The arrival of Deion Sanders as the head coach of the Jackson State Tigers in September 2020 was a watershed moment. Coach Prime has made Jackson State the premier attraction in all of FCS football, not just the SWAC.
The Tigers have routinely played in front of sellout crowds. As a result, a lot of their opponents are looking to capitalize by having their game against the Tigers moved to a bigger facility. Or scheduling them for homecoming. JSU is a blazing-hot ticket right now.
Last season the Alabama A&M Bulldogs scheduled JSU for their annual homecoming game, losing 61-15. This year it’s the Alabama State Hornets who are doing the honors.
Never one to hold his tongue, Sanders is now calling out teams for what he calls “money games.”
During Monday’s weekly SWAC media day, Sanders had this to say about the festivities in Alabama last year, and this upcoming week.
“Oh, it was so beautiful. It was so energetic. It was heartwarming and lovable. It was just peace in the air. I love it. So now to go to another school in Alabama, to see their homecoming. I can’t wait. And my team can’t either.”
This clip of @DeionSanders talking about playing Bama State for their Homecoming has me IN TEARS! He wants this game to get UGLY! This man called a CONFERENCE game a MONEY game 😂 pic.twitter.com/6oVsj1cY8S
— Jeff Lightsy Jr. (@jlightsy7) October 3, 2022
Sanders also mentioned his Tigers are anticipating their trip to Alabama.
“We can’t wait to get to Alabama to open up this gift.”
Sanders Says He Loves Opponents’ Homecomings: But He Calls It A Money Game
When someone schedules you for their homecoming, it’s usually because they feel they can win that game. For Sanders, who doesn’t see a JSU loss as a remote possibility, it’s all love as far as the bells and whistles of the game go.
“I love going to homecomings. I get to see all the pageantry. I get to see the alumni. I get to see all the dignitaries. I get to see the dance teams. The bands — everybody all dressed up and all beautiful and all the theatrics that surrounds homecoming. I love it.”
Most teams would look at being a team’s homecoming opponent as disrespectful. But Coach Prime sees it another way.
Coach Prime understands that JSU’s popularity is being used by Alabama State to get paid and draw what will probably be their highest attendance of the year.
“The man that’s not thinking would say — that’s disrespectful. But the man that does would say you know what? This is like a money game, isn’t it? This is one of those games that you invite the opponent so you can make a lot of money. Because Jackson State travels deep. They come with all the fanfare, all the love.”
Sanders Says Be Careful What You Wish For
For the Hornets to invite JSU as their homecoming opponent was smart from a business standpoint, but they still have to play the game, and they don’t match up well at all.
“It was brilliant to invite us there because, you’re going to make some money. But what comes with money? All money ain’t good money,” Deion said. “But we gon’ learn.”
Did ASU really make us their Homecoming Game??
— Tim Brewster (@TimBrewster) September 29, 2022
The Hornets are facing a dominant JSU team that’s outscored opponents 190-37 in their first four games.
In July Sanders also called out Bethune-Cookman for moving their game against his Tigers to the Jacksonville Jaguars home stadium, with the expectancy of having JSU fans travel and fill the stadium.
He doesn’t have a problem with it, but he wouldn’t mind some transparency and a “thank you” from the teams involved.
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