensive Player of the Week – Dion Hanks (DB, Bethune-Cookman) had two interceptions in Bethune-Cookman's win over South Carolina State, a victory that likely made the Wildcats the favorites to win the MEAC. Runner-ups (Julien David, Howard, DB) and Keenan Lambert (NSU, DB).
Special Teams Player of the Week – Keith Johnson (PR, Norfolk State) Returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown, a huge boost for NSU in a win over Liberty. Runner-ups Tyrone Bouie (DB, Bethune-Cookman) and Earvin Gonzalez (K, Morgan State).
MEAC Power Poll
1. Bethune-Cookman – My head says Norfolk State’s win over Liberty was the most impressive win for either team, but my gut tells me the Wildcats will win the MEAC. They are clearly in the best position, with one of their toughest games in the rear-view mirror, last week's 27-14 win over South Carolina State. Buthune faces Norfolk State at home. The Wildcats might not be the best team, but they’ve taken the upper-hand in the conference. Norfolk State's defense has been better, but while Bethune-Cookman has some uncertainty at quarterback, the Wildcats have flashed a more effective passing game. Writers love offense. And quarterbacks. Previously 2.
2. Norfolk State – The lack of a passing game still concerns me over the long run, but if the Spartans can run, run and run some more on Liberty, they can run on most I-AA teams. Liberty should have beaten Wake Forest in its opener. The Demon Deacons beat North Carolina over the weekend. The Spartans beat Liberty 31-24. So, if I remember my algebra correctly and apply the transitive property. .... I’m just sayin’. I really wanted to put the Spartans at 1A, but that would be a cop-out. An impressive effort from either NSU or BCU would help me make up my mind. Previously 3.
3. South Carolina State – Head coach Buddy Pough wondered in the preseason if the Bulldogs have been caught by the rest of the MEAC. After the 27-14 loss to Bethune, in which the Wildcats spotted the Bulldogs 14 points, the answer is yes. It seems very strange for a South Carolina State team to make this many miscues. The Bulldogs, the powers in the conference in recent years, now face an uphill climb to get back into the title picture and will need to beat the Spartans, then get help from NSU against Bethune in hopes of forcing a three-way tie. Previously 1.
4. Florida A&M – The Rattlers scored a touchdown during a 69-13 loss before Oklahoma put in their full complement of back-ups, third-teamers and practice squad players. That’s a positive sign, and about as much encouragement as an FCS team can get from a game against a national power. Previously 4.
5. North Carolina A&T – The Aggies beat an overmatched Division II West Virginia State team 77-0. I couldn’t find a write-up. I’m thankful. Beating anyone 77-0 is impressive. Almost jumped the Aggies above FAMU. Previously 5.
6. Howard – The Bison defense should feel pretty good about allowing just 26 points in a shutout loss to Rutgers, a team that should have been a physical mismatch. Expect Howard to be a tougher-than-usual test for Norfolk State this week. Star linebacker Keith Pough returned after the NCAA ruled him ineligible for Howard’s opener. Quarterback Greg McGhee is still waiting. Previously 7.
7. Delaware State – Moving the ball on Delaware in its second game means the Hornets are much-improved from last season, adding greatly to the MEAC’s depth this year. The 38-14 loss might not look great, but it’s significantly better than Delaware State managed last year. Previously 9.
8. Morgan State – Like Delaware State, the Bears put up some points against a I-A opponent, a group that physically outclasses them, losing 56-34 to Buffalo. Like Delaware State, the result would have been much worse last year. The fifth through ninth teams in the league are much better than last year, a good sign for the MEAC. Previously 8.
9. Hampton – It’s hard to put the Pirates this low based on their history, but they were blown out by Old Dominion 45-7, worse than either of the teams above them despite the fact that those games were against I-A teams and this game got called early due to a lightning strike. Head coach Donovan Rose is working with a lame-duck contract, his team faces a brutal early schedule and plays just 10 games because of poor work by the administration. Bad, bad bad. Previously 6.
10. North Carolina Central – Without these bottom two, I’d actually be pretty impressed with the conference this year, likely one of the most competitive league’s the MEAC has ever put together. Sadly, instead of the solid play from the top group, this is what the MEAC has become known for. No playoff wins and 34-14 loss to teams like Elon. Previously 10.
11. Savannah State – Well, the New York Times decided to write about a MEAC team. Great news for the conference, right? Well, not when you’re getting demolished 55-0 and the game is so lopsided that the officials resorted to high school rules to get the game over with and salvage one team's pride. Yes, the Tigers are that bad. Oh, guess who Norfolk State scheduled for Homecoming? Previously 11.