BUCKHANNON – I have never heard anybody utter this phrase, so I may be the first ever, but here it goes – I miss the North Central Athletic Conference, especially for high school football.
I like things to be tidy and make sense. The NCAC did that. It was eight schools in the region, all triple AAA and everyone played everyone else. You could have a true conference champion and all-conference teams that make sense.
The conference was formed in 1986 when six former Big Ten Conference members formally withdrew from that league and announced plans to create an all-sports conference. The NCAC's first year of competition was the 1986-87 school year and the charter members were Buckhannon-Upshur, East Fairmont, Elkins, Fairmont Senior, Morgantown and North Marion. Lewis County became the seventh school to join the conference in the winter of 1991 and University became the eighth team to join in the spring of 1992. Lewis County withdrew after the 1999-2000 school year and Preston joined the conference in the fall of 2000.
But then it had to go away in 2011. Plenty of reasons why but the simple take is Morgantown and University got really good in football and other teams got really small.
Sure there is more to it than that, but that’s it in layman’s terms.
So Buckhannon-Upshur went back to the Big 10 Conference although it’s hardly an ideal home for the Buccaneers. In 2018, it is the home of an odd number of teams at 13 – 11 Class AA and two Class AAA (B-U and Preston).
Currently, there is no true conference champ, conference standings aren’t kept because teams don’t play balanced schedules, and that in turn makes it harder to evenly distribute all-conference honors.
It’s the best of a bad situation for the Bucs. The only other option is to be an independent and that honestly is worse than being in the Big 10.
And there isn’t anything that can be done about it in the foreseeable future. Even if some teams move back from Class AA to AAA like a Lewis County or Fairmont Senior, it still doesn’t change the hodgepodge of teams in the conference.
To show you how unbalanced the standings are in football in the Big 10, let’s take a look at just the conference records of the 13 teams based on winning percentage:
1. Fairmont Senior 8-0 (10-0)
2. Bridgeport 8-1 (9-1)
3. Robert C. Byrd 7-2 (8-2)
4. Buck.-Upshur 3-2 (5-5)
5. Grafton 4-3 (5-4)
6. Lewis County 5-4 (6-4)
7. North Marion 4-4 (5-5)
8. Liberty 3-4 (6-4)
9. Elkins 4-6 (4-6)
10.Lincoln 2-5 (4-6)
11.Philip Barbour 2-6 (2-8)
12.Preston 0-5 (1-9)
13.East Fairmont 0-8 (0-10)
You can see just how unbalanced it is. B-U and Preston play just five games (based on the fact they have to play five AAA teams to quality for the play-off) while Elkins’ entire schedule is league games. And who knew the Bucs actually finished fourth in the conference based on winning percentage?
Onto Forecast business, I went an impressive 14-1 last week while Shea and Sid went 11-4 and Kevin came in last at 10-5.
For the season, I hold down first based on winning percentage with a 124-38-1 record while Kevin is second with a 45-15 mark. Shea and Sid are holding down last this week with a 116-46-1 ledger.
We had a tie this week in our Forecast contest as Janet Kimble and Kathleen Catlin both went 13-2 but it was Kathleen who won the tiebreaker picking 45 points getting closest to the score of 23-16 (39 total points).
Kathleen won a gift certificate to Arby’s.
This week’s winner will get a gift certificate to Brake’s Dairy King.
In case you’re new to the Fearless Football Forecast, here are the ground rules.
Participants need to select the winner of all 15 games listed and predict the total number of points for our tiebreaker game. The person with the best record this week will win a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
In case of a tie, the person closest to the total points scored in the selected game will be our winner. At year’s end, all weekly winners will be eligible for a drawing for two West Virginia University basketball tickets.
If a game is incorrectly listed, it will be discarded from the lineup and not played. You can drop your selections off at The Record Delta’s office or email them to [email protected] If you email your selections, please list both the winner and the loser of each contest.
The deadline to get picks in is Thursday at 7 p.m.
Now let’s get down to business.
Lewis County (6-4) at Fairmont Senior (10-0)
The first time these two teams met it was a 53-7 win for the Polar Bears back on Aug. 31. While the Minutemen are to be congratulated on making the play-offs they are going to be a one and done unfortunately. I have said since day one that nobody is going to slow down the Polar Bears.
Duane: Fairmont Senior, 51-14; Kevin: Fairmont Senior, 52-6; Shea and Sid: Fairmont Senior, 48-35
Shady Spring (8-2) at Robert C. Byrd (8-2)
This should be one of the better Class AA play-off games. Shady Springs brings to Clarksburg one of the best defenses in the state allowing just nine points per game. If Byrd and Bridgeport both win, they will meet in the second round. Don’t tell me both teams don’t have an eye on that.
Duane: Robert C. Byrd, 28-21; Kevin: Robert C. Byrd, 27-13; Shea and Sid: Robert C. Byrd 32-21
TCU (4-5) at West Virginia (7-1)
WVU does not have a letdown against the Horned Frogs at home. No way, no how. They already had their dud game of the year. WVU wins big.
Duane: West Virginia, 45-20; Kevin: West Virginia, 38-14; Shea and Sid: West Virginia 42-7
Charlotte (4-5) at Marshall (5-3)
I have no idea what Marshall was doing losing to Southern Miss last week. It all but dashed their C-USA title game hopes. Now, with three games left, they have to worry about getting bowl eligible. The 49’ers don’t exactly put up a lot of points so Marshall should get back on the winning track.
Duane: Marshall, 31-20; Kevin: Marshall, 29-11; Shea and Sid: Marshall 35-21
Carolina (6-2) at Pittsburgh (5-2-1)
This game was played last night. I have a gut feeling the Steelers fell in this one.
Duane: Carolina, 28-24; Kevin: Pittsburgh, 32-27; Sid and Shea: Pittsburgh, 21-17
BEST OF THE REST
Capital 35, Morgantown 32
Bridgeport 28, Frankfort 16
Doddridge County 43, Webster County 23
Wheeling Park 32, Parkersburg 28
West Virginia State 21, West Virginia Wesleyan 19
Georgia 28, Auburn 21
Ohio State 34, Michigan State 31
Texas 42, Texas Tech 38
Virginia Tech 28, Pitt 21
Philadelphia 24, Dallas 20
Capital 24, Morgantown 21
Bridgeport 32, Frankfort 6
Doddridge County 33, Webster County 14
Parkersburg 21, Wheeling Park 20
West Virginia State 28, West Virginia Wesleyan 21
Georgia 19, Auburn 13
Ohio State 17, Michigan State 14
Texas 38, Texas Tech 37
Pitt 19, Virginia Tech 12
Philadelphia 28, Dallas 13
SHEA AND SID
Capital 42, Morgantown 28
Bridgeport 35, Frankfort 14
Doddridge County 21, Webster County 17
Wheeling Park 35, Parkersburg 34
West Virginia State 32, West Virginia Wesleyan 10
Georgia 55, Auburn 28
Michigan State 35, Ohio State 32
Texas 35, Texas Tech 31
Pitt 21, Virginia Tech 20
Philadelphia 38, Dallas 21