There is nothing like an HBCU classic experience. HBCU football classics are rich cultural tradition of pageantry and fellowship between black college students, alumni family, and friends that have been around for generations. The oldest classic dates back to 1924, with the Turkey Day Classic, an annual meeting between Tuskegee University and Alabama State University.
The HBCU classic games are different from many NCAA bowl games for the simple fact they occur during the regular season. The classics are typically a 2-3 day affair. It includes community outreach events, parades, step-shows, tailgating, and the unforgettable half-time shows that included the battle of the bands. Below is a list of the top 5 Historically Black Colleges and Universities football classic games. The attendance numbers are based on the 2011 football season. For the 2012 results visit the Top 5 HBCU Classics for 2012 article.
1. Magic City Classic
The State Farm Magic City Classic is currently ranked the largest black college football classic in the country. This contest features in-state rivals Alabama State University vs. Alabama A&M University at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. This year’s contest will be played on October 27, 2012. The game has been around since 1924 with a record of 35-31-3, AAMU leading the series.
2. Florida Classic
The Florida Blue Florida Classic has the second largest crowd. Since 1978 Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University have battled for in-state bragging rights. This year’s contest at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida will be played on November 17th, 2012. FAMU leads the series 21-10.
3. Atlanta Football Classic
The Atlanta Football Classic has the nation’s third largest Black college football game. The game has been an Atlanta tradition since 1989. This year’s contest pits Southern University against Florida A&M University in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. The game kicks-off on September 29, 2012. Of the four teams that have appeared in this classic, FAMU leads the series with a 13-3 record.
4. Bayou Classic
The Bayou Classic saw a slight increase in attendance from the previous year, making it the nation’s fourth largest Black college football game. This historic game of HBCU rivals between Grambling State University and Southern University has been played since 1974. This year’s game will be played in the newly renovated Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, LA. The game will air on the NBC network on November 24, 2012. GSU leads the series with a 20-18 record.
5. Southern Heritage Classic
The Southern Heritage Classic rounds out at the nation’s fifth largest HBCU classic, and one of the most passionate rivalries around. Jackson State University and Tennessee State University are two of the most storied black college football programs in the country. The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee has been the classic’s home since 1990. This year’s game was held on Saturday, September 8, 2012. TSU has a six-game winning streak in the Classic.
Sources: Magic City Classic, Florida Classic, Atlanta Football Classic, Southern Heritage Classic, Grambling State University, Facebook, Ticketmaster, and Kevin M. Robinson.