The Florida A&M Rattlers and the Jackson State Tigers will be in the national spotlight once again in the third annual Orange Blossom Classic.
Once again, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, the game is scheduled to air on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST.
The previous editions have been televised on ESPN2.
The elevation of the game was a long-held desire by FAMU coach Willie Simmons and former JSU coach Deion Sanders.
“How do we get to ESPN2 when we had better ratings than Power 5s that played on the same darn day?” Sanders asked on Instagram in response to the release of ESPN’s fall 2022-23 college football schedule. “ESPN you are better than that and much smarter than that. Check the ratings please.”
Simmons agreed: “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 (was) decided by one point.”
Both Florida A&M and Jackson State have been the top two teams in the SWAC East since 2021 with each finishing last season with 9 and 12 wins, respectively.
In what will be the Rattlers’ season opener, they are looking for their first win in the renewed series against Jackson State after losing each of the last two meetings.
Last year, Jackson State won in decisive fashion 59-3.
Jackson State, looking to three-peat as SWAC champions, will be playing their first Orange Blossom Classic under new head coach T.C. Taylor.
Jackson State’s season kicks off one week prior when they play in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge against South Carolina State, airing on ABC.