We all knew this day would come. With FAMU & BCU joining the SWAC and all but destined to be placed in the SWAC East, someone was going to have to move west. We have that answer now as the Six-Time SWAC East Champions and The (queue Paul Heyman Voice) Reigning Two Time Defending SWAC Champion, The Alcorn State Braves are officially in the SWAC West Division. So how will this move impact the SWAC?
A New SWAC East Champion Will be Crowned
Alcorn has owned the SWAC East the last six years and if not for the Coronavirus, the Braves were hungry for a seventh straight SWAC East Title. Assuming we don’t play football in the Spring, a new SWAC East Champion will be crowned when SWAC Play begins in 2021. Will it be one of the former MEAC teams or will JSU, Alabama St, or Alabama A&M rise up. I would love for my Devils to make some noise, but we are definitely a longshot. One thing for sure, the Braves stranglehold on the SWAC East in football has ended. I personally would have liked to see the Braves stay in the East until they were dethroned, but conference expansion and realignment took care of that.
The Wild Wild and Now Top Heavy, West
The 2019 SWAC Championship game opponents are now in the same division. Southern and Alcorn have played each other four times over the past two years, so a third Championship meeting between these two rivals is now out of the question. Alcorn had an easier path in the SWAC East. The road to the SWAC Championship game is now a tougher mountain for the Braves to climb. You now have Alcorn, Southern, Grambling, PVAMU, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and Texas Southern in the west. Can Alcorn complete the SWAC West gauntlet and claim its first SWAC West Title? Southern and Grambling have been the cream of the crop of the west so I am sure they will want to welcome the Braves by handing them a friendly loss in 2021
The SWAC is built off of rivalries. Now that Alcorn is in the SWAC West, the annual Capital City Classic or Soul Bowl can no longer determine the SWAC East Champion and the game will no longer count as a division game. Will the Braves and Tigers still play every year? I am sure the SWAC will find a way to keep Alcorn State vs Jackson State on the yearly SWAC Schedule. Adding FAMU and BCU to the SWAC will definitely create some new rivalries. The Rattlers already have a long-standing rivalry that was restarted with Southern last year. Time will tell who other than BCU will become an East rival of the Rattlers as coach Willie Simmons comes back to the SWAC after stints on the staff at Alcorn and the Head Coach of PVAMU. BCU has also owned the Rattlers as of late. Jackson State is now in another coaching search and the Alabama teams were primed to challenge Alcorn in the SWAC East. We will have to wait until 2021 to see how the SWAC’s Conference changes truly affect each team and fanbase.
Like I said earlier, I wish Alcorn could stay in the SWAC East until someone dethrones them. I will not get my wish. I think when SWAC Football starts in 2021 we will have some exciting games and definitely a new pairing in the SWAC Conference Championship Game. The SWAC is now stronger overall compared to the MEAC. Commissioner McClelland has been playing chess making amazing moves to improve the SWAC's exposure and pedigree. The SWAC is now primed to have the biggest and brightest spotlight for HBCU Football. Who will win the SWAC Football Championship in 2021? Your guess is as good as mine.