HBCU Classics 2023: Thrills, Skills, and Historic Moments

Last Updated on August 20, 2023

A grid of three images from HBCU Classics games, including one of the Alabama State Singetts on the sideline at the Magic City Classic (left), the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and the Florida A&M Rattler Football teams squabbling at the line of scrimmage at the Florida Classic game (top right), and Grambling Tigers fans cheering in the stands at the Bayou Classic game (bottom right). See the full schedule of the HBCU Classics 2023 events in this post.
Photo credits: Hale Nall Productions (YouTube), the Florida Classic, and the Bayou Classic website.

For anyone in the world of HBCU sports, the HBCU Classics 2023 is more than just a series of games; it's a showcase of culture, heritage, and unmatched athletic prowess. From the bustling tailgates to the electric atmosphere of the stadium, HBCU Classics are where memories are made.

A Brief History of HBCU Classics and Their Importance

Ever been to the HBCU New York Classic? If not, you're missing out. The HBCU Classics started as vibrant battles on the field, evolving into large-scale cultural events. 

Over the years, the classics have given HBCUs a chance to show off not only their talent but also their rich history. Each classic tells a story about pride and competition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

👩🏾‍💻 ALSO READ: Epic HBCU Homecoming 2023: Football, Fellowship, and Fun!

Did you know the HBCU Labor Day Classic 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina, from September 1-3, is poised to be a record-breaker? Thousands will flock for the Battle of the Bands, Fan Fest Weekend, a college and career fair. Check out the key HBCU Classics 2023 key matchups.

Key Matchups of 2023 HBCU Football

MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff: Jackson State vs. South Carolina State

  • When & Where: Aug. 26th, Center Parc Stadium
  • Details: A thrilling rematch from the 2022 Celebration Bowl. Both teams seek to dominate in only their second face-off ever.
  • Significance: Kickstarts the HBCU football season, setting the tone for what's to come.

82nd Magic City Classic: Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M

  • When & Where: Oct. 28th, Historic Legion Field
  • Details: With 82 matches and counting, this showdown remains the No. 1 HBCU Classic in the nation.
  • Significance: Beyond the game, the battle of the bands takes center stage with performances from A&M’s Marching Maroon & White and ASU’s Mighty Marching Hornets.

Florida Blue Florida Classic: Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M

  • When & Where: Nov. 18th, Camping World Stadium
  • Details: The 25th game of the nation’s top HBCU football rivalry.
  • Significance: The game's halftime show is a spectacle in itself, featuring the Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman and the Marching “100” from FAMU.

50th Annual Bayou Classic: Grambling State vs. Southern

  • When & Where: Saturday, Nov. 25th, Caesars Superdome
  • Details: A milestone match-up, recognized as one of the top HBCU Classics.
  • Significance: Half a century of rivalry and passion between Grambling State and Southern.

Have you ever wondered about the Chicago Football Classic 2023? Or perhaps you're eager for the full HBCU Football Classics 2023 schedule? As we inch closer, expect nothing short of spectacular from each football classic game. See the schedule below to select the 2023 HBCU football classic you want to attend.

HBCU Football Classics 2023 Schedule

MEAC/SWAC ChallengeJackson State vs. South Carolina StateAtlanta, GAAug. 26
Labor Day ClassicClark Atlanta vs. Kentucky StateFrankfort, KYAug. 31
Big Cat ClassicEdward Waters vs. Florida MemorialJacksonville, FLSept. 2
Chicago Football ClassicMississippi Valley State vs. Central StateChicago, ILSept. 2
Brick City ClassicGrambling State vs. HamptonHarrison, NJSept. 2
Labor Day ClassicNorfolk State vs. Virginia StateNorfolk, VASept. 2
Labor Day ClassicAlabama State vs. SouthernMontgomery, ALSept. 2
Labor Day ClassicPrairie View A&M vs. Texas SouthernHouston, TXSept. 2
Black College Football Hall of Fame ClassicVirginia Union vs. MorehouseCanton, OHSept. 3
Red Tails ClassicFort Valley State vs. TuskegeeMontgomery, ALSept. 3
Orange Blossom ClassicJackson State vs. Florida A&MMiami, FLSept. 3
Pete Richardson Classic (Boombox Classic)Southern vs. Jackson StateBaton Rouge, LASept. 9
Aggie-Eagle ClassicNorth Carolina Central vs. North Carolina A&TGreensboro, NCSept. 9
Southern Heritage ClassicTennessee State vs. Arkansas at Pine BluffMemphis, TNSept. 9
Battle of the BayNorfolk State vs. HamptonHampton, VASept. 9
Down East Viking ClassicElizabeth City State vs. Saint Augustine’sRocky Mount, NCSept. 9
HBCU New York ClassicAlbany State vs. MorehouseEast Rutherford, NJSept. 16
John Merritt ClassicTennessee State vs. Gardner-WebbNashville, TNSept. 16
Battle of Greater BaltimoreMorgan State vs. TowsonBaltimore, MDSept. 16
Delta ClassicMississippi Valley State vs. Delta StateCleveland, MSSept. 16
Battle of the Real HUHoward vs. HamptonWashington, DCSept. 16
Willard Bailey ClassicVirginia Union vs. Fayetteville StateRichmond, VASept. 23
Circle City ClassicMississippi Valley State vs. North Carolina CentralIndianapolis, INSept. 23
W.C. Gorden ClassicJackson State vs. Bethune-CookmanJackson, MSSept. 23
Coastal City ClassicSavannah State vs. Albany StateBrunswick, GASept. 23
State Fair ClassicGrambling State vs. Prairie View A&MDallas, TXSept. 30
Gulf Coast ChallengeJackson State vs. Alabama A&MMobile, ALOct. 7
Magic City ClassicAlabama State vs. Alabama A&MBirmingham, ALOct. 28
AME Football ClassicEdward Waters vs. AllenColumbia, SCOct. 28
Commemorative ClassicLivingstone vs. Johnson C. SmithCharlotte, NCNov. 4
Port City ClassicGrambling State vs. Alabama StateMobile, ALNov. 4
L. Douglas Wider ClassicVirginia Union vs. Virginia StateRichmond, VANov. 4
Raleigh ClassicShaw vs. Saint Augustine’sRaleigh, NCNov. 4
Battle of the AUCClark Atlanta vs. MorehouseAtlanta, GANov. 4
Florida ClassicFlorida A&M vs. Bethune-CookmanOrlando, FLNov. 18
Soul BowlAlcorn State vs Jackson StateLorman, MSNov. 18
Turkey Day ClassicAlabama State vs. TuskegeeMontgomery, ALNov. 23
Bayou ClassicSouthern vs. Grambling StateNew Orleans, LANov. 25
Celebration BowlMEAC champion vs. SWAC championAtlanta, GADec. 16

HBCU Football Classics 2023 Sources: HBCU Sports, Side Arm Sports, NCAA, HBCU Classics event websites

Cultural Celebrations: More Than Just a Game

Beyond touchdowns and tackles:

  • Alumni reunions that rekindle old friendships.
  • Showcases of Black-owned businesses: supporting the community.
  • Halftime shows where HBCU marching bands steal the limelight.

👨🏿‍💻 ALSO READ: HBCU Rankings 2023: The Top 25 Black Colleges from U.S. News

HBCU Classics 2023 is not just another entry in the history of sports. It's a testament to the enduring spirit of Black Colleges and communities. Whether you're an alumnus reminiscing about the good old days, a student experiencing your first classic, or a supporter who's been there year after year – this year promises memories you'll cherish forever.

So, what game from the HBCU Classics 2023 are you most excited about? Whatever it is, here's to another year of exhilarating HBCU football action!

FAQs about HBCU Classics 2023

What is the largest HBCU classic? 

The answer might surprise many newcomers. The title of largest often juggles between the classics, but historically, the Magic City Classic and the Bayou Classic have drawn massive crowds.

How many HBCU football classics are there? 

There are roughly 38 classics celebrated throughout the year in 2023. From the HBCU Labor Day Classic 2023 to the famous MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff, the list is ever-expanding.

When was the first HBCU classic? 

The legacy of the classics goes back decades. The first HBCU classic dates back to 1915 when Wiley College played Homer College in a Louisiana State Fair-sponsored game according to Wikipedia, laying the foundation for what would become monumental annual events.

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