The HBCU football landscape has long been rife with highly anticipated matchups that carry intrigue and historical significance.
Tennessee State head Coach Eddie George thinks there is room for one more in that pantheon of great HBCU matchups.
When asked on a recent Ohio Valley Conference football media call if he was open to facing Texas Southern in a “Battle of TSU,” George said, “absolutely.”
“I think we’ve talked about that. It’s just a matter of us figuring out what makes sense for both schools and how that looks,” he said. “Now in this day and age with so much changing between conferences and alliances, you know, that could happen sooner than later, but that probably won’t happen not until (20)25, (20)26. So that could be a possibility.”
The two schools met with a degree of regularity from the 1950s through the early 1990s, with the last matchup occurring in 1999.
Considering the uncertainty of the Southern Heritage Classic and the conference that Tennessee State currently inhabits, the Ohio Valley adding Texas Southern as a replacement would be something the Tennessee State fanbase will get behind.
Since Tennessee State left the ranks of the independents and joined the OVC in 1988, fans have been subjected to a schedule that is chock full of non-HBCU opponents. This bore itself out in the stark contrast in attendance this season.
The games with HBCU opponents averaged 28,378 fans; the games versus non-HBCUs were only able to draw 8,308 on average.
Texas Southern coach Clarence McKinney would be on board with this matchup becoming a reality. When asked about it during Monday’s SWAC coaches media conference, he had this to say:
“Hey, I’m all for it. You know, if it’s something that’s gonna bring a lot of people out to the games and give to HBCUs an opportunity to get some exposure, I say, let’s do it now,” he said.”