The 2022 HBCU College football season is upon us, and with it comes the “Classic”.
These historic (and in some cases new) contests between rivals of all kinds – inter-, intraconference, and/or in-state — are also identified as “Battles,” “Bowls,” “Challenges,” and “Showdowns,” but regardless of the name, these pastimes continue to be a celebration of African American sports and culture.
Once again, the start of the FCS HBCU college football season will kick off in Atlanta with the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. This year’s participants — Alabama State and Howard — have yet to play in the Celebration Bowl. As a matter of fact, teams that have started their year playing in the Challenge have yet to participate in the Black College National Championship Game.
As the Hornets and Bison look to change history, every MEAC or SWAC program participating in one of the 26 games listed below will be looking to play on Northside Drive this December.
Here are the FCS HBCU Football Classics scheduled for 2022 (all times Eastern):
Weekend of Aug. 25-28
MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Atlanta, GA (Aug. 27, ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Alabama State vs. Howard
Matchup of the Weekend: MEAC/SWAC Challenge
It’s the first time both teams have participated in this Classic. With a record of 11-4, the MEAC has dominated the SWAC in The Challenge. The Hornets haven’t beaten a MEAC opponent since 2010. The Bison haven’t won a season opener since 2017. A streak will be broken on Saturday.
Weekend of Sept. 1-4
Battle of the Real HU, Hampton, VA (Sept. 3, FloSports, 6 p.m.)
Howard at Hampton
Labor Day Classic, Montgomery, AL (Sept. 3, ESPN+, 6 p.m.)
Miles at Alabama State
Labor Day Classic, Prairie View, TX (Sept. 3, ESPN+, 7 p.m.)
Texas Southern at Prairie View A&M
Pete Richardson Classic, Baton Rouge, LA (Sept. 3, Jaguars Sports Network, 7 p.m.)
Florida Memorial at Southern
Duke’s Mayo Classic (Aggie-Eagle Classic), Charlotte, NC (Sept. 3, ESPN3, 7:30 p.m./ESPNU, 10:30 p.m.)
North Carolina Central vs. North Carolina A&T
Orange Blossom Classic, Miami Gardens, FL (Sept. 4, ESPN2, 3 p.m.)
Florida A&M vs. Jackson State
Matchup of the Weekend: Orange Blossom Classic
Howard and TSU are looking to earn their first win over Hampton and PVAMU respectively since 2014, Central looks for redemption after being outscored 160-24 in their four previous games against A&T, but THE Classic of this weekend will feature the debut of the nation’s No. 1 overall college football prospect, Travis Hunter, in what could be the game that decides the SWAC East Division champion.
Weekend of Sept. 8-11
Southern Heritage Classic, Memphis, TN (Sept. 10, JSU Sports Network, 7 p.m.)
Jackson State vs. Tennessee State
Jake Gaither Classic, Tallahassee, FL (Sept. 10, HBCU GO, 6 p.m.)
Albany State at Florida A&M
Battle for Greater Baltimore, Towson, MD (Sept. 10, Maryland Public Television, 7 p.m.)
Morgan State at Towson
Matchup of the Weekend: Southern Heritage Classic
In what could be the final iteration of the SHC that feature these two programs, Coach George looks to return the favor after losing to Jackson State 38-16 last year.
Weekend of Sept. 15-18
Battle of the Bay, Norfolk, VA (Sept. 17, ESPN+, 2 p.m.)
Hampton at Norfolk State
W.C. Gorden Classic, Jackson, MS (Sept. 17, ESPN3, 2 p.m./ESPNU, 10:30 p.m.)
Grambling State at Jackson State
HBCU New York City Football Classic. East Rutherford, NJ (Sept. 17, CNBC, 3 p.m.)
Morehouse vs. Howard
Louis Crews Classic, Huntsville, AL (Sept. 17, Bulldog Sports Network/YouTube, 3 p.m.)
Austin Peay at Alabama A&M
Arlington Football Showdown, Arlington, TX (Sept. 17, HBCU GO, 5 p.m.)
Southern vs. Texas Southern
Matchup of the Weekend: W.C. Gorden Classic
In a weekend filled with a bitter feud between schools from neighboring cities, HBCU football returning to MetLife Stadium, Austin Peay playing against a second HBCU in as many weeks, and TSU looking to prove that they can possibly be title contenders in the SWAC, the weekend is highlighted by Coach Sanders welcoming Hue Jackson to the conference in what could be a preview of this year’s SWAC Title Game preview.
Weekend of Sept. 29-Oct. 2
John Merritt Classic, Nashville, TN (Oct. 1, ESPN+, 2 p.m.)
Lane vs. Tennessee State
State Fair Classic, Dallas, TX (Oct. 1, HBCU GO, 7 p.m.)
Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M
Matchup of the Weekend: State Fair Classic
The historic Cotton Bowl will again play host to a game that dates back to 1925. Hue Jackson and Bubba McDowell will lead their respective programs for the first time in the matchup that has been exclusively Grambling vs. Prairie View since 1985.
Weekend of Oct. 13-16
Truth & Service Classic, Washington, D.C. (Oct. 15, ESPN3, 4 p.m.)
Harvard at Howard
St. Louis River City HBCU Football Classic, St. Louis, MO (Oct. 16, UAPB Sports Network, 4 p.m.)
Alabama A&M vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Matchup of the Weekend: Truth & Service Classic
HBCU Football returning to The Gate City is trumped by the first-ever matchup between these two prestigious institutions, which will take place at Audi Field on the heels of the Bison facing the Crimson’s Ivy League brethren, Yale.
Weekend of Oct. 27-30
BoomBox Classic, Jackson, MS (Oct. 29, ESPN+, 2 p.m.)
Southern at Jackson State
Magic City Classic, Birmingham, AL (Oct. 29, ESPN+, 3:30 p.m.)
Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State
Matchup of the Weekend: BoomBox Classic
These two definitive SWAC contests will be spotlighted by a potential preview of the 2022 conference title game. Last year, JSU snapped their eight-game losing streak against Southern on their way to defeating the Dooley-led PVAMU Panthers in the SWAC Title Game. Both Dooley and the Jags are looking for vindication.
Weekend of Nov. 10-13
Gulf Coast Challenge, Mobile, AL (Nov. 12, ESPN+, 5 p.m.)
Alabama A&M vs. Jackson State
Highlight: Gulf Coast Challenge
“Is that all? We wanted to make sure every light on the scoreboard works” is what Coach Sanders said after JSU scored 61 points in last year’s matchup, which included a pink scooter and an appearance from wrestling legend Ric Flair. How will Part III of this rivalry between Coach Sanders and Coach Maynor play out this season?
Weekend of Nov. 17-20
Soul Bowl, Lorman, MS (Nov. 19, ESPN+, 3 p.m.)
Jackson State at Alcorn State
Florida Classic, Orlando, FL (Nov. 19, ESPN+, TBA)
Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M
Matchup of the Weekend: Tie – Soul Bowl and Florida Classic
The Soul Bowl could be a potential SWAC Title Game preview if Coach McNair can rebound from last year’s 6-5 record. A ledger which includes a 24-10 loss to JSU. Coach Sims and the Wildcats will seek retribution in Orlando against their bitter rival after FAMU snapped their nine-game win streak at the Florida Classic last November.
Weekend of Nov. 24-27
Turkey Day Classic, Montgomery, AL (Nov. 24, ESPN+, 3 p.m.)
Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Alabama State
Bayou Classic, New Orleans, LA (Nov. 26, NBC, 2 p.m.)
Grambling State vs. Southern
Matchup of the Weekend: The Bayou Classic
Last year, the Tigers knotted up this series in the 2000s at eleven on a game-winning field goal with seven seconds left on the clock. One of the best rivalries in all of sports, both teams enter what could be the 2022 de facto SWAC West Division Championship Game with new head coaches.