Florida A&M has just one loss to FBS University of North Carolina and one loss to SWAC leader Jackson State in the FCS. The Rattlers have won six straight, including one over a Division II (Albany State) and one MEAC school (South Carolina State). The Rattlers now sit in second place in the Eastern Division with a 4-1 record.
The next three weeks will undoubtedly define the Rattlers’ season. It begins on November 5th in Tallahassee, Fla. at Bragg Stadium, FAMU will host the Southern University Jaguars. Coming off a disappointing 35-0 loss against the Jackson State Tigers, the Jaguars are reeling from a wire-to-wire loss to the Rattlers in Baton Rouge last season. FAMU was able to score a field goal on about six occasions due to SU penalties. Undoubtedly, the Jaguars still have a sour taste in their mouths after losses to the Rattlers in 2019 in Tallahassee and last year’s home loss.
Three tough SWAC opponents remain for Florida A&M
The following week, the Rattlers will have to travel to Montgomery, AL to face the Hornets of Alabama State. ASU took home the Magic City Classic title from a defensive stand against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. After trailing AAMU 14-3 at halftime, the Hornets scored 21 points in the second half and only gave up a field goal to win. Typical of the close race in the SWAC East Division, the Hornets will take on the B-CU Wildcats in Daytona next week.
The following week, the Rattlers will face the Wildcats in the Florida Blue Florida Classic. While Bethune-Cookman is just 2-6 overall coming off a 58-48 shootout loss against the Prairie View Panthers, the Wildcats are a dangerous opponent for any team they face. Armed with former JSU quarterback Jalen Jones, B-CU is a wild team. The defense is one of the hardest hitting teams in the SWAC. With all that said, if one thing is certain about Florida A&M vs B-CU, it’s that records don’t matter. This game will be a dogfight as it is one of the fiercest rivalries in all of college football.
At this point, with Jackson State rolling through the conference as it has all season and facing Texas Southern (4-4), Alabama A&M (3-5) and Alcorn State (3-5), they will likely face the easiest remaining schedule in the SWAC facing teams with a combined 10-14 record in 2022. That leaves the Tigers pretty much on their own for the SWAC Championship and Celebration Bowl.
With that scenario practically set in stone, FAMU must once again try to present the NCAA with a shot at the FCS Playoffs, and it will likely be more difficult this year.
Last year’s trip to Southeast Louisiana was capped by a one-point loss to conference champion Jackson State. This season will require something special because a 59-3 loss to JSU to start the season won’t look so positive.
In short, the Rattlers will need to put up impressive offensive numbers to impress the voters. A major part of at-large bids to the NCAA FCS playoffs is evaluating how well the teams are playing. The Rattlers have wins this season, but they’re likely blue-collar wins, as none of the FCS teams they’ve beaten have winning records. That won’t interest the voters.
Florida A&M not only needs to win three games in a row, but they need to make a statement in the process. And it will probably require a bit of luck.