The football team did not have much hope for the year starting out 0-3. Anyone who knows football knows that every game is crucial, and that even if you lose one game, your chances of winning conference drop significantly.
This year has been a little wild for the Great American Conference (GAC). Upsets and injuries have affected each team in some form or fashion and Harding football has not been immune to either of those factors this season.
That is the beauty of sports: anything is possible. Harding looked down and out, but since it is November, they are in contention for splitting a regular season conference title.
Harding football had never lost to Southern Nazarene University until this year. Since 2012, Harding has beaten SNU with a surplus of at least 30 points, with two separate shut outs in 2014 and 2015.
Losing to SNU with a minute left on the clock was depleting. Not only was it a loss, but a one-point loss when Harding was the favorite to win. That was back in September. Since then, the Bisons have been on 6-0 win streak.
November is here, and we are now 6-3 and tied for third place with only Arkansas Tech and Ouachita Baptist Universities ahead of us at 7-2.
Because we beat Ouachita, this means we still have a shot at a combined conference title. If Harding wins and beats Tech their last game, they will move to 8-3 and Tech will fall to either 8-3 or 7-4.
Ouachita has only lost to Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU) (35-41) and Harding (28-31). Harding beat SEOSU (42-3).
What essentially hurt Harding the most was their first loss against Henderson State University (HSU). is now 5-4. Arkansas Tech beat them handedly (26-3). If Harding had beat HSU, they would now be 7-2 with better wins than Ouachita, and would therefore be in first place.
Here we are, though, two games left in the regular season and a conference championship on the line. It will not be easy for anyone this week.
Tech (7-2) is playing SEOSU (6-3) in Russellville, Arkansas. Ouachita (7-2) is playing Southern Arkansas (6-3) in El Dorado, Arkansas.
Harding (6-3) is playing East Central (2-7) in Searcy. Did I mention that ECU beat Henderson State (24-16)? Although I would never count ECU out of the game, I think Harding has the edge here.
The game, on Senior day, will be played in Searcy. While Harding essentially has an easier matchup than the teams at the top, it is just where they need to be.
Harding needs the confidence for going in the last two games of the season. Riding their current six-game win streak, they have learned how to truly play like a team and how to overcome adversity.
After this week, if SEOSU, Southern Arkansas and Harding win, the GAC will have five teams tied for first place going in to the final week of the regular season. Talk about a race to the finish line.
I have no idea what is going to happen or how Harding will end up. Until the clock reaches zero in the fourth quarter Saturday night, neither does anyone else. That is the magic behind college football in November.