Despite its domination, MEAC parity forces Bethune into winner take all

The storyline all year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has been the outsized domination of frontrunner Bethune-Cookman, the championship subdivision’s last standing undefeated team.

There were winning margins of 50 or more. An offense that led in a number of statistical categories. The first 10-win season in school history.

Yet, after all this time, after all of that, this race continues: The MEAC is still going to come down to one game, the Florida Classic against Florida A&M on Saturday. If the Wildcats lose, they will have to share the league crown. Heck, South Carolina State (8-2) is still potentially in the mix for an FCS playoff bid, provided the Bulldogs whip North Carolina A&T handily and then see a series of other at-large bubble teams fall.

Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins tipped his hat to parity.

“I wouldn’t say we have been dominating the league,” he said. “There is some good football played in the MEAC. We have been very fortunate to win 10 games. I am very thankful for that. We are going to try to come in and close out the show, and that will solidify our status in the conference. But I tell you, it has been tough week in and week out.”

Up to and including last week, against one-win Howard.

“They have that awkward offense that can cause you some problems — and they did,” Jenkins said. “We came out in the second half a little flat, but we were able to fight through it — and that is more important than anything else.”

[This week’s Florida Classic will play like first week of the FCS postseason.]

Now everything rides on one final game, on one final victory.

“I am excited about it,” Jenkins said. “I get a chance to coach in one of the most prestigous games in college football. I am honored to be a part of this whole function. l am excited for our community, and they are excited. Having a chance to step into the arena and coach against a legend like Joe Taylor is just an honor.”

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