With the start of the college football season less than a week away, it is never too early to look ahead at all the great HBCU classic match ups.
Here are five notable games to keep an eye on in 2014.
Palmetto Capital City Classic — South Carolina State v. Benedict – Aug. 30
This rivalry was put on hold for nine years prior to its return in 2013. In last year’s tilt, South Carolina State cruised to a 59-6 win over Benedict.
Benedict was recently picked seventh in the SIAC preseason football poll, while South Carolina State — last season’s MEAC co-champion — was picked to finish second behind Bethune-Cookman for the second straight year.
MEAC/SWAC Challenge — Alabama A&M v. North Carolina A&T – Aug. 31
The MEAC holds a 7-2 advantage over the SWAC in the nine games played between the two conferences since 2004.
North Carolina A&T comes into the 2014 game off a respectable 7-4 2013 season, while Alabama A&M rolls into the opener under first-year head coach James Spady.
Ironically, North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway coached Grambing State in the 2009 MEAC/SWAC Challenge in a 34-31 loss to South Carolina State.
AT&T Nation’s Football Classic — Howard v. Morehouse – Sept. 13
The AT&T Nation’s Football Classic will be the last time Morehouse and Howard will meet for the foreseeable future.
Bahamas HBCUX Football Classic — Central State v. Texas Southern – Sept. 13
It’s the first HBCU football game played outside the U.S. since the 1970s.
Curtis Symonds, CEO of the HBCUX Network, said bringing the football game to the Bahamas will truly be a “unique experience” on so many different levels. “HBCU’s are looking for places where they can grow and provide more exposure to who they are. Bringing the classic to the Bahamas for the next three years I think is a drive to creating an HBCU destination in the Bahamas, and that is big. It is very big,” he said.
Southern Heritage Classic — Jackson State v. Tennessee State – Sept 13
It’s the 25th installment of the early September classic features two storied HBCU programs.
Tennessee State comes into the matchup ranked in the Top 25 in multiple preseason FCS polls and winner of the last two contests against Jackson State.
This will be the first major test for new Jackson State head coach Harold Jackson and the defending SWAC East champs.
Tennessee State leads the series with a 13-11 record.