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A conference with the top-to-bottom depth of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) delivers a schedule that, predictably, features outstanding matchups throughout the fall.
The SIAC helps usher in the 2019 college football season in Week 0, and from there, the ensuing 10 weeks translate to a white-knuckle race to the playoffs.
Here's a list of league games that that already stand out.
Miles at Fort Valley State | Fort Valley, Ga. | Saturday, September 7 @ 6 pm EST
Defending SIAC Champions, Miles Golden Bears, enjoyed a turn-around 2018 season that ranks among the program’s very best in history. With offensive lineman Aaron Scroggins and linebacker and Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Austin Stephens both back in the mix, the Golden Bears are looking to build on last year’s run, which included an upset win over Albany State during the championship game.
For the Wildcats, the season-opener is an opportunity to make a statement after a promising 21-19 road win over the Golden Bears last season.
Valdosta State at Albany State | Albany, Ga. | Saturday, September 7 @ 7 pm EST
GSC member Valdosta State has opened its campaign against Albany State for the past five seasons as the Blazers lead the series. Albany seeks its second-ever win against the Division II defending champions, with hopes of spoiling Gary Goff’s debut as Blazers’ head coach.
Tuskegee at Kentucky State |Frankfurt, KY | Saturday, September 14 @ 4 pm EST
The Western Division is kicking the season into high gear as these two west foes go head-to-head. With two wins under their belt in the eight-year series, the Thorobreds are looking at a clean slate under first-year head coach, Charlie Jackson. Kentucky State face seven-time conference champion, Tuskegee with Coach Willie Slater entering his 13th season with the Golden Tigers.
Johnson C. Smith at Benedict | Columbia, S.C. | Saturday, September 14 @ 6 pm EST
Last season, Benedict found themselves in the shuffle for the east division title, but it slipped away after a few setbacks. With a longstanding matchup, dating back to 1963, the Tigers look to roll over Johnson C. Smith once again and even the score against the Golden Bulls.
Central State at Clark Atlanta | Atlanta, Ga. | Saturday, September 21 @ 1 pm EST
The Marauders proved more than capable of hanging with SIAC competition when it upset Tuskegee in the final games last season. Central State’s linebacker Kailen Abrams was a Don Hansen All-American and presents a stiff challenge as Tim Bowens looks to usher in a new era with the Panthers.
Edward Waters at Lane | Jackson, TN | Saturday, September 21 @ 2 pm CST
Lions, Tigers, and Dragons? As Edward Waters announced their intention to join the league and Lane makes some off-season adjustments from last season, both teams have something to prove. This is the first matchup of many for the Tigers and Dragons.
Benedict vs. Fort Valley State | Greenville, S.C. | Saturday, September 28 @ 3 pm EST
A fumbled punt recovery was the Tigers’ saving grace after rallying from a 20-14 deficit against the Wildcats last season. Both the Tigers and Wildcats were in the shuffle for the eastern division title but look to top the division this upcoming season.
Savannah State at Morehouse | Atlanta, Ga. | Saturday, September 28 @ 6 pm EST
Led by head coach Shawn Quinn, the Tigers look to make a statement this season against its SIAC conference opponents; sending a message of what’s to come. The Maroon Tigers, who won the most games in a season since 2010, went into the offseason with plenty of positive momentum and hope for a return to contention in 2019.
Clark Atlanta at Miles | Fairfield, Ala. | Saturday, October 5 @ 4 pm CST
No game in the final month was more indicative of the turnaround than a 28-27 upset of Clark Atlanta. On the game's final play, Smith threw a pass in the end zone that was tipped by a CAU defender and fell into Jacob's hands for the game-tying touchdown as the clock went to zero. Miles’ Spradlin then hit the game-winning extra point to give Miles the win.
Don’t think that single digit won’t weigh on the returning players’ minds when Miles hosts the Panthers almost a full year later.
Tuskegee at Albany State | Albany, Ga. | Saturday, October 5 @ 5 pm EST
One of the most unique rivalries in the SIAC goes to the winner of the White Water Classic. For the past five seasons, the rivalry kicked off in Phenix City; this year, it will return to South Georgia.
Lane at Albany State | Albany, Ga. | Saturday, October 12 @ 2 pm EST
Albany State narrowly escaped the Dragons in last season’s conference opener between the two teams, 14-7.
Miles at Benedict | Columbia, S.C. | Saturday, October 12 @ 2 pm EST
The juggernaut of the west, Miles is on an historic tear, having won the conference championship title, the third for the Golden Bears (5-6) under coach Reginald Ruffin. Benedict welcomes the Golden Bears to BC country for the first time since 2014.
Savannah State at Clark Atlanta | Atlanta, Ga. | Saturday, October 19 @ 2 pm EST
The Tim Bowens era officially begins at Clark Atlanta with an outstanding matchup on one of the biggest stages of the year: homecoming. Savannah State seeks its second-ever win against the Panthers since 2008, with hopes of spoiling Coach Bowens’ debut as Panthers’ head coach and yet another homecoming.
Kentucky State at Lane | Jackson, TN | Saturday, October 19 @ 2 pm CST
Lane successfully pulled Kentucky State into a defensive struggle in last season’s matchup at the Stadium of Champions, but an interception returned for 100 yards helped Lane escape. The Thorobreds are looking to even the score of the nine-year matchup.
Miles at Central State | Wilberforce, OH | Saturday, October 26 @ 1 pm EST
Last season, this was the Golden Bears’ season-defining win after recording the first 31 points of the game and earning first victory of the season. The tables are now turned as the Marauders look to avenge themselves in front of their home crowd.
Albany State at Savannah State | Savannah, Ga. | Saturday, October 26 @ 3 pm EST
After a decade and a half with Coach Mike White leading the rivalry, head coach Gabe Giardina looks to usher in a new era in this gridiron. The two South Georgia teams last matchup was in 2011 as the Golden Rams escaped with a 37-34 victory. Two new coaches, two new teams, same gridiron rivalry. This should be electric.
This will mark the 62nd meeting between the schools.
Morehouse at Albany State | Albany, Ga. | Saturday, November 2 @ 2 pm EST
The Maroon Tigers are still feeling the sting from last year’s matchup as the Golden Rams handed Morehouse their first loss of the season after a powerful start.
Albany State aims for their ninth appearance in the championship game this season, while Morehouse looks to regain traction and earn the top spot in the eastern division.
Kentucky State at Miles | Fairfield, Ala. | Saturday, November 2 @ 6 pm CST
Over a nine-year span, the Thorobreds and Golden Bears have gone head to head, but there can only be one winner. Reginald Ruffin has been at the helm of this Golden Bears team and has only dropped one contest against Kentucky State in 2016. The difference this year is Charlie Jackson, who is in his first year at Kentucky State and looking to make a statement.
Benedict at Lane | Jackson, TN | Saturday, November 9 @ 2 pm CST
Benedict’s big back offense put the exclamation point on a dazzling defensive effort from the Tigers in last season’s matchup between the two teams.
Clark Atlanta at Morehouse | Atlanta, Ga. | Saturday, November 9 @ 2 pm EST
This backyard rivalry is back! Morehouse’s electric offense wasn’t enough in last season’s meeting with Clark Atlanta as the Panther held them to 13 points. Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Santo Dunn is one of the Maroon Tigers back from that unit, which could shape up as the SIAC’s toughest in 2019.