DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University released its fall 2021 football schedule for its inaugural season as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Friday.
With an exclusive all Division I schedule that features a host of new opponents, and two FBS road trips to open the season, six of the 11 games will be played in the state of Florida. One Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival – South Carolina State – does remain on the 2021 docket.
Head Coach Terry Sims sees the value of this tough schedule.
“Emerging out of the pandemic we had to be strategic in our approach. Our goal is to build momentum and confidence, test our football team and get them ready to compete at the highest level in this very tough league.” Sims said. “This schedule certainly prepares us in every way by exposing our team to some challenges early and having South Carolina State now as a non-conference rival will allow our fans the chance to make another day trip to follow the Cats.”
B-CU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn W. Thompson knows that after a great legacy with the MEAC comes bold challenges with the journey into a new league.
“Our mission, once we begin competition in the SWAC will change,” Thompson said. “But it is still predicated on achieving championship milestones on and off the field as we embark on a new and exciting experience as a part of this legendary league.”
The new chapter in the rich history of Wildcat football begins with two FBS road trips beginning on Sept. 4 with a trip to El Paso, Texas, and a date with the UTEP Miners. The next weekend sees the Cats travel across I-4 to Orlando to meet the UCF Knights and new head coach Gus Malzahn on Sept. 11. It will be B-CU’s first meeting with the Knights since 2014.
After 40 years in the MEAC, Bethune-Cookman’s era in the SWAC begins at home on Sept. 18 as the Cats host Eastern Division opponent Alabama A&M at Daytona Stadium. The Bulldogs feature Daytona Mainland alum and star wide receiver, Brian “Juice” Jenkins, the son of former Wildcat head coach Brian Jenkins, Sr., as the local kid returns home to face the hometown team.
On Sept. 25, the Cats travel to Montgomery, Ala., for the first time in decades to visit the Alabama State Hornets in the second week of SWAC East matchups.
October 2 brings about the end of the non-conference portion of the slate as the Cats travel to Orangeburg, S.C., to resume a long-standing rivalry with the MEAC’s South Carolina State Bulldogs in a matchup most expect to continue because of fan interest and proximity.
The Cats host Mississippi Valley State for homecoming on Oct. 9 in another crucial SWAC Eastern Division matchup, followed by Western Division member Prairie View A&M’s first-ever Daytona Beach appearance on Oct. 16.
It’s a big “Prime Time” road trip on Oct. 23 to Jackson State as the Cats roll into Mississippi for a date against Coach Deion “Prime Time” Sanders and the Tigers in Jackson Memorial Stadium.
October 30 calls for the Cats to be off Halloween weekend in preparation for Senior Day on Nov. 6 as the Alcorn State Braves return to Daytona Beach. The last time these two teams met was in 2017 for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge that was postponed because of lightning early in the first half.
The Cats hit the road for the longest SWAC trip of the year as they travel to Grambling to face the Tigers on Nov. 13. The last time the Cats were in Grambling they escaped with a heart-racing 58-52 win in Sims’ first win as head football coach in 2015.
The final week of the regular season ends the way it always does…in Orlando…in front of everybody…with everything on the line. The Cats visit FAMU in the Florida Blue Florida Classic on Nov. 20 looking to make it 10 in a row over the Rattlers, with both teams now seeking to earn a spot in the SWAC Championship game on Dec 4.
Season tickets will go on sale on March 15 at the B-CU Box Office. All home games in Daytona Beach will be played at Daytona Stadium and kickoff times will be subject to change based on television and broadcast schedules.
2021 Bethune-Cookman Football Schedule
|September 4, 2021 (Saturday)||University of Texas at El Paso||El Paso, TX|
|September 11, 2021 (Saturday)||University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL|
|September 18, 2021 (Saturday)||Alabama A&M University||Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Stadium|
|September 25, 2021 (Saturday)||Alabama State University||Montgomery, AL|
|October 2, 2021 (Saturday)||South Carolina State University||Orangeburg, SC|
|October 9, 2021 (Saturday)||Mississippi Valley State||Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Stadium|
|October 16, 2021 (Saturday)||Prairie View A&M University||Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Stadium|
|October 23, 2021 (Saturday)||Jackson State University||Jackson, MS|
|November 6, 2021 (Saturday)||Alcorn State University||Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Stadium|
|November 13, 2021 (Saturday)||Grambling State University||Grambling, LA|
|November 20, 2021 (Saturday)||Florida A&M University||Orlando, FL|
Courtesy: Bethune-Cookman Athletics