Braves Looking to Close Gap Between West/East Divisions in Championship Game

By Sedrick Durr

Jackson Advocate Contributing Writer

Since the inaugural SWAC Football Championship Game in 1999, the Western Division has completely muscled its way to conference supremacy. Even with the elimination of Texas Southern’s 11 to 6 victory over Alabama State in 2010 due to NCAA violations, the West still has an 11 to 3 advantage when it comes to winning on the SWAC’s biggest stage. As a result, Alcorn not only has a chance to get a gap closing victory, but the Braves will be the first East team to win the title in seven years should they managed to defeat Southern on Saturday. Jackson State represented the East with a triumph of Grambling in 2007.
A number of scenarios are currently in place that respectively plays in the favor of both teams going into this weekend’s contest, which will take place in Houston. The Braves have defeated the Jaguars the last three contests while scoring at least 50 points on two of those occasions. The Braves are also 18-6 in their last 24 games which is the best record among all conference schools.
As for the Jaguars,9-3 overall and 8-1 in SWAC play, losing a football game has become a distant memory considering they have not fallen in that category since their 56-16 setback against the Braves nearly three months ago. Southern has won seven consecutive games including outlasting archrival Grambling in the Bayou Classic 52-45 last week. The Braves 9-3, 7-2 fell to the G-Men 28-21 on October 11.
Despite losing to the Braves in recent meetings, Southern will also come into NRG Stadium as the defending champion thanks to a 37-24 win over Jackson State in last year’s championship game. Those result also allowed the Jags to avenge a regular season loss to the Tigers in 2013, which is an example of them demonstrating an ability disregard previous results during championship play.
Individually Southern will be the more experienced school when it comes to title contention as they will compete for a fifth time. The Braves will be making its first appearance which leaves Mississippi Valley State as the only program to not play in a SWAC title game.
Overall, the SWAC Championship has been an extremely competitive contest despite the West dominance in victories. Ten of the previous 15 games have been decided by ten points or less. Additionally two others came within 11. The only true lopsided battles on the SWAC gridiron happened when Grambling throttled Alabama A&M 45-6 in 2005 as well as the G-men’s 41-9 win over JSU in 2008.