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It’s my favorite time of the year.  No, not Back to School, not the new TV season, not the end of baseball season nearing, not even the beginning of the NFL season.

It’s HBCU Classic time!  I’m serious.  If you and your family have never experienced an HBCU Classic football game, you owe it to yourself.  I don’t care how many college bowls you’ve attended—Cotton, Fiesta, Sugar or Rose—they do not compare to what happens on and off the field and especially at half time at an HBCU Classic.

Not only are HBCU Classics great entertainment, they’re also great money makers for the schools’ football and band programs and the communities they’re held in, too.

Since they guarantee a big crowd, it only makes sense for schools and cities to plan events during these weekends.  And because teams, bands and fans travel to attend the Classics, they get exposure they wouldn’t normally get which helps with recruiting and gives alumni a chance to root in person for their alma maters.

So even though your daddy might wear his Jackson State baseball cap every day of his life, he’ll wear his “good” Jackson State baseball cap to the stadium when his team plays Tennessee State at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis next month.

Here are 5 things that make HBCU Classics special:

1.    You must dress to impress.  In fact, bring three changes of clothes. You are there to be seen.

2.    Plan to stay the whole weekend…for the fashion shows, the parades, gospel brunches, concerts, etc.

3.    If you’re a guy, especially with daughters, you cannot stare at the majorettes and drill team members.

4.    It’s really about the halftime show.

5.    The odds are a team called the Tigers will be playing.  That’s because, Benedict College, Jackson State, Grambling, and Texas Southern, just to name a few, each have Tigers as their mascots.

As the HBCU teams are hitting the practice field the bands are tuning up for the half time shows, I can just hear them rehearsing “Blurred Lines,” The Wobble,” and “I Woke Up in a New Bugatti.”

There’s an HBCU Classic coming to a city near you this fall. I’ll be there and I hope you will too.  Share your “Classic” experience, especially if it involves bringing someone who thought it was going to be just another game and halftime show.

It never is!

8/31/13    Labor Day Classic    Texas Southern vs. Prairie View A&M    7 PM    Houston, TX

9/01/13    John Merritt Classic Tennessee State vs.Bethune-Cookman    7 PM    Nashville, TN

9/01/13    MEAC/SWAC Challenge Mississippi Valley State vs. Florida A&M    5 PM    Orlando, FL

9/07/13    Nations Classic Howard vs. Morehouse    3:30 PM    Washington, DC

9/07/13    Commemorative Classic Johnson C. Smith vs. Livingstone    4 PM    Charlotte, NC

9/07/13    Battle of the First    Lincoln (PA) vs. Cheyney    2 PM    Cheyney, PA

9/05/13    Labor Day Golden Classic    Miles vs. Univ. of North Alabama    6:30 PM    Florence, AL

9/07/13    Ohio Classic    Central State vs. Benedict    1:30 PM    Dayton, OH

9/07/13    WC Gordon Classic    Jackson State vs. Alabama State    7 PM    Jackson, MS

9/14/13    Southern Heritage Classic Tennessee State vs. Jackson State    6 PM    Memphis, TN

9/14/13    Eddie McGirt Classic    Johnson C. Smith vs. Bowie State    2 PM    Charlotte, NC

9/14/13    Inner City Classic    Albany State vs. Tuskegee    7 PM    Atlanta, GA

9/14/13    Two Rivers Classic    Fayetteville vs. UNC Pembroke    6 PM    Fayetteville, NC

9/21/13    Cleveland Classic    Winston-Salem State vs. Tuskegee    1 PM    Cleveland, OH

9/21/13    Palmetto Capital City Classic Benedict College vs. South Carolina State    4 PM    Columbia, SC

9/21/13    Cape Fear Classic Shaw University vs. UNC-Pembroke    1 PM    Wilimington, NC

9/21/13    Iris City Classic    Clark Atlanta vs. Fort Valley State    3 PM    Griffin, Ga

9/21/13    Fish Bowl Classic    Norfolk State vs. Charleston Southern    4 PM    Fort Valley, GA

9/28/13    Gateway Classic Central State vs. Tennessee State    2 PM    Saint Louis, MO

9/28/13    Down East Viking Classic    Elizabeth City State vs. Fayetteville State    4 PM    Rocky Mount, NC

9/28/13    Augusta City Classic    Benedict vs. Albany State    2 PM    Augusta, GA

10/05/13    Atlanta Football Classic NC A&T vs. South Carolina State    3:30 PM    Atlanta, GA

10/5/13    State Fair Classic    Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State    6 PM    Dallas, TX

10/12/13    Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic    Tuskegee vs. Morehouse    3 PM    Columbus, GA

10/12/13    Circle City Classic Grambling State vs. Alcorn State    2:30 PM    Indianapolis, IN

10/19/13    Battle of the Bay    Hampton vs. Norfolk State    1 PM    Norfolk, VA

10/19/13    Biker Classic    Bethune-Cookman vs. Savannah State    4 PM    Daytona Beach, FL

10/26/13    Magic City Classic Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State    2:30 PM    Birmingham, AL

10/26/13    Shreveport Classic    Jackson State vs. Prairie View A&M    4 PM    Shreveport, La

11/09/13    Fountain City Classic    Fort Valley State vs. Albany State    2 PM    Columbus, GA

11/23/13    Florida Classic Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman    2 PM    Orlando, FL

11/23/13    Battle of the Real H U    Hampton vs. Howard    1 PM    Hampton, VA

11/28/13    Turkey Day Classic    Alabama State vs. Stillman    3 PM    Montgomery, AL

11/30/13    Bayou Classic Southern A&M vs. Grambling State    1:30 PM    New Orleans, LA