Fans of black college football do not have long to wait to see their favorite teams in action across the nation. All summer long, fans of Tennessee State University have been eagerly anticipating seeing what type of product their new head coach Eddie George will put on the field this season. They, along with many others, won’t have long to wait to see what the teams of our favorite HBCUs will bring to the gridiron. Let’s look at upcoming catfights between the Tigers of TSU, Grambling and Jackson State.
TSU opens its 2021 Fall campaign on the road in Canton, Ohio against Grambling State as the annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic returns to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The game is part of a long celebratory Labor Day weekend that begins Thursday, September 2 with Reading The Playbook at 7 a.m., as local community partners and The Divine Nine (Black Greek Letter fraternity and sorority organizations) join elementary students for a day of reading and inspiring a strong first-quarter start in life. The Classic College Fair at 9 a.m. will provide game-changing higher education opportunities for high school students from the surrounding area, with representatives from colleges, including many HBCUs.
Friday, September 3 (Education Day) has at VIP Reception & Social Justice Discussion at 5:30 p.m., gathering Black College and Pro Football Hall of Famers, leaders from Grambling State and Tennessee State universities, national, state and local dignitaries and national celebrities to discuss social justice issues and solutions as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s HuddleUpAmerica series. The
Classic Step Show is at 7 p.m. Stepping has deep roots in African culture, based on communities that used movements and sound to communicate and show allegiances. The modern step show can be traced back to the early 1900s, when historically African American fraternities and sororities would perform similar dance and music rituals, typically high-spirited chants promoting their organization. This event is also in collaboration with The Divine Nine.
Saturday, September 4 (Community Day) begins with a Classic Golf Outing at 8 a.m. at Clearview Golf Club, the first golf course in the United States that was constructed, owned and operated by an African American. Classic “Greek Service Day” at 9 a.m. has members of The Divine Nine for a “Brush with Kindness” neighborhood beautification project with Habitat for Humanity, Canton. The Classic Fun Fest
At 11 a.m. in Centennial Plaza, Canton, has free entry and is open to the public, with non-stop entertainment, including music, karaoke, line dancing, games, prizes and a talent show, along with food trucks and downtown vendors showing off Canton’s finest foods. A Faith, Family, and Football Gospel Concert, featuring Marvin Sapp, with free entry, is also open to the public at 5 P.M. with very special “must see” appearances by the Grambling State and Tennessee State bands.
Sunday, September 5 (Game Day) the Classic Pregame Party starts at 11 a.m. on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Campus, with free entry and open to the public. The tailgate includes a must-see marching band preview as the university marching bands enter the stadium in extraordinary fashion along with non-stop entertainment, including music, line dancing, games, prizes and talent show. The BCFHOF Classic “Black Jacket” Reunion Luncheon is a Private Event at 11:30 a.m.
The 2021 BCFHOF Classic Game, Featuring Grambling State University and Tennessee State University kicks off at 4 p.m. as these legendary HBCU programs collide at the magnificent Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. At halftime the Tennessee State University “Aristocrat of Bands” and the “Tiger Marching Band” of Grambling State will put on a show for the ages. After the game, the presentation of the MVP and the trophy to the winning team follow.
The 32nd Southern Heritage Classic® Cultural Celebration September 9-11, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee kicks off Thursday, September 9 with LIVE at The Orpheum at 8 p.m., as The Orpheum Theatre presents an evening of Classic Soul starring Stephanie Mills and Jeffrey Osborne. Friday, September 10, the Classic College & Career Fair is at 9 a.m., Pipkin Building at Tiger Lane/Fairgrounds, with free admission. The Classic Coaches Luncheon is presented by FedEx at Noon, Renasant Convention Center/Grand Ballroom, with special guest speaker Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, Chief of Police, City of Memphis; by invitation only.
Saturday, September 11 begins with the Classic Tailgate at 8 a.m., Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium parking lots and Tiger Lane. Also at 8 a.m., the Memphis District Golf Classic is at Tunica National Golf & Tennis. The Classic Battle of the Bands starts at 11 a.m., Whitehaven High School Stadium, featuring the best high school show bands in the region with show-stopping dance routines. Also at 11 a.m., at Renasant Convention Center/Grand Ballroom the Classic Fashions & Brunch “Back in Stride Again” is presented by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Memphis Chapter.
The Southern Heritage Classic Football Game itself kicks off at 6:00 p.m., Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, with the great football rivalry featuring Tennessee State vs Jackson State. The AutoZone Halftime Show features TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and JSU’s Sonic Boom of the South. After the game, wait out the traffic with the Classic 5th Quarter, the grand finale for the Southern Heritage Classic football game featuring a battle of the bands.
Follow the action live on the TSU digital network. Find the link and more at: tsutigers.com
Other HBCU football games of note coming soon:
Saturday, August 28, the Cricket MEAC SWAC Challenge at Center Parc Stadium between Alcorn State of the SWAC and North Carolina Central of the MEAC. The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is an annual game that features teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Launched in 2005 and played on Labor Day Weekend, the matchup was held for its first three years at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. In 2008, the event moved to Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla. In 2016 and 2017 the event was hosted at campus sites. From 2018-2020 the Challenge was held at Atlanta’s Georgia State Stadium. The MEAC is 10-4 all-time in the event. The game will be televised live on ESPN at 6:00 CDT.
The 2021 Orange Blossom Classic is returning to South Florida after 43 years. The game features FAMU against Jackson State in Miami Gardens, Florida at Hard Rock Stadium on September 5 at 2:00 pm CDT. Current JSU coach Deion Sanders was instrumental in reviving interest in bringing the event back to the Miami area. That game will be televised live on ESPN2.