HBCU Football Wish List
North Carolina A&T

HBCU football dream matchups 2021

There are plenty of great HBCU football matchups in store for 2021. But here are four we wish were on the schedule

We are now in mid-July, and return of HBCU football is upon us. Sure, we had a delectable sample in the spring with the SWAC — plus a handful of MEAC squads and Tennessee State — but that wasn’t enough.

Starting August 28, God and the Delta Variant willing, we will be back to a full-slate of HBCU football. There are lots of great matchups to go around, but as fans, we always want more.

So here are four games not scheduled for 2021 that we would love to see. 

Florida A&M vs. North Carolina A&T 

Three years ago, I wrote a piece on how the MEAC needed FAMU and North Carolina A&T to develop a deep, intense rivalry for the good of the conference. Things worked out well over the next two years. FAMU came up to Greensboro and pulled off an upset of the defending champs to take control of the conference. It would ultimately suffer a collapse that would lead A&T back to the Celebration Bowl again. The 2019 game switched to Tallahassee for a game that was drama-filled from the start and ended up in another FAMU win. A&T would again go on to represent the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl despite FAMU’s superior record and head-to-head win due to an eligibility issue.

So there was much anticipation for the 2020 matchup between the two teams almost as soon as the 2019 matchup was finished. But then 2020 happened. And when the dust settled both schools had declared they were leaving the conference on June 30, 2021. Add in COVID-19 shifting the MEAC football season to the spring, and then FAMU and A&T deciding to pull out and that was all she wrote.

Now A&T is off to the Big South while FAMU is getting cozy in the SWAC. A&T AD Earl Hilton previously mentioned keeping up with MEAC foes like FAMU and others, but as for now, there is no matchup on the books. And its a shame, as these might be the two best HBCU programs in the FCS. Three years ago, I wrote a piece on how the MEAC needed FAMU and North Carolina A&T to develop a deep, intense rivalry for the good of the conference. Things worked out well over the next two years. FAMU came up to Greensboro and pulled off an upset of the defending champs to take control of the conference. It would ultimately suffer a collapse that would lead A&T back to the Celebration Bowl again. The 2019 edition switched to Tallahassee for a game that was drama-filled from the start and ended up in another FAMU win. A&T would again go on to represent the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl despite FAMU’s superior record and head-to-head win due to an eligibility issue.

So there was much anticipation for the 2020 matchup between the two teams almost as soon as the 2019 matchup was finished. But then 2020 happened. And when the dust settled both schools had declared they were leaving the conference on June 30, 2021. Add in COVID-19 shifting the MEAC football season to the spring, and then FAMU and A&T deciding to pull out and that was all she wrote.

Now A&T is off to the Big South while FAMU is getting cozy in the SWAC. A&T AD Earl Hilton previously mentioned keeping up with MEAC foes like FAMU and others, but as for now, there is no matchup on the books. And it’s a shame, as these might be the two best HBCU programs in the FCS. 

Which (non-scheduled) HBCU football game would you like to see the most in 2021?

There are some great HBCU football games on the schedule for 2021. Here are some that we won’t see, but would be fun to watch.

This poll has been finished and no longer available to vote !

Which (non-scheduled) HBCU football game would you like to see the most in 2021?

There are some great HBCU football games on the schedule for 2021. Here are some that we won’t see, but would be fun to watch.

This poll has been finished and no longer available to vote !

Florida A&M vs. Tennessee State

FAMU and TSU are two of the more storied programs in not only HBCU, but FCS football. Names like Jake Gaither and John Merritt have led the two programs to national prominence and pumped out NFL legends and draft picks like Bob Hayes, Too Tall Jones, Richard Dent and the list goes on and on. For many years this was the best non-conference rivalry game in HBCU football, and a popular matchup at the Atlanta Classic.

It has been four years since TSU and FAMU squared off on the field. FAMU was still struggling during the Alex Woods Era while things were starting to go downhill for Rod Reed at TSU. Willie Simmons has breathed new life into Tallahassee, and now Eddie George will be looking to do the same in Nashville.

TSU has won the last six matchups against FAMU. The game isn’t on the docket this year, but hopefully at some point soon we will see these two get together again. 

Jackson State vs. North Carolina A&T 

This is not a traditional rivalry, but that doesn’t matter. North Carolina A&T has been one of the best programs in the FCS over the last half-decade, Jackson State has been a middle-of-the-road-at-best program inn the SWAC. But that doesn’t matter. 

As soon as Deion Sanders was hired at Jackson State, he became the face of HBCU football. It’s just a fact. And many people who had been laboring in the HBCU football world over the years felt some type of way about that. Especially the guys over on East Market Street in Greensboro, NC. The way the fans, alumni and even some of the players and coaches reacted to the attention given to JSU says all you need to know about the climate of HBCU football heading into this fall. In previous years this would have been a possible matchup in the Celebration Bowl, but with A&T leaving for the Big South, that’s out of the question.

The only way the two programs will get together now is if they schedule a non-conference game in a future year. A&T has taken to filling its schedule several years in advance, so by the time it has an open spot, we could be in a different place. For now, this one will have to be played out on keyboards and phone screens around the country. 

Alabama A&M

Alabama A&M vs. Alcorn State

This has been a yearly game since Alabama A&M moved to the SWAC from the SIAC in 1999. Both teams have fierce primary rivals (AAMU vs. Alabama State and Alcorn State vs. JSU), so this hasn’t ever really been considered a rivalry game at all. That is, until Alcorn State decided to sit out the 2021 spring football season, taking away the one home game that AAMU was slated to have during that shortened run.

AAMU head coach Connell Maynor and his players took exception to the fact that Fred McNair’s Alcorn State team was still practicing despite sitting out for “COVID-19” concerns. He made it clear in the media, and the war of words began. AAMU would go on unbeaten in the spring, picking up the SWAC Championship along the way.

Alcorn State fans, in general, would like to put an asterisk beside that championship. Alabama A&M and its supporters aren’t trying to hear it and would love nothing more than to prove it to their former division rivals. There’s only one way that will happen in 2021, though, and that’s if they meet in the SWAC Championship Game.

This is just one HBCU football wish-list. Who is on yours?

HBCU football dream matchups 2021
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