Hey SportsNation! I'm a sports writer for the Philadelphia Tribune and I contribute to ESPN.com's HBCU Notebook. I'm ready to chat!
I didn't go to an HBCU so I'm not faimliar with the 40th anniversary team. Why did you choose Jay Walker?
Jay Walker went to Howard Univ and had a great career there. He played really well against Steve McNair when he attended Alcorn State.
What changes, if any, may occur in the membership of HBCU conferences in the next 5-10 years?
There could be some movement. It's possible that one or two teams could move up to Division I. I've heard rumors of Morehouse moving and Tuskegee Univ.
Does undefeated Morehouse have a chance of knocking off Tuskegee at the classic next weekend?
Oh, absolutely! Tuskegee's program is well known, but "The House" is playing the best football in the conference right now.
What about the SWAC? How does it compare to MEAC in greatest players?
The SWAC has an overall edge because they have produced more NFL players.
Which HBCU could possibly compete w/ larger conferences if given the chance?
South Carolina State is a strong contender. I like what their coach Buddy Pough is doing down there. Plus, they've won back to back MEAC titles.
Do you think the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats have a chance to run the table for the MEAC title if they blow out Morgan State Saturday in Baltimore?
No. Bethune-Cookman is off to a great start, but they won't go undefeated. However, they have a great QB in Matt Johnson. This week, Johnson was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Week...
Who do you think is the Best Black College Football Players that Plays in the NFL?
I like Antoine Bethea who plays for the Indianapolis Colts. He played college ball at Howard University, he's been to two Super Bowl's, and he's a two-time pro bowler.
Do you think that HBCU's need to be in all HBCU conferences? The Big South would provide SCSU and FAMU a conference with more regional rivalries, reduced travel cost, etc....
I like the conferences they're in now. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to HBCU football and I think people recognize those conferences and they're easier to identify with. Building each program is the key. If Hampton went to the Big South,for example, they'd have to build a rivalry within the conference... rivalries are established over time. You can't just create them.
HBCU football in my opinion hasn't been given the credit it deserves. It's Division 1 football. Too many people feel its a remedial league.
They definitely deserve more credit! And that's why we have the HBCU Notebook on ESPN.com! HBCU schools produce some great players and they are maintaining great traditions and rivalries.
What is coach buddy pough doing at SC State University that is allowing him to dominate HBCU football. His record since he has been there is :-- 68-13 against all HBCUs-- 52-11 against MEAC schools.-- 17-1 against non-MEAC HBCUs.-- 3-0 against the SWAC.-- 2-0 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
Coach Pough is doing a great job at recruiting and he's picked up some great players like Malcolm Long (quarterback) who has pro potential. Last year he had a tremendous running back in Will Ford, and he held All-Conference honors.
Grambling just defeated last years SWAC champ Prairie View. Do you think they take back the SWAC championship this year?
Grambling has a good chance! I think we'll know more in the next three weeks because they play Alabama A&M, Alabama State and Alcorn State. Two of those games are at home and one is on the road... Alcorn State is undefeated right now and Alabama State has one loss. A
Hampton had gotten off to a great start with the exception of the first game against Central Michigan, albeit against sub par opponents, how do you expect the Pirates to match up with stronger opponents like SCSU of FAMU
SCSU is going to be a really tough matchup for the Pirates. The team is really stacked with talent. FAMU is tough, too. Hampton is really going to have to turn it up if they want to beat those teams. If Hampton quarterback David Legree has a big game, you can count on them having a good chance to win.
Does the CIAA have a shot at getting a playoff berth and a favorable draw this season?
Yeah they have a chance. Winston-Salem State is playing some solid football right now, as they are undefeated in the CIAA. They will definitely land a CIAA playoff berth. However, it will be hard to determine what kind of seed they'll get at this point.
How long do you think Winston-Salem State can stay undefeated?
They seem to be head and shoulders above a lot of teams right now but you can't take anything for granted in the CIAA. By the way, they play JCSU this week. As we get into late October, I have a feeling they cold stumble against an under the radar team.
Which team has the edge in what will no doubt be a sloppy affair tonight? Let's go Pirates!
Hampton plays Delaware State at 7:30pm on ESPNU tonight. It should be a good game and Hampton definitely has an edge in this one.
Do you think Classics or BCS guaranteed games are a better model for growing the HBCU football product?
I like the Classics because it grows HBCU football better overall but the guaranteed games grow your program financially and assist with recruiting. Classics involve other HBCU schools and I think that's great because you have rivalries, tradition and alumni involvement.Playing against a team like Georgia Tech or Michigan is exciting for a lot of kids joining your program.
What will it take for the schools in the MEAC to be successful past the first round of the playoffs?
They probably won't get a home game so one of the keys is playing well on the road and when you go on the road you have to play well and you can't turn the ball over. Minimize the mistakes!
How do you think Alcorn will do against MS State on Saturday?
It's going to be a tough matchup. The big thing is to keep the game close and try to steal it at the end. I think MS State will win because they're the bigger and stronger program.
Has the resumption of football at Lincoln sparked greater interest in HBCU football in the Philly area?
It has definitely sparked interest in Philly and that's my alma mater! We had the Lincoln-Cheney football game in Philly on September 3rd, which happened to be the same day as the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. It was a great rivalry between two of the oldest HBCU's in the country and dubbed as the "Battle of the First."
I'll take one last question...
Name your top 5 all-time HBCU football players.
1. Doug Williams (Grambling State) 2. Walter Payton (Jackson State) 3. Jerry Rice (Miss. Valley State) 4. Art Shell (Maryland State, now Maryland Eastern Shore) 5. Bob Hayes (FAMU)
Alright SportsNation, thanks to eveybody who took the time to submit questions about HBCU football! For more, check me out on ESPN.com in the HBCU Notebook.