The Jackson State Tigers under the leadership of Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders are currently 9-0 and have been downright dominant this season. With star quarterback Shedeur Sanders under center and a ballhawking defense that leads the country in yards allowed per play, the belief is it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll represent the SWAC in this year’s Celebration Bowl.
But for Coach Prime, that may not be enough. In fact his recent comments show he wants more for his team. It’s always been his mission since taking the job at the HBCU and raising it to new heights and visibility within the college football landscape.
The outspoken NFL legend and reigning Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, wants his team to participate in a pre-New Year’s Day bowl game.
During his weekly SWAC zoom conference Sanders had this to say about his comments.
“Why can’t that be us? I’m just saying, why can’t it be us? You’ve got teams that are virtually 6-5 going to a bowl game. Ain’t nobody going to see them play. Ain’t nobody turning the channel to witness the foolishness. But you have us that travels deep, travels heavy.
“Not only that, you have us as a people that when — not if — when one of our schools get selected by one of these wonderful Fortune 500 companies that are title sponsor to a bowl game. We will support collectively.”
There are several reasons why this is a long shot.
While Sanders is correct to suggest that JSU can attract a large crowd worthy of sponsorship, he can’t just disregard the teams he referenced as unworthy of Bowl appearances without any context such as schedule strength or strength of conference. Those 6-5 mid-major and Power 5 teams Sanders disparaged, likely play much stiffer competition. A level of comp that JSU doesn’t face in the SWAC.
Secondly, by playing in the Celebration Bowl, by rule, JSU forgoes any other postseason bowl opportunities. But when did the status quo ever stop Coach Prime? He’s been all about change and elevating HBCUs. His ego is always at the forefront, but that’s just the driving force that steers attention to his kids. He’s not beyond campaigning for his school in order to position his players to be seen by a wider audience.
All College Bowl SPONSORS I see there’s a myriad of Bowl cancellations this year due to various reason mainly COVID. We @GoJSUTigersFB would love the opportunity to participate in your bowl games in 2021/2022 Help us change the narrative and invite us! We’re ready. #COACHPRIME
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) December 22, 2020
Sanders Says He’d Play In Celebration Bowl Over FCS Playoffs: Bowl Game After?
Last season the Tigers won their first SWAC title since 2007 and accepted the automatic bid to the Celebration Bowl. In its place, the FCS took FAMU for the playoffs. The Rattlers finished second in the conference behind JSU, by virtue of their 7-6 opening game loss.
Earlier this season Sanders stated that he had no desire to play in the FCS playoffs, but he wouldn’t mind participating in a FBS bowl game. He reaffirmed that during his zoom.
“This is after the the Celebration Bowl. That’s the goal. Let’s get that out of the way. This is after that. This is a pre-New Year’s Day Bowl game that we would love to have an opportunity to play in.”
Matchup With NCCU In Celebration Bowl?
With two games left in the regular season against Alabama A&M and archrival Alcorn State, things are looking good for the Tigers to run the table and complete an undefeated regular season. While both are road games, the Tigers will be heavy favorites, and with those wins they should host the SWAC championship.
Our Players of the Week from week 4:
Davius Richard help keep NC Central undefeated and at the top of the MEAC
Jarveon Howard career high 299 yards help lead Alcorn State comeback victory
Shedeur Sanders career day help keep the Tigers undefeated and at the top of the SWAC pic.twitter.com/eNUqqc2Zpx
— Cricket Celebration Bowl (@CelebrationBowl) September 27, 2022
As we look ahead, things are aligning for a Jackson State vs North Carolina Central Celebration Bowl, which would pit the SWAC’s top defense against the MEAC’s top offense.