For most in college football, the spring is an opportunity for additional practices in preparation for the upcoming fall season.
For the SWAC, it’s time to compete for real.
In an unprecedented move made necessary by the spread of COVID-19, the SWAC will kickoff its 2020 fall season this spring, beginning this weekend. SWAC East Division favorites Southern and Alabama State will officially get the spring schedule going on Friday, while most of the remaining league teams will kickoff their season on Saturday.
This spring schedule should be memorable for many reasons, not just the timing. We will have the much anticipated and much hyped SWAC coaching debut of Deion “Prime Time” Sanders at Jackson State. Alcorn State, the perennial SWAC powerhouse program, has opted out of playing this spring which opens up the possibilities for the likes of Southern, Prairie View, Alabama A&M and Alabama State.
The Defender has put together a SWAC primer to be your reference guide throughout the season. Also, for a closer look at Prairie View and Texas Southern this spring, check out DefenderNetwork.com on Friday.
HOW THIS SPRING WILL WORK
Most SWAC teams will play an abbreviated, six-game league-only schedule this spring. The NCAA has granted all student-athletes who participated this academic year an extra year of eligibility.
There will be a SWAC Championship Game on May 1. The Celebration Bowl that pits the SWAC and MEAC champions for the Black National College Championship will not be played this spring.
Defending SWAC champion Alcorn State is the only league school to opt out. Teams that were schedule to play the Braves will be awarded a win by forfeit.
Visiting school bands will not be allowed to perform and neither school will be able to bring bands for the classic games or neutral site games this spring.
PRIME TIME AFFECT
Much of the excitement around this spring in the SWAC can be traced to Jackson State and the Jaguars hiring of NFL legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as head coach.
In his true “Prime Time” aura, Sanders has created excitement not just around JSU’s program but around the SWAC, as well. For proof, just look at the league’s ESPN programming lineup for the spring. Sanders has created a lot of buzz by putting together the best 2021 recruiting class in the FCS and quite possibly the best class of any HBCU program in history. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see most of those players on the field until this upcoming fall schedule, per NCAA guidelines.
SWAC ON ESPN
Feb. 27 2 p.m. Mississippi Valley State at Jackson State ESPN3*
March 6 Noon Jackson State at Grambling State ESPN3*
March 6 TBA Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Southern ESPN3
March 6 7 p.m. Texas Southern at Prairie View A&M ESPN3
March 20 TBA Jackson State at Alabama State ESPN3*
March 20 Noon Alabama A&M at Prairie View A&M ESPN3
March 27 TBA Grambling State at Alabama A&M ESPN3
March 27 TBA Alabama State at Arkansas-Pine Bluff ESPN3
March 28 3 p.m. Prairie View A&M at Jackson State ESPNU
April 3 3 p.m. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Mississippi Valley St ESPN3
April 10 3 p.m. Alabama A&M at Jackson State ESPNU
April 10 7 p.m. Southern at Prairie View A&M ESPNU
April 17 6:30 p.m. Alabama A&M vs Alabama State ESPNU
May 1 3 p.m. Cricket Wireless SWAC Championship ESPNU
*Indicates tape delay games
All Game Times are CST
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pos Player School
QB Aqeel Glass Alabama A&M
DL Jason Dumas Prairie View
LB Keonte Hampton Jackson State
RB Devon Benn Southern
DB Jaylen Harris Prairie View
GAMES TO WATCH
Feb. 26 Southern at Alabama State
March 6 Jackson State at Grambling State
March 6 Texas Southern at Prairie View
March 28 Prairie View at Jackson State
April 17 Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State