Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders’ crocodile tears before the 2022 Celebration Bowl in Atlanta weren’t enough to prevent North Carolina Central from putting the bite on Jackson State’s dream of an undefeated season.

The Eagles topped Sanders’ Tigers 41-34 in overtime and sent him to his new job with a second consecutive loss in the Celebration Bowl. Last year, the much-ballyhooed Tigers lost to South Carolina State 31-10. Like this year’s game, JSU was heavy favorite.

Sanders is destined for Colorado to take over as coach, and he’s taking his quarterback son, Shedeur Sanders, with him. Most likely, five-star receiver recruit Travis Hunter is headed west to the mountains, as well.

Their final HBCU memory will be that of a fired up opposing NCCU team that had its full of “Coach Prime” and the “JSU saved HBCU football” narrative.

Eagles coach Trei Oliver said after the game his players “had a chip on their shoulder.”

 The leadup to the bowl had turned into non-stop praise of Sanders, the Southwest Athletic Conference, and the predicted coronation of the JSU Tigers as Black College Football’s best team in 2022.

“The disrespect was real since we’ve been down here,” Oliver said.

Their (Jackson State) athletic director (Ashley Robinson) addressed us as North Carolina A&T State University. We pull up to dinner the other night, (Jackson State’s) buses won’t move. They got to drop our guys off in the middle of a street.

“Pregame, we’re supposed to come out at a certain time before the national anthem. For whatever reason, {JSU] wasn’t ready, so they stopped everything. My guys sat in the tunnel for 10 minutes waiting to come out. But it didn’t matter. … [We] put some respect on our name and Black colleges.”

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference now holds 6-1 edge over SWAC teams in the Celebration Bowl.

With all eyes on Sanders and his team, Oliver and the Eagles’ outstanding season was being overlooked.

Oliver, who just completed his third season, was named the 2022 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Football Coach of the Year after leading his team to its first conference championship in six years and an overall record of 10-2.

He is the first coach to reach the 10-win plateau with NCCU. Only five previous teams reached nine wins.

Among the NCAA Division I-FCS statistical leaders, NCCU topped the nation in third down conversions (57.3%) and red zone defense (64.7%) and ranked sixth in the country in scoring offense with a MEAC-high average of 38.4 points per game.

Good luck to Sanders in Colorado, but HBCU football is alive, well, and really won’t miss him that much.

The Reid Roundup

There is concerning NBA injury news on the West Coast. Golden State Warriors guard Stef Curry injured his shoulder last week and will out “a few weeks.” He will miss the Christmas Day showdown against the Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies …L.A. Lakers forward/center Anthony Davis had returned to superstar form during the six games he played in December, averaging 33.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots. He again finds himself sidelined by injury, this time to his foot. He is expected to miss “at least a month” according to his team…With each loss, the idea of St. Louis native Bradley Beal remaining with the Washington Wizards past the trade deadline seems more unlikely. Beal returned after missing six games because of a hamstring injury on Sunday night, but his team lost to the Lakers 119-117. Beal, who is in the first year of a $251 million contract, scored 29 points in his return. After the loss, the Wizards had dropped 10 games in a row and were 1-13 since Thanksgiving…Aaron Judge’s nine-year, $360 million contract makes him the highest paid position player in Major League Baseball. His $40 million annual salary ranks just behind pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander…Judge’s contract obviously puts him first among Black MLB players. You drop down to a tie for 11th in MLB annual salary to find pitcher David Price at $31 million. Outfielder Mookie Betts is No. 13 at $30 million, and outfielder George Springer is tied for 22nd at $25 million…I didn’t watch much World Cup over the past few weeks, but I did watch the title game on Sunday. Messi, 35, scoring a penalty kick and Argentina winning it what is his last World Cup appearance was cool.

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