When Deion Sanders says he wants to be on ESPN — he means that quite literally.
Jackson State will kick off its season against Florida A&M for the second year in a row in the Orange Blossom Classic. And for the second year in a row, the game will be televised on ESPN2.
That’s not quite good enough for Deion Sanders.
Sanders responded to the news that the game would be broadcast on ESPN2 on Instagram with a question.
“How do we get to ESPN2 when we had better ratings than Power 5s that played on the same darn day,” Sanders wrote. “ESPN you are better than that and much smarter than that. Check the ratings please.”
A look at the ratings reveal that Jackson State-FAMU ratings were better than a Saturday noon kickoff game between Stanford and Kansas State, but it didn’t outdraw the Notre Dame/Florida State game played later on Sunday night.
In any event, Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons agrees with Coach Prime.
“Deion Sanders and I are in agreement that the Orange Blossom Classic on Sept. 4 should be nationally televised on ESPN. The reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner (FAMU’s Isaiah Land) and the reigning Jerry Rice Award winner (Jackson State’s Shedeur Sanders) going head-to-head! Last year’s game decided by one point.”
The 2021 OBC was a tight game that finished 7-6 in favor of Jackson State, who went on to claim the SWAC Championship.
While both coaches clearly want the cache of having their game carried on the flagship channel, it should be noted that ESPN2 has the same audience as ESPN — about 76 million people in 2021. The U.S. Open is set to air on ESPN that Sunday.