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BASN’S HBCU DESK WITH TEEMACK, VOL.II
BASN’S HBCU DESK
By Tony McClean, Editor – in – Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN): Webster’s Dictionary defines the word rivalry as “a state or situation in which people or groups are competing against each other”. In sports terms, a rivalry is an intense competition between athletic teams or athletes. This pressure of competition is felt by players, coaches, management, and most importantly — the fans.
While we’re still knee deep in the non-conference portion of most team schedules, this weekend features a pair of historic rivalries that will have a big bearing on who wins what later this year. One match up is a intense non-conference battle that has national implications throughout two conferences.
The 25th anniversary edition of the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis will again match Jackson State against Tennessee State. Routinely one of the most attended games in all of college football, this year should be no different as both Tiger squads enter from completely different perspectives.
First-year head coach Harold Jackson is attempting to give JSU its first 3-0 start since 2011. The Tigers finished the season with a 9-2 mark and a share of the Eastern Division crown. It was also JSU’s last win in the Classic as they outlasted TSU 35-29. They’ll enter the game with the SWAC’s leading defense — allowing only two touchdowns in their first two games.
After opening the season with a rousing 58-6 win over Edward Waters, Tennessee State fell last week to another member of the SWAC. TSU fell behind 24-2 early at Alabama State. The Tigers rallied, but came up short as the Hornets held on to a 27-21 victory. TSU holds a 13-9 edge in their all-time series against JSU.
Last year, JSU committed six turnovers leading to 13 points in TSU’s 26-16 victory.
THE ROAD TO THE SIAC CROWN
Since the 2000 season, the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee and the Golden Rams of Albany State have either shared or won the SIAC Football Championship outright. The lone exception came in 2011 when Miles College took home the title. Considering that the league coaches have tabbed both teams to win their respective divisions, it’s safe to say that the road to another SIAC crown in 2014 will likely be paved in some form of gold.
One major change in this year’s match up is the venue. The Tigers moved the scheduled home contest against the Rams to the newly renovated Garrett-Harrison Stadium in Phenix City, Alabama. The contest — in which Tuskegee leads the all-time series at 20-19-1 — has now been dubbed as the White Water Classic.
One other change entering this year’s contest is that both teams come into the game without a win. In a pair of non-conference games, Tuskegee fell to Alabama A&M in the Tigers’ home opener while Albany State was dominated by Valdosta State 38-10 on the road. In last year’s contest, the Golden Tigers outlasted the Golden Rams 19-13 at Albany.
OTHER KEY GAMES
WINSTON-SALEM STATE (1-0) at VALDOSTA STATE (1-0)
Fresh off of avenging one of their two losses last season, WSSU looks to get an even bitter taste out of their mouths. Two years ago, these two schools met in the Division II Championship Game with the Blazers coming away with a convincing 35-7 thumping against the Rams. Needless to say, this game has been marked on WSSU’s calendar for quite a while. The Rams looked dominant on both sides of the line in their 38-7 dismantling of UNC Pembroke Saturday. In their season opener, VSU defeated Albany State 38-10 by forcing five turnovers, three of which the Blazer offense turned into touchdowns.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE (1-1) at ALABAMA STATE (1-1)
This looks to be an early conference litmus test for two teams who head into this game going in different directions. After being thoroughly being dominated by Sam Houston State (50-21) in their opener, the Hornets bounced back with the aforementioned victory against Tennessee State. As for the Delta Devils, they’re looking to recover from a 62-0 shutout at the hands of Illinois State after opening the season with a 32-7 victory against the University of Faith. ASU leads the all-time series 24-15-1 with Hornet head coach Reggie Barlow holding a 6-1 overall mark over MVSU.
GRAMBLING STATE (0-2) at BETHUNE-COOKMAN (1-0)
The current consensus No. 1 team in HBCU football returns to the field after a week off to renew a rivalry with the struggling Tigers. Brian Jenkins’ Wildcats pulled out a 14-12 victory two weeks ago against Florida International. As for Grambling State, a season that starts with six straight road games has seen GSU open the year winless in their first two games. The last time the two schools played each other was in 2004 as part of the Proctor & Gamble Ohio Classic in Cincinnati. A crowd of 35,608 saw Grambling win 24-23. Prior to that contest, the two teams played each other regularly, competing against one another four times from 1984-88.
BOWIE STATE (0-1) at MORGAN STATE (0-2)
Even though both teams come into the contest winless, this Beltway brawl is still worth watching. Especially when you consider that the Bulldogs have more than held their own in the all-time series (Morgan leads 5-4-1). However, the Bears have won the last two meetings and haven’t lost to BSU since a 35-21 home loss. Despite their losses, both teams have competitive in these contests. Last week, Bowie fell 23-22 in their season opener to St. Anselm on a last-second field goal. Morgan has been nipped in two road games at Eastern Michigan (31-28) and Holy Cross (29-26).