10. Circle City Classic-Kentucky State vs. Central State
Lucas Oil Stadium, Sept. 26
Once one of the premiere classics in black college football, the Circle City Classic has struggled to draw crowds in the cavernous home of the Indianapolis Colts.
|(Houston Chronicle photo)|
9. Labor Day Classic-Prairie View vs. Texas Southern
BBVA Compass Stadium, Sept. 6
This game kicks off HBCU football season in Texas. Enough said.
8. Chicago Classic-Morgan State vs. Howard
Soldier Field, Sept. 26
Originally set to meet in the NY Urban League Classic, these two MEAC rivals will take their show to the Windy City. The weather should be perfect for football in late September, so hopefully the turnout will be good.
7. Fountain City Classic-Albany State vs. Fort Valley State
A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, Nov. 7
This matchup of Georgia HBCUs dates back to 1945, but has been the FCC since 1990. Attendance has dropped at this game in recent years, going from 23,966 in 2010 to just over 13,000 last year. Albany State won last year’s matchup 32-21 last year.
6. Boombox Classic-Southern vs. Jackson State
Mumford Stadium, Sept. 19
Southern won this game 42-28 last season while Jackson State was in the midst of a five-game losing streak. This year’s game will take place in Baton Rouge. As always, the rivalry between SU’s Human Jukebox and JSU’s Sonic Boom will be just as fierce as the battle on the field.
5. The Magic City Classic-Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State
Legion Field, Oct. 31
With all due respect to The Turkey Day Classic, this is now THE premiere classic in the state of Alabama. Last year’s game was a thrilling one, with A&M winning 37-36 thanks to a late touchdown pass. This year’s game will feature two teams looking to rebound from tough 2014 seasons.
4. Nation’s Football Classic-Hampton vs. Howard
RFK Stadium, Sept. 18
Since Hampton joined the MEAC back in the mid-90s, “The Battle of The Real HU” has been one of the conference’s most spirited rivalries. Hampton has dominated the series since it restarted in 1994, winning 15 of the last 20 games, but Howard has won four in a row dating back to 2011. This year’s drama will take place on the big stage as Hampton replaces Morehouse as Howard’s opponent in the Nation’s Football Classic. Expect the DMV to be popping for this Friday night affair.
3. John Merritt Classic-Tennessee State vs. Alabama State
Nissan Stadium, Sept. 6
Alabama won this matchup a year ago, beating TSU 27-21 in Montgomery. This year’s game will take place in the Volunteer State in a classic named for Tennessee State’s legendary coach, John Merritt.
This year’s game features a creative, collaborative ad between the two teams. We need more of this type of stuff.
2. Florida Classic-FAMU vs. Bethune-Cookman
Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Nov. 21
Despite being a big underdog heading into the game, Florida A&M almost came away with the upset against MEAC Co-Champion Bethune-Cookman last season. Last year’s 18-17 win was a tough end to a tough season for FAMU, but 2015 is a new year. Both teams will kick off the season with new head coaches, so this year’s classic should have a fresh air about it.
|(Southern University photo)|
1. Bayou Classic-Southern vs. Grambling State
Mercedes-Benz Dome, Nov. 28
Was there every any doubt as to who no. 1 would be? Last year’s Bayou Classic was the best in recent memory and one of the greatest of all-time. as the upstart Grambling squad’s comeback attempt fell slightly short late in the game. Both teams figure to be even better this season as they return their top signal-callers and playmakers. Don’t be surprised if this rivalry once again decides who represents the SWAC West in the conference championship game and possibly the first-ever Celebration Bowl.