Three games into the 2012 season, Jordan Reid is back where he anticipated being this season–starting at quarterback for North Carolina Central. The redshirt junior from High Point impressed NCCU head coach Henry Frazier with his performance in Saturday’s 54-17 loss to Duke.
“Man, if I don’t put Jordan out there, they’re going to run me out of town,” Frazier said. “I was born at night, not last night. We’ll throw Jordan out there, we’ll hand the ball to him and give him a week of running with the starters and let him have his opportunity.”
Reid threw for 218 yards after replacing Matt Goggans in the first quarter against Duke. He completed 17 of his 26 passes and also rushed for a score.
“That was the best I’ve seen him look,” Frazier said. “He came in, he was composed; he ran the ball a little bit, he threw some strikes. I was happy for him. You could see the confidence.”
“My confidence is always high,” Reid said. “You have to have that at the quarterback position, because it’s contagious throughout the team.”
The High Point native is in his third year at NCCU. He arrived in Durham in 2009 after redshirting his freshman year at Winston-Salem State. Saturday will be his second collegiate start, both of them coming at Savannah State.
Summer time is usually a quiet affair in Black College Football circles. Even the Division I HBCU teams that populate the MEAC and SWAC Conferences receive minimal coverage until the weeks preceding the first game of the season. So when news like last week’s APR Sanctions on Hampton, North Carolina A&T and Texas Southern comes around, it’s understandable that the reporters covering these schools milk them for all their worth.
Triangle Tribune Sports Editor Bonitta Best’s column “Anybody but Carolina, er, Hampton” has definitely got the internet buzzing. Her column centered around the reaction of some in the HBCU community regarding Hampton University’s sanctions.
“The response mostly went along these lines: “Serves them right!” “That’s what you get when you look down your nose at everybody else.”
Best attempted the rest of the conference’s attitude towards the university with the anti-North Carolina attitude that exists in many, if not all other schools in the ACC. Best credits a few well-worn Hampton stereotypes as well as envy over their smooth transition from the CIAA to the MEAC as reasons for this attitude.
While I see where she was going with this, I’d say the comparison is quite a stretch. For one, Hampton hasn’t even been in the MEAC for twenty years yet. During that time they’ve won five MEAC titles, two of which they shared. They’ve also only won two basketball titles. Impressive, but Carolina-like? I’m not buying it. Then there is the little matter of NCAA Tourney wins. North Carolina leads that category 108 to 1. Respectfully, about the only thing the two schools have in common is their recent trouble with the NCAA.
During my time covering the MEAC (2006-2009) as a student reporter for the college newspaper, Hampton, along with South Carolina State were definitely the teams to beat in the conference football-wise. Beating them in 2007 was one of the more memorable games I watched at WSSU, but that was largely because they were the defending champs and we were the upstarts. The crowd stormed on the field and Bowman-Gray was really rocking. But there were definitely seats available for that game.
In my opinion, if you really want to compare Hampton to an ACC team, I think it would have to be Duke. They are both private schools in conferences made up of predominantly public schools. Generally speaking, the students of both schools tend to be more well off than their competition. And they both wear basically the same shade of blue.
The real reason why no MEAC team will reach hate levels reserved for Carolina and Duke is the lack of TV exposure. Much of the hate for those programs is built on the fact that they are always on TV. The only time most MEAC schools are seen on TV in football or hoops, they’re getting beaten by top-notch teams in money games. Of course there’s the occasional Thursday night Football game in the fall, but those are few and far between for most teams.
Think about it, the MEAC stretches from Delaware to Florida. It works for the ACC because they’ve got a huge TV contract. But the rivalries in the MEAC are based largely on location. Bethune Cookman and FAMU in Florida, North Carolina A&T and NCCU in North Carolina, Morgan and Coppin in Baltimore. Hampton has a natural rival in Norfolk State and a peer institution in fellow private school Howard a few hours up the road in D.C.
Until the conference as a whole can up its’ profile, the chances of developing a powerhouse program that inspires an ungodly level of envy and hate are best left on paper. Norfolk State’s victory over Missouri this spring was a nice start, but it has to become a trend and not a once-a-decade flicker.