The back-to-back champions of the SWAC East will not be on national television during the regular season.
Jackson State, who played in the last two SWAC championship games, would only have an opportunity to play in an nationally televised game in 2014 if they reach the league title game on Dec. 6.
Southern, the defending conference champs, will make three appearances on national television — two on ESPN (Louisiana Lafayette Aug. 30 and Alcorn State Sept. 27) — and on NBC for their annual matchup versus Grambling State in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 29.
Grambling State, coming off its worse two-year run in school history, will also be on three national broadcasts.
Alcorn State, Alabama State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff are the only other SWAC schools that will play in front of a national audience more than once. Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M each will make one such appearance during the season on ESPN.
Although Texas Southern and Prairie View join Jackson State in being left off television sets in 2014, a historic, bedrock program like JSU not being one of the SWAC representatives on the national stage is a puzzling and disappointing oversight.
Jackson State has one of the most passionate and supportive fan bases in all of HBCU football. Not only that, but the program is currently experiencing a consistent wave of success on the field, winning consecutive division championships and appearing in two thrilling conference championship games.
Who could possibly be responsible for this glaring absence? The SWAC? Jackson State? ESPN?
We more than likely will not know in short order for some time, but this isn’t a good look for the conference at all.