South Carolina State @ Morgan State
by, 11-11-2010 at 07:07 PM (2017 Views)
BALTIMORE, Md. — For those of us who cover the Football Championship Subdivision, Saturday's are not enough.
There is something special about covering a game on a Thursday night that gets you gets you a little more revved up for the games to come on Saturday.
I am sitting in the press box of Hughes Stadium, on the campus of Morgan State University (4-5, 3-3) for the Bears' game with No. 15-ranked South Carolina State 7-2, 5-1) tonight.
This quaint facility may seat only 10,000 fans, but that doesn't keep it from being one of the prettiest stadiums in America.
Hughes Stadium, with beautiful rock work accentuating the stands, fits in nicely with the architecture of this old, but picturesque campus on the east side of the city.
For those of you unable to be here in person, the game is being televised nationally tonight on ESPNU.
"It's football weather tonight," said Morgan State radio broadcaster Rob Long, noting the crisp, fall weather on a Veteran's Day evening.
The smell of wood wafted through the air on my arrival, making me immediately think of barbecue.
South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough didn't have food on his mind as he watched his team prepare before the game.
Pough was keenly aware this week of the importance of Thursday's nationally-televised game.
"I think we need to go in there and play well, especially in front of a national audience," Pough told Thomas Grant of the Orangeburg Times & Democrat. "I think a lot of (FCS playoff) committee members will kind of look at the game and see if we deserve to go."
It doesn't matter that the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in FCS in total defense, or that this is a squad that has won back-to-back Mid-Eastern Athletic Association.
It also doesn't seem to matter that South Carolina State has taken FCS powerhouse Appalachian State to the wire in the past two playoffs.
Though the Bulldogs are a team that no coach in FCS wants to face in the early rounds of the NCAA Division I Championships, many who follow this subdivision seem to think that two losses — to defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech and MEAC leader Bethune-Cookman — should be enough to keep SCSU out of the playoffs this year.
People like to point to South Carolina State's strength of schedule when putting down the Bulldogs, but there isn't much Pough and his team can do about who they play at this point.
But if you use the eye test, particularly by watching the South Carolina State defense, you see a team that belongs in the playoffs.
Pough can just hope that enough committee members come away with the same impression when they watch tonight.