Jackson State To Face Bethune-Cookman At TIAA Bank Field | HBCUs Doing Battle In An NFL Stadium Is A Continuation Of Deion Sanders’ Dream 

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Another step in the right direction as pertains to creating notoriety and exposure for HBCU football is the announcement of the Jackson State Tigers versus Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Oct. 15 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The game will be the Wildcats’ first home game away from their homefield, Daytona Stadium since 2006.

 

 

BCC head coach Terry Sims was glowing in his press release following the announcement.  

“It is going to be great for our guys to get the chance to play in an NFL stadium. For us, to play in a city like Jacksonville, with our great supporting alumni associations, it will be very exciting, and it still is a close enough drive up the road for our regular crowds from Daytona to attend. We are looking forward to the opportunity for our team and for our fans.”

Deion Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers are the main attraction in all of HBCU football, so it’s a smart business move to capitalize on playing them at your place or at a neutral site. Last season, the Tigers were the most watched road team in the SWAC. When they came, so did the fans, and that’s exactly what Coach Prime was aiming for.

The words visibility and notoriety have been at the forefront of Deion Sanders’ arrival at Jackson State. Without Sanders’ exceptional job at promoting his school and Black College Football, which in turn has led to an increase in revenue and HBCU players being drafted into the NFL.

Coach Prime tackled two of the major challenges facing HBCUs head on. As we saw this past April, four HBCU players were drafted outright, and numerous others received free agent minicamp invites. Some undrafted players signed free agent deals with various NFL franchises. That’s a direct result of their talent first of all, but also the tireless efforts to put HBCU football on front street.

The Tigers beat the Wildcats by 30 last season (42-12).

 

Jacksonville Mayor Excited To Have HBCU Football Make A Pit Stop

Following the announcement, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry expressed his gratitude for the game coming to his city.

“The City of Jacksonville is excited to host the Bethune-Cookman vs Jackson State University football game at TIAA Bank Field this fall. This game is another great example of the premier sports and entertainment events making their way to downtown Jacksonville. We look forward to welcoming players, students, and fans from throughout the region to our beautiful city.”

While the city has the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team isn’t very good, and as of now their biggest claim to fame is Florida legend Tim Tebow. And, yes, he fizzled out in the pros, but he was undoubtedly one of the greatest college football players to ever grace the gridiron. Fans down there are excited about Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson, who’s replacing the disaster that was known as “Urban Meyer” as Jaguars head coach. 

 

 

JSU Will Also Play At Hard Rock Stadium In Orange Blossom Classic

The award tour for the JSU Tigers also includes another season-opening stop in Miami Gardens to match up against the FAMU Rattlers in the Orange Blossom Classic. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN, and the winner of this one has the inside track to the SWAC Championship Game and the Celebration Bowl. Last season’s matchup was won 7-6 by the Tigers in a rainstorm.

 

With both teams fully loaded and ready to rock again in 2022, this is being called the preseason SWAC Game of the Year. As it should, with the Tigers the defending SWAC champions and the Rattlers making an FCS playoff appearance last season.