10 Famous HBCU Football Classics

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.

Atlanta Football Classic1.) Atlanta Football Classic

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.

magic city classic2.) Magic City Classic

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

battle of the bay3.) Battle of the Bay Classic

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.

Florida Classic4.) Florida Classic

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.

bayou classic5.) Bayou Classic

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.

Battle for the real hu

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.

Circle City Classic7.) Circle City Classic

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.

MEAC-SWAC Challenge8.) MEAC/SWAC Challenge

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.

southern heritage9.) Southern Heritage Classic

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.

NYUL Classic10.) New York Urban League Football Classic

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.

One thought on “10 Famous HBCU Football Classics

  1. The Turkey Day Classic is the oldest running black college football classic in the country. Traditionally held annually on Thanksgiving Day and is played between Alabama State University and Tuskegee University.

    The game was usually played in Montgomery, Alabama’s Cramton Bowl, but relocated to Alabama State’s new Hornet Stadium in 2012, where the Tuskgeee Golden Tigers defeated ASU 27-25 (I guess we had to break in their new stadium the right way…..).

    History of the classic (from Wikipedia):
    The 1924 game was the first in the series and it is considered the first black college football classic.[8] Tuskegee has refused tournament slots for the NCAA Division II National Football Championship because the Division II playoffs conflict with the Turkey Day Classic; the Golden Tigers program has done this even in successful seasons where it has qualified and earned high playoff seeding. [9] Similarly, Alabama State and other Southwestern Athletic Conference members opt out of contention for the NCAA Division I Football Championship; this accommodates the Turkey Day Classic, the SWAC Championship Game and the Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

    Alabama State faced Stillman College in the 2013 Turkey Day Classic, after Tuskegee withdrew from the contest due to playoff considerations beginning that year.

    In 2014, Alabama State announced it was officially discontinuing the Turkey Day Classic in order to give itself the option of participating in the Division I championship, should it qualify. The college will now hold its homecoming on the penultimate Saturday of November; that is, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Stillman College will remain the Hornets’ opponent for 2014; Alabama State remains in negotiations with Tuskegee in the hopes that the change of scheduling will encourage Tuskegee to return to the Hornet Homecoming.


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