Black College football season kicks off in September and during this time fans look forward to the HBCU Classics. What are HBCU Classics? Unlike bowl games, these annual football matchups are often played at neutral sites during the regular season. They are more than a game; they are weekend extravaganza accompanied by the battle of the bands, concerts, parades, and parties. Visit our Top 5 HBCU Football Classics ranked by attendance get an idea of more popular games.
HBCU Classic History
The Classics date back as early as 1924 with the Turkey Day Classic between Tuskegee and Alabama State. This year the Magic City Classic that began in 1940 will celebrate its 75th anniversary. One of the newest classics began in 2011 in Washington, DC as Nation’s Football Classic. Initially, the annual matchup pitted Howard and Morehouse; since 2015 the event featured Howard and Hampton Universities.
Labor Day Weekend Games
The first in a series of HBCU Classic will start on Labor Day weekend. Some of these games include the Palmetto Capital City Classic in South Carolina, the John Merrit Classic in Tennessee, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge wich moved from Orlando to Daytona Beach Florida this year. Of course, we have to mention the Labor Day Classic and its classic in-state rivalry between Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M.
HBCU National Championship
Popularly nicknamed the “HBCU National Championship,” The Celebration Bowl enjoyed a successful debut in 2015. Owned and operated by ESPN, the event will return in 2016 and receive nationally televised coverage on the ABC network for the second year in a row. The game is the successor to the Atlanta Football Classic and takes place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. This exciting postseason match-up features the conference champion from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion.
Here is the 2016 HBCU Classics Football Schedule:
Palmetto Capital City Classic
|Livingstone College vs. Benedict College||Sept 3||4 PM|
John Merritt Classic
|Arkansas–Pine Bluff vs. Tennessee State||Sept 3||6 PM|
Daytona Beach, FL
|Alcorn State vs. Bethune-Cookman||Sept 4||12 PM|
Labor Day Classic
Prairie View, TX
|Prairie View vs. Texas Southern||Sept 4||5 PM|
West End Classic
|Edward Waters vs. Livingstone College||Sept 10||3 PM|
Chicago Football Classic
|Clark Atlanta vs. Central State||Sept 10||3:30 PM|
Southern Heritage Classic
|Tennessee State vs. Jackson State||Sept 10||6 PM|
Two Rivers Classic
|Fayetteville State vs. UNC Pembroke||Sept 10||7 PM|
Nations Football Classic
|Hampton vs. Howard||Sept 17||3:30 PM|
Down East Viking Football Classic
Rocky Mount, NC
|Morehouse vs. Elizabeth City State||Sept 17||4 PM|
W.C. Gorden Classic
|Grambling State vs. Jackson State||Sept 17||6 PM|
5th Quarter Classic
|Florida A&M vs. Tuskegee||Sept 17||7 PM|
Circle City Classic
|Kentucky State vs. Central State||Sept 24||3 PM|
Eddie McGirt Classic
|Elizabeth City State vs. Johnson C. Smith||Sept 24||4 PM|
State Fair Classic
|Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State||Oct 1||3 PM|
|Tuskegee vs. Morehouse||Oct 8||2 PM|
Boom Box Classic
|Jackson State vs. Southern University||Oct 15||6 PM|
Magic City Classic
|Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State||Oct 29||TBA|
|Livingstone vs. Johnson C. Smith||Nov 5||1 PM|
Fountain City Classic
|Albany State vs. Ft. Valley State||Nov 5||2 PM|
Battle of the Bay
|Hampton vs. Norfolk State||Nov 19||1 PM|
|Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M||Nov 19||2:30 PM|
Turkey Day Classic
|Alabama State vs. Miles College||Nov 21||3 PM|
New Orleans, LA
|Southern vs. Grambling State||Nov 26||4 PM|
|MEAC Conf. Champion vs. SWAC Conf. Champion||Dec 17||TBA|
That completes our 2016 HBCU Classics football schedule. If you have an HBCU Classic you would like to see added to this list or have feedback, message us on our contact form.
We hope to see you this fall at one these HBCU events.
Michael Grubbs says
75th Magic City Classic not 76th!
HBCU Reports says
Thanks Michael! We’ve made that correction.