When the 2013 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff pairings were announced last Sunday on ESPNU, of the 24 teams selected, three of them (Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina State, Tennessee State) were from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It was the first time three HBCU’s had been selected for the postseason since 1999 (FAMU, Hampton, Tenn. State). Bethune-Cookman won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s automatic berth, while South Carolina State (MEAC) and Tennessee State (Ohio Valley) were selected as at-large participants.
During the regular season, those teams forge some of the most intense rivalries in FCS football but once the playoffs begin, it’s not uncommon to hear coaches from opposing teams rooting for their HBCU brethren to do well in the tournament.
For head coach Brian Jenkins of Bethune-Cookman, he was extremely excited to see all three schools make the field of 24.
“I think it would speak volumes about the direction of where HBCU football is headed, Jenkins said. We play football just like every other school and because of our establishment I don’t think that should be taken into any type of consideration when you look at the brand of football.”