Is it a new era for Southern?
The Jaguars enjoyed nine years of stability under former coach Dawson Odums, and he left behind a solid program culture. Jason Rollins appears poised to continue the tradition under some tougher circumstances with continuity the theme of his early statements and decisions. Easier said than done. With 25 years in the profession and exuding a youthful, energetic countenance, the early vibes are good, but patience has never been the No. 1 quality of Southern’s fans and the streak of seasons without a SWAC title has grown to seven.
Can Grambling bounce back?
The 49-7 Bayou Classic rout might not have been rock bottom for the Tiger faithful, but it was within shouting distance. Grambling’s proud program deserves some latitude for the 0-4, pandemic-wracked finish to the spring season that resulted in almost as many postponements/cancellations (three) as games played. Injuries and attrition on the roster and coaching staff made it worse. Coach Broderick Fobbs will try to hit the reset button under new athletic director and former Southern administrator Dr. Trayvean Scott.
Will Alcorn State moves shift balance of power?
We’ll soon see if Alcorn’s decision to skip the spring season will pay off, but the Braves resurface in the West Division where they now have to get past Southern and Grambling just to make the championship game. The Braves have only three league games at home and Florida A&M is in the mix if they do win the division. The Braves lost defensive ace DB Qwyenterio Cole to Louisville, but 2019 SWAC offensive Player of the Year, Felix Harper, is back at quarterback.
Can Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass lead the Bulldogs to a repeat title?
The Hornets had been knocking on the door and took advantage of Alcorn State’s absence to break the Braves’ six-season stranglehold on the East Division and win its first SWAC title since 2006. Glass, the HBCU Player of the Year, was a huge part of that, throwing for 1,355 yards and 16 TDs in four games after going for 3,600 yards and 32 scores in the 2019 season. He’s got a deep corps of receivers back but will need more defensive help in a 10-game season.
What will Year 2 bring for Jackson State coach Deion Sanders?
The results were mixed for the Tigers’ superstar coach, who made a media splash but ended the season with three consecutive losses. The offense will be in the hands of Sanders’ son, Shedeur, whose presence sent returning spring starting QB Jalon Jones and backup Quincy Casey to the transfer portal. It won’t take long to find out as the Tigers open the season at Florida A&M Sept. 5, and also play road games at reigning SWAC champion Alabama A&M and Southern.