Hampton football: Turning a corner or spinning its wheels?

Hampton finished third in the MEAC last season.

Most HBCU football fans can tell you who finished first and second in the MEAC last football season (North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T). Many would have a hard time telling you who came in third.

The answer: Hampton.

HiU went 5-3 in the MEAC in Connell Maynor’s third season in the Tidewater. Maynor says he doesn’t think his team is far away the reigning MEAC champ.

“Last year, 5-3 was fifth place,” Maynor told the Newport News Daily Press last November. “This year, it was third place, so we’ve got the ship headed in the right direction. We’re a couple of plays, a couple of players, away. There’s not that big a difference between us and (MEAC champion) North Carolina Central.

“It’s a process. Each year we’ve gotten a little bit better, a little bit better. If we get a little bit better next year, that’ll put us where we want to be.”

NCCU has won at least a share of the MEAC title in each of the past three seasons under Jerry Mack, going 21-3 during that span. Hampton, meanwhile, is 12-12 in the MEAC under Maynor.

Maynor came to the MEAC after an extremely successful run at Winston-Salem State where he won 45 games in four years and led them to wins in the NCAA Division II playoffs three years in a row, including a run to the 2012 National Championship Game. So expectations were high coming in, but the results have been less than desirable to this point.

Hampton hasn’t won a conference championship since 2006 after winning a combined eight titles in the MEAC and CIAA in the previous 15 years. With NCCU and North Carolina A&T losing key pieces like Malcolm Bell and Tarik Cohen next year, will another season of “good enough” be good enough to keep the Hampton faithful content?

We’ll talk more about Hampton football in the HBCU Gameday Podcast this week. Subscribe via Soundcloud now.

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