Sports | December 16th, 2023

T’was the Night Before the Celebration Bowl

By: Hannah Kirby
T’was the Night Before the Celebration Bowl

It’s the best time of year, but this isn’t referring to the holidays but, in fact, The Cricket Celebration Bowl.

The Super Bowl of HBCU football and culture is a true celebration of all that HBCUs have to offer. The match-up is set to kick off at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The MEAC champion Howard University is facing off against SWAC Champions Florida A&M University.

Both players and coaches are excited for the match-up as this is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Howard earned their way to Atlanta after upsetting North Carolina Central, but their fight is unfinished.

“The biggest thing we have to do tomorrow is play how we’re built. The biggest thing we have to go do is handle the environment, block out all the noise, and play the way we’re capable of playing,” said Howard Bisons’ head football coach, Larry Scott. “Just like we’re in Greene Stadium and no one’s in the stands, and it’s 37 degrees and the winds blowing and it’s cold, and you’re able to block that out and go to work. Just block it all out, and in the end, enjoy the moment.”

While the Bisons are eager for this win, the Rattlers are hungry! The FAMU Rattlers have the chance to claim victory for the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s first Celebration Bowl victory in seven seasons.

“I think about where we come from often. When I took the FAM job back in 2018 we knew we had some challenges ahead of us,” said FAMU Football Head Coach Willie Simmons. “The program had fallen on some tough times, six straight years of losing seasons, a one-win season mix in there, a seven-year losing streak to our in-state rival, and just morale was really low. When we got there in ’18 we just rolled up our sleeves and went to work and just built the program up.”

The Rattlers will have to be creative on the field tomorrow as they face the top passing defense in the FCS when attacking Howard’s defense, and the Bisons will have to watch out for the Rattler’s notorious dark cloud defense as they step out tomorrow.

While both teams are excited to kick off tomorrow, the fans are even more ecstatic for the match-up. Whether they bleed orange and green or red and blue, they are all excited to fill the stadium and cheer on their perspective universities. Notable celebrities and alumni of each university, including Will Packer and Vice President Kamala Harris, are expected to attend the game.

If you cannot attend the game in person, you can watch the broadcast live on ABC, with kick-off at noon Eastern Standard Time.