ASU coach Mike White expects the Rams' remaining two regular seasons games to be "tough."
ALBANY — The Albany State Rams’ fate in the SIAC East Division is right where they want it — completely in their control.
With a 4-1 record in the SIAC, the Rams are in control of their own destiny and need to just win their final two regular season games to represent their division in the inaugural SIAC Championship Game on Nov. 12 in Atlanta.
“We need to win out. That’s how you have to look at it,” ASU quarterback Stanley Jennings said. “That’s our motto, to win out. Because if you win out (and then win the SIAC title game), that’s an automatic playoff bid.”
The winner of each division is decided by the overall SIAC record, and not the divisional record. Albany State and Morehouse both have 4-1 SIAC records in the East Division, and Albany State’s Oct. 15 victory against Morehouse gives the Rams the tie break.
A loss against either Benedict on Saturday or Fort Valley State on Nov. 5 wouldn’t exactly eliminate the Rams, but they would need Morehouse to then drop one of their final two games against Fort Valley State or Kentucky State.
Needless to say, the Rams’ only concern is winning their final two games and keeping Morehouse out of the equation.
With 1-4 SIAC records, Benedict and Clark Atlanta are already eliminated from the East Division race. Fort Valley State (2-3) can still win the division if it wins out and both Albany State and Morehouse lose their final two games.
It’s a two-team race in the West Division. Stillman and Miles College both have 4-1 records in SIAC play and will play today for the West Division crown at 6 p.m. in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Kentucky State (2-3), Tuskegee (2-3) and Lane (1-4) are all eliminated from contention.
HOMECOMING DISTRACTIONS: ASU starting linebacker Josh McMullen’s question that he asked White earlier this week was simple enough.
“He asked me if it was possible for him to be in the (Homecoming) parade,” White said on Tuesday.
The only problem — the Homecoming parade at 9 a.m. is just five hours before the kickoff between the Rams and Benedict College.
“I think that was the first time that anybody had ever asked me a question like that,” White said. “I didn’t even know how to answer. I was like, ‘are you serious.’ This is a star wanting to be in the parade.”
McMullen, a junior from Riverdale who was voted as king of the Healthcare Management Club, smiled on Tuesday when asked about the exchange with his coach. He then agreed that it wouldn’t be the best idea for him to take his seat on the float with an SIAC showdown just hours away.
“Naw, I’m not going to (be in the parade),” he said. “I was voted as king, and they always have to have a representative in the parade. I’m not sure who’s going to (sit in as king).”
From parties nearly every night to convocations early in the day, homecoming distractions are all over the place this week for the Rams.
“There are a lot of distractions out there, but you have to stay focused,” McMullen said. “We have a task at hand. We still have two important games against two good teams (Benedict College and Fort Valley State), and we have to play hard.”
White said that keeping his players focused this week amidst all of the festivities has been a top priority.
“It is tougher than you think,” White said. “There’s a lot of excitement around. Most of the guys’ parents are coming in, and they are going to bring food. They are getting together, so there are parties every night all over everywhere. All of the fraternities and sororities are having different things each night. They are well aware of it, and we are trying to stay in their ear about it.”
Junior Demonte Queen’s response to the distractions has been exactly what White is looking for.
“We have to be ball players and have our minds on the game,” Queen said. “With all of the distractions, I just stay in my room. I focus on the game. After the game is when I have fun.”
Senior running back Darryl Carey agreed with Queen.
“Once you get to practice, it’s all about practice,” Queen said. “Once you get to a meeting, it’s all about the meeting. We know what is at risk, trying to win the (SIAC) championship.”