Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
MEAC/SWAC Bowl headed for Atlanta?
ATLANTA- The old scuttlebutt is mixing with Atlanta’s rare frigid weather (that’s cool, as long as the snow stays away) about the possibility of a bowl game between the champs of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) against the champs of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The mix would take place at the Georgia Dome. I would speculate that the organizers from both conferences are eyeing moving from the Dome to Atlanta’s new stadium which is scheduled to be finished by 2017 and that’s not beyond the realm of reality. When the current Georgia Dome opened on September 6, 1992, the Atlanta Classic, sponsored by the vaulted brethren of the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America, brought the first college game to the new facility. Southern edged South Carolina State 19-18 on September 19.
The Fan Forum of this website has been very active around the MEAC/SWAC buzz and has been met with mixed feelings from both sides
I share those mixed feelings.
I do applaud the conferences for at least looking forward to the idea of some post-season play for our schools. It’s shameful that none of the organizers of the 35 bowl games sponsored this last season haven’t seen fit to reach out to our HBCUs despite many of them having great records and above average programs. I have always advocated we need to learn a lesson from our ancestors. When they got locked out of post-season grid action, they created THEIR OWN. Since the 1920s, the bloods from the black schools played in such post-season contests as the Prairie View Bowl (1929-1961), the Steel City Classic (later renamed the Vulcan Bowl) in Birmingham Alabama, the Yam Bowl in Dallas, Texas played on Christmas Day, the Angel Bowl played in Los Angeles, the Orange Blossom Classic played in December for many years, the Gate City Bowl which played only one game in 1974, two All Star Games played in New Orleans Superdome in 1980-81, the Heritage Bowl played in Atlanta , the Freedom Bowl played at the old Atlanta Stadium in the early `1980s, the Pioneer Bowl started in 1998 and a short-lived All-Star game which played its only two games in 2010 in Montgomery, Alabama and 2011 at the Georgia Dome.
But I do have concerns about the game itself. If you involve two of the four black college football conferences, then what about the CIAA and the SIAC? The game after all is being played in Atlanta., home to two of the 10 football-playing colleges in the SIAC. Do you leave them sitting on the sidelines? Can you justify declaring the winner of a MEAC-SWAC bowl as national champs (as I understand the game will be labeled) without involving the other two conferences?
I studied this and have come up with a possible solution that would involve everyone.
The CIAA and SIAC already have a bowl of their own called the Pioneer. Now, the game hasn’t been played for two years and the organizers have left the possibility of renewing the classic for 2015 up in the air. If they do play that game this year and the MEAC/SWAC game follows, what’s to stop a third ballgame featuring the champs of both games in either Atlanta or another city (say Birmingham or Charlotte) playing HBCU SuperBowl- type contest?
I see possibilities and lots of dollar bills for schools in all four conferences.
Think about it.
SIAC BASKETBALL: At last, Clark-AU head basketball coach Tony Lamarr , in his first full season as the Panther’s pilot, can breathe a little easier these days now that the Panthers successfully busted that nerve-wracking nine game losing streak.After a promising three game stand from January 26 through the 31st collapsed with back-to-back losses to Paine, Benedict and Morehouse, plus a road loss to Albany State to begin the February slate, the Panthers knocked off Fort Valley 88-84 and then handed Claflin a 67-62 loss , significant since Claflin is in third place in the SIAC east .
The Panthers hope to extend their two game win streak this week with games at Paine February 12, then travel to Columbia, South Carolina to face Benedict before returning home February 14 to face Kentucky State. Morehouse, meanwhile, may have their head coach Grady Brewer and his staff a little puzzled. The Maroon Tigers, 11-8 overall and 9-3 in conference play, seem to be playing hot and cold basketball the last two weeks. First, they lose to Benedict College at home by nine points on January 26. Three days later, they upset Paine College at home 62-61. They defeat CAU two days later at the Panthers’ LS Epps gym by 10 two days later but then lose to Fort Valley, last in the SIAC east, 60-58 on the road. They return to their Forbes gym and beat Albany State 70-68 which allows them to hang on to second place in the conference’s eastern wing.
Whether they can continue in that position let along overtake Paine at the top of the key is the big question on the minds of Morehouse die-hards, especially after their most recent 86-69 loss to Claflin. Now, they hit the road for a scheduled Thursday clash with Benedict . The Tigers, third in the SIAC east, have won 6 of their last 7 games , one of them 69-60 over Morehouse in Atlanta January 26. The Tigers return home Monday the 16th facing Fort Valley.
The Clark-AU women, meanwhile, are struggling to free themselves from their 5 game losing bog, three of them coming in the last five days. To their credit, two of those to Albany State and Claflin were cliffhangers by two points. Vanesaa Moore and the ladies will attempt to climb back into the winners circle, started with Paine on the 12th, Benedict on the 14th and a home tilt vs. Albany State on the 16th.
Elsewhere, LeMoyne –Owens’ Magician men saw their four game win streak broken last week with a 10 point loss to Lane……Paine College looked almost unbeatable just a week ago until their loss to Morehouse in Atlanta on January 29th. Then two days later at Benedict, they lost to the Tigers by 11 points for their first back-to-back losses of the season.
The losing funk for the Lions was temporary, however. They bounced back with wins over Claflin February 5, then Fort Valley on the 7th.
XTRA POINTS: Ted Bahhur, the former Clark-AU head football coach who once threatened a lawsuit against the school after he was fired in the middle of the 2009 season, is now coaching at his alma-mater Kent State……….
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net