“I Don’t Give A Darn About A Poll” | Deion Sanders Makes It Clear Jackson State’s Goal Is To Make The Celebration Bowl, Not FCS Playoffs

Coach Deion Prime Sanders talks with his son, Shedeur Sanders, Jackson State University Quarterback before the start of the second half of the game against Florida A&M University at Hard Rock Stadium on September 5th, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU University Communications/Jackson State University via Getty Images)

Jackson State head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has been blunt about his intentions as the head of the JSU Tigers football program.

As he’s done since his September 2020 hiring, Coach Prime has repeatedly told the media and anyone else who’s listening that the vision for his program is what he’s focused on and he’s going to do everything in his power to see it come to fruition.

Sanders has repeatedly said that the goal of the JSU Tigers is to win the SWAC and represent the conference in the Celebration Bowl not to qualify for the FCS playoffs. During a press conference this week Sanders delved into why he focuses on the Celebration Bowl.

 

Sanders Could Care Less About Polls

During his presser it was brought to Sanders’ attention that his Tigers were ranked No. 9 in the FCS Top 25. In typical Sanders fashion, he didn’t seem moved at all by the ranking, saying this.

“I don’t give a darn about a poll.”

“What is a poll going to do for us?”

Sanders could not care less about the rankings helping as it pertains to playoff seeding. He’s focused solely on the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

“What playoffs? We want to go to the Celebration Bowl.”

“Are they paying for the playoffs? Do they pay for the playoffs?”

It’s all about revenue and the FCS playoffs doesn’t come close to the lucrative payout the competing schools receive for the Celebration Bowl game.

Celebration Bowl Is The De Facto Black College Football National Championship

The Celebration Bowl began in 2015 and is currently played between the winners of the SWAC and MEAC conferences. It is the only bowl game played between two Football Championship Subdivision programs. Last season Coach Prime’s Tigers lost to the South Carolina State Bulldogs, but both schools took home a $1 million payday for making it to the game.

The FAMU Rattlers who didn’t qualify for the Celebration Bowl by virtue of a head-to-head loss to JSU, were chosen for the FCS playoffs once Coach Prime’s squad made the Celebration Bowl. And while head coach Willie Simmons and his guys were happy to be there, playing in the bowl game is a much more lucrative deal.

In 2018, SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland even said that other FCS teams would like the opportunity to participate in bowl games instead of the current playoffs.

“There are other FCS conferences inquiring about how they can be part of a bowl game that the SWAC and MEAC are participating in. It really tells you how far this game has come.”

While that hasn’t come to fruition it seems to be something that other programs wouldn’t mind seeing happen. As far as Coach Prime and JSU go, it’s all about making the Celebration Bowl and getting that payday.

The FBS schools all get big money to participate in a variety of different bowl games, maybe the FCS should look into doing the same.


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