Game #9-034: Kennesaw State at South Carolina State BulldogsNovember 12, 2012 7:30 pm
SHM Memorial Center
Tonight would be the home opener for the South Carolina State Bulldogs against the Kennesaw State Owls. The Bulldogs came in trying to still shake off a very bad end to last season. Kennesaw State has also struggled in the Atlantic Sun since joining Division I. Last season when these teams met in Kennesaw, the game went to double overtime with the Bulldogs narrowly escaping with a victory. After the month of November however, the season began to unravel for SC State. The Bulldogs started the season 4-2, with wins coming over non-Division I Claflin and Webber International as well as Kennesaw and Gardner-Webb. But after that win in Kennesaw Thanksgiving weekend, SCSU went 1-24 the rest of the season, with the lone win coming over Longwood. The Owls finished with an even worse overall record on the year, going 3-28. Neither team here won a conference game during the 2011-12 season. This was a game where the teams would be fighting for respect.
And in Our Game, respect can be hard to fight for even amongst ourselves. When I read message boards from Big South and SoCon schools, you see some complain about guarantee games against non-Division I teams
. But then some fans counter that playing MEAC teams would be even worse. Playing SC State will hurt your RPI, whether you beat them or not. Playing St. Andrews
will do not do anything to change your RPI since according to the RPI those games do not count. This leaves teams in Our Game like SC State in a bad position where few want to schedule them. And while the same holds true with weak schools in other conferences like Kennesaw State, SC State faces a particular challenge as a MEAC team. The first time I went to Orangeburg last year, I advocated for more matchups between HBCUs and other mid-majors
. Some fans of even low-level mid-major teams feel that the MEAC is beneath them, and HBCUs in general. And this same mindset also drives some HBCUs in scheduling mostly either money games or rivalry games.