ESPN begins its season-long coverage of college football at Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) with the 2022 Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff game on Saturday, Aug. 27. This year’s game matches the Howard Bison against the Alabama State Hornets at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Owned and operated by ESPN Events, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge debuted in 2005 before establishing its new home in Atlanta at Georgia State University in 2018. Annually featuring programs from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), the Kickoff game is one of the marquee events of the HBCU football season. In addition to the game, a variety of special events will take place over the three-day weekend celebrating the tradition, legacy and values of HBCUs. This year’s game will also feature a special collaboration with Marvel Studios, incorporating elements from the highly anticipated film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
For the second straight year, ESPN’s commentator team for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge will feature HBCU graduates Tiffany Greene (Florida A&M) and Jay Walker (Howard), Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich.
Looking ahead to week 1, ESPN networks will feature a pair of HBCU Classic games during Labor Day Weekend. On Sunday, Sept. 4, the Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic pits Florida A&M vs. No. 17 Jackson State (3 p.m., ESPN2) in Miami Gardens, Florida, while ESPN Events’ second annual Boeing Red Tails Classic features Fort Valley State against Tuskegee (7 p.m., ESPNU) in Montgomery, Alabama.
HBCU Games on ESPN Networks in 2022-23
Throughout the 2022-23 college football season, ESPN will air more than 125 games from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across its linear and digital networks, primarily featuring matchups from the MEAC, SWAC and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
ESPN will feature every home and away game of the reigning MEAC and Cricket Celebration Bowl champion South Carolina State Bulldogs, as well as all but one of the SWAC champion Jackson State Tigers’ games – coached by NFL legend Deion Sanders.
Play-by-play voice Tiffany Greene and analyst Jay Walker are ESPN’s lead commentator team for HBCU football games. As part of its HBCU football coverage, ESPN platforms will also highlight the school band performances at halftime, which are such an integral part of the HBCU football experience.
HBCU College Football Games on ESPN Networks in Weeks 0 & 1:
|7 p.m.||Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff
(Atlanta, Ga.): Howard vs. Alabama State
Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Jay Walker, Tiffany Greene, Quint Kessenich
|3 p.m.||Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic (Miami Gardens, Fla.):
Florida A&M vs. No. 17 Jackson State
Tiffany Greene, Jay Walker, Jalyn Johnson
|7 p.m.||Boeing Red Tails Classic (Montgomery, Ala.):
Fort Valley State vs. Tuskegee
John Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia
Other Notable HBCU Games on ESPN Networks in 2022-23:
|7:30 p.m.||Savannah State at Benedict College||ESPNU|
|2 p.m.||Grambling State at Jackson State||ESPN3*|
|2 p.m.||Florida A&M at South Carolina State||ESPN+|
|2 p.m.||North Carolina Central at South Carolina State||TBD|
|2 p.m.||Southern at Jackson State||TBD|
|4 p.m.||Cricket SWAC Championship||ESPN2|
|Noon||Cricket Celebration Bowl||ABC|
* Live on ESPN3; tape-delay on ESPNU
Additional HBCU Content on ESPN Platforms
- Black College Football Live – Tiffany Greene and Jay Walker host Black College Football Live, the weekly pre-game tailgate show on Facebook and other digital platforms highlighting the HBCU football experience.
- Andscape – The Walt Disney Company’s Black-led media platform dedicated to creating, highlighting and uplifting the diverse stories of Black identity spotlights HBCUs as one of its primary content verticals.
- Why Not Us: Southern Dance – The third season of the acclaimed Why Not Us series on ESPN+ from Andscape and executive produced by NBA All-Star and entrepreneur Chris Paul debuted August 11. The eight-episode series offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Fabulous Dancing Dolls of Southern University. A new episode debuts every Thursday through Sept. 29.
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