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Week Four Predictions

by Byron Cohen (aka Football 101)
Onnidan Online Prognosticator

NC A&T vs. Hampton

The consensus #1 black college football team is back on the road facing long time nemesis NC A&T. Both teams have a short week in order to get prepared to play on national TV (ESPNU) and under the Thursday night lights. Neither team has yet to play their best football but they both need to get it together as they get into the meat of their MEAC schedule. Hampton’s vaulted offense ran into a brick wall in Washington, DC as Howard put the clamps on the Pirates and clung to a 12-0 lead at halftime. As with last year’s team, defense and special teams found a way to put points on the board as they earned a hard fought come from behind victory. The Aggies obviously were looking ahead and almost lost to the MEAC’s worst team. Norfolk St. competed for four quarters with the Aggies, but couldn’t make the plays at the end of the game to pull off the upset. NC A&T has yet to get used to new offensive coordinator Kent Schoolfield’s offensive scheme and learning curve has ended. The Aggie band may bump to the sounds of TI’s “Bring em Out” but it will only hype up the Hampton Pirates football team. Hampton will not hold back as they give the TV viewers a show at the Aggie’s expense. Hampton 35, NC A&T 17.

Tennessee-Martin vs. Tennessee State

TSU got a well deserve overtime victory as they outlasted Jackson State in the Southern Heritage classic. Linebacker Jamar Landrom lead the way with 6 tackles, two QB sacks, a forced fumble and I think that he substituted as drum major during halftime on his way to earning Defensive MVP. Tennessee-Martin was taken to the woodshed as they suffered another plus 45 point beating at the hands of Arkansas State for the 2 nd consecutive year. That kind of beating can mentally affect a team’s moral and confidence. TSU’s offense misses All-American RB Charles Anthony and they are lacking a “go-to” guy. Tennessee-Martin has that go to guy and he is sophomore running back Donald Chapman; a 1000 yard rusher as a freshman. These teams are not expected to compete for the Ohio Valley conference title so they are competing not to finish in last place. I know little about Tennessee-Martin, but a solid running game and TSU’s continued sloppy play make my job easier. Tennessee-Martin 28, Tennessee State 24.

Shaw vs. NC Central

Last year’s CIAA champions finally got their first victory of the year last week as they beat long time punching bag Edward Waters. Shaw doesn’t seem to be playing with that same type of chip on their shoulder as they did a year ago and it shows. Talent is not the problem so it’s up to Coach Deondri Clark to figure out what is going on and fast. NC Central seems to have taken Shaw’s “mojo” from a year ago and is playing some outstanding football during their first three games. They are obviously the team to beat at this point of the season in the CIAA but Shaw cannot afford another conference if they want to repeat as CIAA champions. Running backs Byron Cary and Deon McIver have got to take some pressure of QB Jermonty Kimbrough so he won’t be put in a position where he will be forced to pass. Also, Shaw’s running attack must be affective enough to run time off the clock and keep NCCU’s potent offense off the field. NCCU’s dynamic duo RB Gregg Pruitt and QB Adrian Warren, aka Batman and Robin, will lead the attack for the CIAA’s #1 offensive unit. Fans should expect a great game especially if Shaw plays up to their potential. Shaw will finally “represent” and push NCCU to the limit for the 3 rd consecutive week but just like an old school Batman and Robin episode they will find a way to escape with a victory when all seems lost. Shaw fans and players will walk out of Durham feeling like they got 5 numbers out of 6 on their lottery tickets. NCCU 35, Shaw 31.

Benedict vs. Tuskegee

Every team has a game on their schedule that could spell trouble and this may be it for Tuskegee. Tuskegee fans and players need to be wary of Benedict and not take this game of granted. Benedict has won two in a row and their confidence is high. Although they were against opponents that are much less inferior to the Tuskegee team, a win is a win. Running back Jeff Nobles is the workhorse for the Benedict offense but taking care of the ball is going to be their biggest asset on Saturday. Last week against Johnson C Smith Benedict threw 2 interceptions and had 5 fumbles, two of which were recovered by JC Smith. That won’t cut it with Tuskegee. Last week Tuskegee’s offense came out of the closet like a metro-sexual man during Atlanta’s Gay Pride weekend and put on a show against Miles. They racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense as they dominated Miles. Still, they must execute and remain focus because Benedict players will be pumped up and ready to jump on any opportunities that Tuskegee gives them. Expect Benedict to get out of the gates quickly in this game and have Tuskegee on their heels. However, Benedict will not be the team to spoil Tuskegee’s hope of an undefeated season but they will make it interesting for a while. Tuskegee 35, Benedict 21.

Bethune-Cookman vs. SC State

The game of the week takes place this weekend in Jacksonville, Fl as the 52 nd Gateway Classic football game kicks off. Both teams are undefeated and this game will be big in determining who will challenge Hampton for the MEAC title this year. SC State has looked very good thus far and has showed no ill effects with new QB, Cleveland McCoy at the helm. As a matter of fact, the offense is rolling like a Hummer on 26 inch rims and is averaging almost 40 points a game. BCC isn’t offense isn’t rolling on 26’s like SC State but they are close behind. Their offense is rolling in a Infinity Q56 on 24’s and is averaging almost 33 points a game. The funny thing about BCC is that offensive vehicle is driven by a guy who can barely see over the steering wheel in 5’9” (yeah right) juggernaut WR Eric Weems. Although he can’t ride the adult rides at Six Flags he can catch and run that football. Football fans will get a treat and they watch these two offenses slug it out as the score board will light up like Christmas lights on a mobile home. The bad thing about this game is that one of these good teams is going to lose. Sorry Bethune but “Don’t hit me on the Nextel Cherp” when SC State gives you your first loss of the season. SC State 42, Bethune-Cookman 35.

Florida A&M vs. Howard

Howard I’m going to back off on what I said last week about calling you Buster’s if you don’t beat Hampton. Defensively and offensively you played like a winner but your special team play was nominated for the BUSTERS of the week award. Still there is reason for hope as you travel to the Sunshine state because there is still a lot of football to be played this year. Florida A&M used to strike fear in their opponents heart but now teams are enjoying the role of being the bully. Since the NCAA sanctions came down the ruthless Rattlers are more like garden snakes. With all the bad going on the with football team, the band is still the “shiznic.” Just seeing them get down is enough to keep the people jumping out of their seats. The “Boys in the Hood” at FAMU will need more than a hour to get themselves together as Howard’s punishing defense keeps them in the MEAC title hunt. Howard 21, FAMU 7.

A few more for the black football lover in you:

Fayetteville 60, St Paul’s 7: St. Paul was on the outside looking inside the CIAA window in 2004. After this game, they wished they stayed there.

SW Assemblies of God 21, Paul Quinn 14: With God on your side and part of your school name how can you lose.

Fort Valley State 17, Clark-Atlanta 10: Clark-ATL tasted defeat for the first time this season, but it won’t be the last.

Alabama State 30, Arkansas Pine-Bluff 27: With the SWAC east title still up for grabs Alabama State can’t afford another bad outing.

Washington St. 45, Grambling St. 21: Why can’t we play one of these games in our stadium?

Miss Valley State 28, Alabama A&M 20: Thought last week’s victory against Southern was a fluke, think again!

Winston Salem State 28, Elizabeth City 14: Round 1 saw Elizabeth City come out strong against Livingstone. Round 2 saw them throw big punches on offense in a loss against Bethune-Cookman. Round 3 Fayetteville wakes them up from the dream and reality sets in. Round 4 they are knocked back into dreamland by WSSU.

My record through week 3 for the 2005 season is 24-7.


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