Saturday, July 15, 2017

SWAC West Division is loaded again

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- – If Southwestern Athletic Conference member Prairie View A&M played in the East Division instead of the West Division, it would have won the title by two games last year.

Instead the Panthers finished as the third-place team in the West by two games.

Sure, the large FCS conferences like CAA Football, the Big Sky and the Missouri Valley are stuffed with depth, but the West Division also should be viewed as a gauntlet. It’s only five teams deep but boasts the likes of defending SWAC champion Grambling State, Southern and Prairie View, a trio that went a combined 24-3 in conference games, and perfect against the East.

Those three teams were installed in that order in the SWAC’s preseason poll on Friday. Over in the East, Alcorn State was favored to win its fourth straight division title.

Incredibly, Grambling (11-1, a second straight 9-0 in the SWAC), Southern (8-3, 8-1) and Prairie View (7-4, 7-2) combined for fewer losses than what Alcorn State (5-6, 5-4) suffered while winning the East under first-year coach Fred McNair. Grambling, under coach Broderick Fobbs, went on to beat Alcorn in the SWAC Championship Game and then topped Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ North Carolina Central in the second annual Air Force Celebration Bowl to be crowned as the black college football national champion.


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