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A heavenly start to the 2015 football season

LUT WILLIAMS

BCSP Editor

Are you ready for some football? Well, ready or not, here it comes. The 2015 football season begins this weekend, at least it will for Edward Waters, the lone team playing this week, with a home match up in Jacksonville, Florida (7 p.m.) vs. the University of Faith. The University of Faith, in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a sister online Christian institution to the College of Faith, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. UF-Florida is the home of the Glory Eagles. CF-Charlotte is home to the Soldier Saints.

And both are online branch campuses of the College of Faith, headquartered in West Memphis, Arkansas. They are the Warriors. The Glory Eagles also have a October 3 date at Prairie View A&M of the SWAC. The College of Faith Warriors, in their inaugural season, are the homecoming opponent at Texas Southern of the SWAC on October 31.

Perhaps the folks crosstown at Prairie View hipped the TSU folks to this “Faith” thing. Nor are any of them to be confused with the University of God’s Chosen Disciples, Edward Waters’ opponent next Saturday (Sept. 29). It appears from their online presence (ugcdisciples. org) and Facebook page that UGC is another online institution. But there’s no indication exactly where it is.

Neither should any of them be confused with the Redemption Christian College Knights who have a three-game schedule including a September 19 date at Livingstone of the CIAA. RCC, apparently another online Christian institution, “appears” to be located in Virginia Beach, Va.

We’ve actually gotten used to Southwestern Assemblies of God and Ave Maria, two NAIA schools that appear on the schedules of other black college NAIA programs like Edward Waters, Langston, Concordia-Selma and Texas College. But this is taking the ‘Faith’ thing to a whole ‘nother level.

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The Real Games

Amongst the real highlights of the 2015 schedule are intriguing opening-day match ups of black college Div. I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams on the road against the big boys of the Div. I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Several are set for the Labor Day week and weekend (Sept. 3-6) when the season really jumps off with 38 games.

Defending SWAC champion and 2014 black college national champion Alcorn State

– the consensus top black college team of 2015

– gets things started when it travels to meet ACC power Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Thursday September 3.

Two days later (Sat., Sept. 5), MEAC co-champ Morgan State, coming off its first-ever FCS playoff berth, plays at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Grambling State plays at Cal-Berkeley, Alabama A&M travels to Cincinnati, Norfolk State is at Rutgers, Southern visits Louisiana Tech and Bethune-Cookman is at Miami.

The weekend includes seven Classic Games including two of the Labor Day variety. A week later (Sat., Sept, 12), the highlights continue as MEAC co-champs North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central stay in state to try their hands on the road at UNC and Duke of the ACC respectively. Howard also has an ACC opponent as it travels to take on Boston College.

The real action begins in late September when conference play starts. Alcorn State (East) and Grambling (West) are favored in the SWAC. Southern (West) and Jackson State (East) are perhaps their greatest challengers. The MEAC, coming off a five-way tie for its title in 2014, is perhaps the most competitive conference. Co-champs S. C. State and Morgan State have only two of their fellow co-champs on their 2015 schedule. Co-champs N. C. A&T, N. C. Central and Bethune-Cookman have three. The CIAA crowned a new champion (Virginia State) last year for the first time in four years and may be as wide open as ever. Albany State and Tuskegee are once again picked to be standard bearers in the SIAC.

The 80th Morehouse-Tuskegee Classic (Oct. 10 in Columbus, GA.) is on the schedule along with the 74th Magic City Classic (Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M, Oct. 31 at Legion Field in Birmingham). The 42nd Bayou Classic (Southern vs. Grambling State, Nov. 28 at the Super Dome in New Orleans) leaves network TV (NBC) for cable (NBC Sports Network).

On Sunday September 6, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and South Carolina State meet in Orlando for the 11th MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The final MEAC/SWAC battle takes place when the respective conference champions meet at the inaugural and much-anticipated Centennial Bowl set for Dec. 19 at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

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