Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
The Miles College “Good News” Golden Bears , currently in second place in the western division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (as in SIAC), haven’t let that stop them from achieving high points in other places. Last week, the first time the NCAA Regional standings were posted this season, the Bears came out shining like a newly minted penny in 1ST place in the so-called “Super” Region 2. This is no small potatoes considering the caliber of talent represented in the region. Not only that, the Bears are also the 15th best NCAA Division II school in the country, according to the latest poll of the top 25 D-2 schools by the American Football Coaches Association.
Although the school might not admit it, I’d be willing to wager that this batch of 2012 accomplishments equals the euphoria of 2009 when the Bears upset Tuskegee 23-16 in the Labor Day Classic at Birmingham’s Legion Field and why not? Prior to that, the Goldens under both Rick Comegy and Willie Slater had sported a won-loss record of 110-18 since 1998 which included two national crowns, a heap of conference titles and nine Pioneer Bowl championships.
Now, perhaps the biggest challenge of the Bears comes Saturday at 4pm at Albert Sloan Stadium on Miles’ college campus when they collide with the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee . To say that Tuskegee will be hunting for “Bear” when they come to Fairfield, Alabama is an understatement. The Golden boys are 2-0 against Miles since 2010 and they aim to make it 3-0. The stakes are high for this game. The winner will take home all the marbles, including a trip to Atlanta for the 2nd SIAC championship game November 10. Miles is the defending conference champ and could conceivably win twice. Win or lose, the Bears will in all likelihood advance to the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, a first for Miles (it is also the first time a school from the SIAC has been ranked number 1 in any of the NCAA’s four Super Regions). That is likely why Tuskegee REALLY wants to win Saturday’s game and a shot at the conference crown since their Thanksgiving tilt with Alabama State disqualifies them for NCAA post-season play (that ends this year, however when ASU and Tuskegee will supposedly drop the Thanksgiving game and begin home-and-home play to be scheduled during the regular season.)
While this SIAC western division clash rages, another battle, this time for the SIAC eastern crown, will be playing itself out 184 miles away in Columbus Ga. Albany State will take on the Wildcats of Fort Valley State in the 23rd playing of the Fountain City Classic. ASU surrendered the first SIAC Championship Game title last year to Miles, 20-17, thanks to a field goal by Miles placekicker Patton Chambers. ASU wants another chance in the worst way but to get there, they’ve got to get past Donnie Pittman’s Wildcats who also want to become the 99 year old conference’s second true champ. Like Tuskegee-Miles, the winner of Valley and ASU live to play another day, a big day November 10 in Atlanta.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Morehouse’s fourth overall loss in the last five tries came last weekend when they fell to homecoming guests Fort Valley 26-19. A crowd of 24,239, which likely included a representative crowd of Wildcat supporters, crammed BT Harvey Stadium to witness the clash between Wildcat and Tiger which last year ended in a crushing defeat for Fort Valley in Peach County. That humiliating loss at home last year was likely not far from the minds of Valley players or their coach Donnie Pittman as the Wildcats took a 20-7 lead over “The House” by halftime and , despite a dogged Morehouse effort to overtake the lead, FVSU hung on to spoil homecoming for the Maroon Tigers , 26-19….Tuskegee meanwhile, defeated Clark AU 14-0 in Atlanta but CAU’s defense gave Tuskegee’s offense, ranked third in scoring offense in the SIAC, all they could handle, holding the Goldens to seven points in both halves of the game, even forcing TU to utilize nine plays to score their second touchdown in the third period from the CAU 18 yard line . CAU’s defense, ranked fourth in the conference, forced three Tuskegee turnovers in the game and kept the 14-0 outcome from becoming a 20-0 victory when they kept Tuskegee out of the end zone at the CAU 5 before time ran out.…Miles the number one ranked team among Division II colleges in the NCAA’s so-called Super 2 region, knocked off Stillman 49-13 and knocked the Tigers out of any possibility of winning the SIAC west, Lane defeated Kentucky State 28-14 for their second win in the last three tries, and Albany State ended Benedict’s one game win streak 24-13 in last week’s Augusta Ga. Classic.
XTRA POINTS: CSS, CBS Sports, even the new Bounce network which has been carrying CIAA contests of late, have cheated themselves by not juggling schedules and sending their TV cameras and crews to either Tuskegee-Miles or ASU and Fort Valley. These games are ratings boosters for those networks….. Julius Royals, INSIDE’s correspondent and a 1982 Tuskegee graduate and I decided to take the Tuskegee-Miles game more interesting. If Miles wins the contest, I will sport a Tuskegee T-shirt to the SIAC championship game November 10. If Tuskegee loses, he will sport a Miles t-shirt to the same game. INSIDE Photog Patsy Lamar will photo Royals and I after Saturday’s contest….
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS:
- Morehouse over Kentucky State- Frankfort Ky.
- Stillman over CAU-Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Albany State over Fort Valley-Columbus Ga ( Fountain City Classic)
- Lane over Benedict-Jackson Tenn.
- Miles over Tuskegee-Fairfield Alabama
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net