There’s a reason why they don’t make gambling odds for the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
If you were to have set lines for the four SWAC games this weekend, it would have gone something like this:
And all of those lines would have been way off.
The Bulldogs lost to Alcorn 21-20 despite out-gaining the Braves 406-211, thanks in part to Mason throwing his first two interceptions of the year, including one that was returned 66 yards for a score.
After winning their last two games by a combined score of 99-14, the Hornets stumbled in a 37-34 loss to JSU. Despite Crowell running for 149 yards last week — more than he ever did in his eye-opening freshman campaign at Georgia — he only got 13 carries, which he turned into an average of 4.9 yards.
The Delta Devils, the league’s worst passing team, hit touchdown strikes of 65, 34 and 51 yards in a stunning 45-21 smackdown of Grambling, making this the first season since 1984 that they’ve beaten Southern and Grambling in the same year. The brightest spot of the Valley offense — Brandon Stansell, the conference’s third-leading rusher — ran for only 6 yards. Backup quarterback Garrick Jones, who had 92 rushing yards on the year, notched touchdown scampers of 70 and 43 yards.
And the Jaguars, who had gone 0-2 as the favorites this season, trounced Texas Southern 34-7, jumping out to a 20-0 halftime lead after being outscored by a combined total of 51-27 in the first half of their previous five games.
Point being, there’s really no way to predict what will happen in this conference. It’s just s-wacky.
And that’s great news for Southern, even though none of those other three results were of direct benefit.
It’s always nice for SU to see Grambling lose, but at 0-6 overall and 0-5 in SWAC play, the Tigers are all but out of the title race. The other two Western Division competitors, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-2, 3-1) and Prairie View (1-5, 1-3), were idle, meaning that the Jaguars’ matchup with UAPB next Saturday will have the division lead on the line.
And even though Southern will go into that one as the underdog, it’s pretty obvious that predictions don’t count for much in the SWAC.
The league is wide open, and despite some of the Jaguars’ struggles (like having a coach fired and losing to Valley and Alcorn for the first time since 2005), they are very much in the thick of it.
Anything — from losing out to winning out — could happen from here.
You can bet on that.
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