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The 2012 College Football season gets underway this week, and both the CIAA and the MEAC conferences are hard at work prepping for another exciting season of Black college football.     With most of their key starters returning this year, the Rams of Winston-Salem State University are a virtual lock to win the CIAA title again.   The Trojans of Virginia State University are picked third in the CIAA Northern Division and seventh overall, while the Panthers of Virginia Union were tapped to finish fourth in the North and ninth overall.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference saw it’s star shining in the FCS playoffs last season as the Spartans of Norfolk State University accomplished the feat for the first time in school history, and the Spartans are also the MEAC’s choice to repeat as league champions in 2012.    Hampton University, once a MEAC powerhouse under former coach Joe Taylor, now an afterthought as the Pirates will be virtually playing for fun in 2012.    Hampton is on probation and is ineligible for the MEAC championship or any NCAA postseason play this season.

The season kicks off for the CIAA on Thursday, with Shaw University visiting Charleston University of West Virginia.   Virginia State opens this Saturday against arch-rival Norfolk State in the 2012 Labor Day Classic at Dick Price Stadium in Norfolk, while Virginia Union starts the new season at home against Benedict College in a night game at Hovey Field this Saturday evening.   In The MEAC, Hampton opens at Tennessee Tech, and South Carolina State hosts Georgia State on Thursday, while Delaware State hosts VMI.   Howard University takes on Morehouse College in the Nations Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC on that same date.