This year’s Celebration Bowl shapes up to be another classic matchup as the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions Grambling State Tigers face off against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champions North Carolina A&T Aggies at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this Saturday, Dec. 16 at 12 noon.
Now, in its third year, the Celebration Bowl has taken on the moniker of as the “unofficial historically black college and university (HBCU) National Championship Game.”
Many fans believe this is the case because the annual bowl game features the champions of the largest HBCU athletic conferences — the SWAC and the MEAC — squaring off in America’s beloved Black Mecca.
Moreover, the Celebration Bowl officially kicks off bowl season and is televised nationally on ABC. Finally, the game is replete with the pageantry, pomp and circumstance millions associate with HBCUs.
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference is excited to continue its relationship with the Celebration Bowl, ABC and the city of Atlanta,” SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said in a press release. “The best football fans in country will once again have the outstanding opportunity to watch the MEAC and SWAC champions kick off bowl season, playing in front of a nationally televised audience.
The excitement of the game, the halftime battle of the bands and the opportunity to play in the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, makes for a fantastic bowl experience for our student-athletes and football fans everywhere.”
North Carolina A&T defeated Alcorn State 41-34 in the inaugural game in 2015. The MVP was Tarik Cohen, currently, a running back for the Chicago Bears. Last year, Grambling State defeated North Carolina Central 10-9 in a defensive thriller.
“Congratulations to SWAC champion Grambling State for punching their ticket to the Celebration Bowl for the second year in a row,” said John Grant, executive director of the Celebration Bowl. “We are excited for the Tigers to join us in this historic match-up against the North Carolina A&T Aggies and see which team will win their second Celebration Bowl in the past three years!”
The Aggies come in 11-0 and possess a defense that ranks third in the FCS in points, allowing 12.3 points per game and have only surrendered 15 touchdowns this season. Meanwhile, Grambling State is 11-1, running the table after losing to Tulane in week one.