The weather is getting more crisp, the leaves are beginning to change, and Fall is in full swing. Fall also means it is one of the most exciting times of the year — Football Classic season!!! That’s right, in various parts of the country HBCUs will be coming together to celebrate rich tradition, rivalry, community, and culture. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Lineup highlights some of the most famous and celebrated HBCU football classics.
This game has been played annually in Atlanta, for its first three years at Grant Field, and at the Georgia Dome since 1992. Presented by 100 Black Men of America, this year South Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T University met up for the annual match. Other events at the classic include, a college fair, collegiate symposium, a healthy living fair, and a robotics showcase.
The Magic City Classic is an annual American football classic, which features Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University, two of Alabama’s most prominent HBCUs. The first game between the two schools was played in 1924. It has been an uninterrupted, annual tradition since 1945 and has been played at Legion Field in Birmingham since 1946. Alabama A&M leads the series with a record of 38-36-3 all-time
Another rivalry of homecoming proportions is the Battle of the Bay Classic game between Hampton University and Norfolk State University. Separated by the Chesapeake Bay, these two teams have battled for years. The game draws a crowd not just for the football, but also for the halftime show and the battle of these universities’ well known marching bands.
The Florida Classic is more than just a football game and in-state rivalry. It is now the largest football game between two historically Black Colleges. Since its inception in 1978, the game has seen over 1.5 million spectators attend. The series began in 1925. Since 1997, a total of 875,089 fans have watched the Florida Classic in the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, an average of 67,315 per year. In 2005, the game made its debut on ESPNU. With its colorful backdrop of football, bands and loyal fans, a centrally-located venue, nationally-regarded programs in both Tallahassee and Daytona Beach, the future of the Classic is ripe with promise.
2014 marks the 41st annual meeting of HBCU rivals Grambling State University and Southern University known as the Bayou Classic. Since 1991, the Bayou Classic has been televised nationally by NBC. The national broadcast attracts an audience of four to five million viewers.
6.) Battle of the Real HU
The age-old question — which is the real “HU”? Howard has a one year jump on Hampton in terms of establishment and a 9 year jump in terms of football, but this never matters to Hampton University students and alumni. The battle of supremacy between the two schools is renewed each year in the annual Battle for the Real HU.
Rev. Charles Williams founded the Circle City Classic in 1983. The Annual Circle City Classic helps to support youth initiatives, awarding over $3,000,000 in scholarships to deserving youth attending colleges and universities across the country. This year the Central State University Marauders and Kentucky State Thorobreds played in the game. Events associated with the classic are an HBCU college fair and a coaches luncheon.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is an annual Black College Football game showcasing a team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The series began in 2005 and for its first three years it was held in Birmingham, Alabama at Legion Field. Since 2008, it has been held in Orlando, Florida at the Florida Citrus Bowl. In 2014, the game will be played at Bright House Networks Stadium as the Citrus Bowl undergoes renovations. Currently the MEAC leads the series with seven wins to the SWAC’s two. The game is televised nationally on ESPN2, and the City of Orlando and The Walt Disney Company sponsor the game.
Each year, the Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx is one of the country’s most anticipated HBCU football classics. Since 1990, thousands of fans have gathered at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis to see long-time rival football teams at Jackson State University and Tennessee State University battle for bragging rights and for the victory. The classic also has a business conference and a college fair.
This year was the 42nd Annual New York Urban League (NYUL) Football Classic at MetLife Stadium featuring Howard University versus Morgan State University. The Football Classic benefits the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholarship Fund and the educational programs of the NYUL. Since its inception, proceeds from the game have helped to leverage over $20 million in Whitney M. Young, Jr. Educational Scholarships awarded to nearly 4,000 college bound students. Whitney M. Young, Jr. who the scholarship was named after, was President of the National Urban League. His distinguished career was marked by his effectiveness in bringing the business community into full participation in the struggle for civil rights. Young focused on gaining equality for Blacks in business, politics, and improving opportunities for the urban poor.