As the 2023 college football season enters the home stretch here in North Carolina, there are two events that everyone looks forward to around here. One of those events is homecoming and the other event is playing your biggest rival. Nothing is greater than great weather to flashback to memories while on campus and seeing old friends. On the other hand, having bragging rights over friends that attended your rival school is also rewarding.
For North Carolina A&T State University, homecoming takes on a whole new meaning. The Greatest Homecoming on Earth or GHOE is one of the biggest and most publicized homecomings on the HBCU homecoming circuit. Aggies near and far made their way back home to Greensboro for a week of reunion, engagement and of course football. This year was no different with thousands of Aggies coming back home to see their family. NC A&T football team did not have their best day as they lost to Towson 42-32 but that didn’t stop the week long celebration. The Aggies fall to an 1-8 overall record.
Just a few miles down in Durham, rival North Carolina Central University also celebrated their homecoming the same weekend. The seventh nationally ranked NCCU Eagles football team defeated Norfolk State by a score of 38-24 to remain in first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The defending HBCU National Champions improved their record to 8-1.
One of the top trending scenes from homecoming week came from NCCU when aerial footage captured a birds-eye view of thousands of Eagles Swag Surfin. If you don’t know what Swag Surfin is, where have you been? Overall both great North Carolina universities put on a great show and the weather that weekend was unbelievable for a November Saturday. Can’t close out this part without saying NCCU defeated NC A&T earlier this season in football.
Let’s get back on I-40 East and head to Raleigh where Shaw University (2-7) and Saint Augustine’s University (0-9) faced off in the Raleigh Classic on the campus of Saint Augustine’s University. Both teams come into this rivalry game sitting in the last two teams in standings. But with any rivalry game records go out the window. Shaw University defeated Saint Augustine’s 21-14 giving the Bears bragging rights for one more year of who runs Raleigh.
Now we are exiting I-40 East at the I-95 South interchange to hangout at Fayetteville State (7-2) University as they take on rivals Winston Salem State University (4-5). Usually this game has conference championship implications but this year the Broncos of FSU were too powerful in defeating WSSU by the score of 40-34. FSU moves on to play in the CIAA Championship game for a trip to the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs on the line when they face Virginia Union (9-1).
Elizabeth City State University Vikings wrapped up their 2023 campaign with a 38-20 victory over CIAA Newcomer Bluefield State University out of West Virginia. The Vikings finish the season with a record of 3-7 and winning momentum going into next season.
Finally we wrap-up the CIAA year with the oldest rivalry game in HBCU football between Johnson C. Smith University was known as Biddle College at the time and Livingstone College. These two universities played the very first HBCU football game back in 1892 and this year was the 131st installment Commemorative Classic between rival schools. That’s right, history was made here right in North Carolina. In this year’s edition Johnson C Smith was victorious by the score of 38-17 over Livingstone. The Golden Bulls finished with a record of 7-3 while Livingstone finished their season with a 4-6 record.
For many fans basketball season is where partial redemption could be gained against their rivals from football season. It’s always good for someone to say yeah, we beat you in basketball but the other person responds with, we beat you in football. At this point the remaining calendar sports come into play. If this doesn’t work then which school is overall better comes into play. Take it from an HBCU grad! Good luck to all schools this college football postseason.