Notebook: Skyhawks proving they belong at No .1

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

I will be the first to admit that I waited a long time, far too long, before taking Tennessee-Martin seriously as a contender in the OVC.

But I am now here, nine weeks into the football season, to tell you all that I was wrong and I am sorry. The Skyhawks (6-3, 5-1 OVC) still sit in first place in the conference and are coming off of a 22-17 win over Jacksonville State (6-4, 3-3 OVC).

So yes, Tennessee-Martin is not only good, but is now without argument the team to be chasing in the OVC. For weeks I discredited their wins and expected them to regress, but here they are proving me, and probably a lot of other people wrong.

But who could blame me? The Skyhawks were 2-6 in OVC play last season and really gave no one a lot of hope for optimism headed into this season. But we are now in November and Tennessee-Martin is still in first place. Hats off to them.

Tennessee-Martin however has its biggest game of the season this weekend when it squares off against second-place Austin Peay (6-3, 4-1 OVC). The game could very well decide the fate of the OVC because Austin Peay is coming off a win against Eastern Kentucky (5-4, 3-2 OVC) and Austin Peay is also the only team to have beaten Southeast Missouri (6-3, 4-1 OVC), who is the only team to have beat Tennessee-Martin this season.

If Tennessee-Martin beats Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri beats Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, then Southeast Missouri would move into first-place in the OVC. But, if Austin Peay wins then it would move into first-place all by themselves.

It seems like almost a sure thing that Jacksonville State will not be the conference champions for a fifth year in a row. The question now is who will take control of their spot.

JJ’s Power Rankings

1. Tennessee-Martin (6-3, 5-1)

2. Austin Peay (6-3, 4-1)

3. Southeast Missouri (6-3, 4-1)

4. Eastern Kentucky (5-4, 3-2)

5. Jacksonville State (6-4, 3-3)

6. Tennessee Tech (5-4, 2-3)

7. Murray State (4-6, 2-4)

8. Tennessee State (2-7, 1-4)

9. Eastern (0-9, 0-5)

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]