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Same olí questions plague CIAA North
Published Friday, August 23, 2019
by Bonitta Best

The CIAA North is starting to get just a little too redundant. For the past couple of seasons, the questions have all remained basically the same.

First, how long with the tide run in the North’s favor? The South enjoyed an 11-year championship run (2002-12) before Virginia State broke the streak in 2014. (Remember, there was no game in 2013 due to “the fight.”)

Winston-Salem State gave the South back its supremacy for the next two seasons before the Trojans grabbed it back in 2017. Bowie State’s championship last season has the North on its first two-year title streak since 1989-90 when the Bulldogs and Virginia Union won.  (However, BSU had to forfeit its title due to an ineligible player.)

BSU quarterback Amir Hall’s departure doesn’t do much to diminish the North’s stature over the South. If Fayetteville State keeps winning the division, the North may never lose again. The Broncos lost to the Trojans 42-19 in 2017 and 30-10 to Bowie last season.

Now that Virginia Union has a coach who seems to know what he’s doing, the Panthers can’t be left out of the mix any longer. So, with that said…

Hype or hoax? VUU hasn’t won a title since 2001. It hasn’t even appeared in the championship game since 2007, when it lost to Shaw in overtime 31-24.

I’m always a little skeptical when first-year coaches have an impressive inaugural season since he’s usually doing it with the previous coach’s recruits. Once they leave, then you find out the real deal.

But with a running back like Tabyus Taylor, how can you go wrong?

Oh-so-close. Every year Chowan is somebody’s sleeper, and every year the Hawks never wake up. Last season was a close one, but after beating Bowie – badly I might add – they kept celebrating and forgot that there were still other games to play.

Chowan is a prime example of how football is a team game. Look at all the good quarterbacks that have come out of its program since it joined the CIAA in 2008 – Cameron Stover, CJ Westler, Randall Dixon, Bryce Witt – but no ring to show for it.

Not to mention all the bruised egos that picked them to win.

Bring back Cheyney. Cheyney University is Lincoln (Pa.)’s biggest rival, and the Lions had won three of the last five contests. Now that CU has discontinued football, that’s one less opportunity for Lincoln to win at least ONE game in a season, let alone try for four victories. The Lions have only won three games in a season twice since rejoining the conference in 2008. Both times Cheyney was one of those victories.

It’s almost a shame that the other division teams have to play Lincoln because all it does is bring down their strength of schedule rating. After the Panthers demolished them 90-0 last season, they dropped in the polls.

Second chance. With all that Elizabeth City State and others went through with Hurricane Matthew, it’s a wonder the Vikings had a team to field. Not to mention two cancellations would disrupt the flow of most coaching programs.

You don’t get many chances to make a good first impression, but Anthony Jones’ first season had so much drama that the man deserves a do-over.


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