Southern to meet Florida A&M in MEAC/SWAC Challenge
A look at the HBCU schools.
If you talk to Southern head coach Pete Richardson about the season opener against Florida A&M, he feels it will be a real challenge for the Jaguars when the teams meet in the third annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.on Saturday (ESPN Classic, 1 p.m. ET).
HBCU football on ESPNU:
• Texas Southern vs. Prairie View A&M
Saturday, 10 p.m. ET
• Complete TV schedule
• ESPNU TV schedule
The inaugural matchup of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in 2005 showcased the MEAC's South Carolina State vs. Alabama State of the SWAC, with South Carolina State winning, 27-14. Last year's game was settled in overtime with the MEAC's Hampton nipping the SWAC's Grambling State, 27-26. • This game has featured some outstanding players such as Alabama State's Tarvaris Jackson and Hampton's Justin Durant. Jackson is the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Durant is a rookie linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars. • Reggie Barlow was Jackson's quarterback coach at ASU for two years. Barlow will be making his coaching debut for the Hornets on Saturday against Jacksonville State at home. Barlow replaced Charles Coe who left ASU to become an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders. • Rod Broadway will make his first appearance as Grambling State's head coach. Broadway was the head coach at North Carolina Central last year. He led the Eagles to the CIAA championship and the NCAA Division II playoffs. NCCU was also named the National Black College Champions. • Delaware State will host Coastal Carolina, the three-time defending Big South Conference championships this Saturday. The Hornets will have a chance to unveil that great passing combination with quarterback Vashon Winton (132.8 quarterback rating) and Shaheer McBride (55 receptions, 852 yards, 11 TDs). • South Carolina State will open its season against Air Force on the road this Saturday. In two weeks, the Bulldogs will visit the University of South Carolina in Columbia. South Carolina State will try to stay competitive against Division I-A programs before the MEAC schedule gets in full swing. • Florida A&M will celebrate two golden anniversaries this season -- for the 1957 National Championship Team and for venerable Bragg Memorial Stadium. The 1957 Rattler football team, which will be celebrated during the annual Toast To The Champions FAMU Football Reunion, Sept. 14-15, had a number of notable football players including John D. Glover, a Miami native who would eventually become the highest-ranking African American in the FBI in the 1980s, as associate director. The Rattlers pounded the opposition 343-41, recorded four shutouts and allowed more than six points in a game once -- a 27-21 Orange Blossom Classic win over Maryland State (now Maryland Eastern Shore). The nucleus of this group would capture two other national titles in 1959 (10-0) and 1961 (10-0). • Bragg Memorial Stadium, in its current incarnation, was completed for play in 1957, just in time to serve as home for the first eight national championship teams ... Forty of the 49 Rattler teams to call Bragg home have turned in winning seasons ... The original facility seated 10,700 fans and bleacher seats increased the capacity to 13,200 ... After renovations were completed in 1981, the venue was expanded to its current capacity of 25,500.
Donald Hunt is a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune.