Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This could very well be the year for the Wildcats. Or the Eagles, or the Aggies, even the Rattlers.
It could be the year for any Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference team, really. Not just to win the league championship and earn a berth to the FCS playoffs. This could be the year - the first in over a decade - the MEAC could produce a contender.
For a conference that hasn't had a national playoff win since 1999, this year promises to be loaded with talent and depth.
Bethune-Cookman has reigned over the league in two of the past three seasons, and has the depth in 2013 to return to the playoffs. Led by all-conference preseason selections Isidore Jackson and Jarkevis Fields, the Wildcats come into this season loaded with leadership and playmakers.
Coach Brian Jenkins enters his fourth year with B-CU after having posted a perfect 8-0 conference record in 2012 for the first time. But he and his squad will certainly be challenged this upcoming season for the conference crown, as they have an enormous target on their backs.
Although North Carolina Central lost some key components, the Eagles come back reloaded with potential playmakers and a stud linebacker in Tazmon Foster. Last season was the first winning campaign for NCCU in five years, and the Eagles are only on the upswing.
Even a program like Florida A&M, which finished last season with a 4-4 conference record, has serious potential with an all-conference preseason selection quarterback, running back and wide receiver, among others.
MEAC teams will face stiff non-conference opponents in the first half of the year, including FBS matchups against Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Miami (Fla.), and Rutgers.
There doesn't appear to be much parity in the MEAC, and because of that, the conference winner should be battle-tested and ready for national competition come November.
Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2013 MEAC race.
The Sports Network's predicted order of finish:
2. North Carolina Central
3. North Carolina A&T
4. South Carolina State
5. Norfolk State
6. Florida A&M
9. Delaware State
10. Morgan State
11. Savannah State