HBCU Football Success and Fails — Week 1

Tracking highlights and lowlights from the 2016 black college football season

Tracking highlights and lowlights from the 2016 black college football season

The black college football season opened last weekend with outcomes both predictable and unpredictable, and unique headlines and characters.

The Weather Channel

Weather impacted several prominent HBCU football games throughout the weekend, most notably, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge which was trending through the second quarter to become an instant classic between Alcorn State University and Bethune-Cookman University before lightning around Daytona Beach forced delays and eventually, its cancellation.

Lightning also twice delayed the annual Labor Day Classic rivalry between Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University, but eventually played on for a PVAMU Panther 29–25 comeback win over the Tigers in front of a capacity crowd for the grand opening of the new Panther football stadium.

Weather also pushed back Norfolk State University’s Labor Day Classic matchup against Elizabeth City State University from Saturday to Sunday, but the Spartans won the closer-than-expected matchup 20–12 over the Vikings.


The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference posted some of the best games of the weekend, as Morehouse College defeated Edward Waters College 19–13 on a last-second touchdown run following an hour-long weather delay to begin the game, and Benedict College snapped a 12-game losing streak extending back to October 2014 with a 5–3 win over Livingstone College in the Palmetto Capital City Classic.

In the first match-up in six seasons between the two schools, Miles College also broke two losing streaks with a 31–24 comeback victory over Fort Valley State University in the Labor Day Golden Classic in Birmingham. The Bears snapped a 12-year losing streak to the Wildcats 2004, (including two NCAA vacated wins in 2003 and 2004) and their first Classic victory since 2010.

The Human Jukebox

If all of the marching band’s videos are going to look like this… you can kiss the fan-made, 50-rows-up-in-the-stands YouTube catalog goodbye. Could be the best HBCU marching band halftime show video ever made.


On the heels of conference commissioner Dennis Thomas asking for black America to take a bigger investment stake in HBCU athletics, all but two of the conference’s members schools lost home openers to predominantly white institutional opponents. The two schools which didn’t take L’s on opening weekend — North Carolina A&T and Norfolk State, which played two CIAA schools.

Southern Football on Television?

If you missed Southern University football on ESPNU last night, the Bayou Classic appears to be the last opportunity you’ll have to catch the Jaguars this season. A look at this year’s schedule show that those will be the only two televised games for the team this year:

but when compared to last year’s slate? One fewer appearances on ESPN, and no appearances on local Cox Sports broadcasts.

Roland Martin

Texas A&M University alum Roland Martin stopped through Houston for the Labor Day Classic, but school officials from PVAMU and TSU could not reach him in time to replace his Texas A&M polo with HBCU game day gear.

Benedict vs. Livingstone

Yes, Benedict made the success list for breaking a long losing streak. But any game in which both teams collect a net of 40 total yards because of 28 penalties and for 266 negative yards, has to earn a spot in the fail column.