When HBCU Football Teams Don’t Bring Home The Win

Homecoming season isn’t all about the highs.

Homecoming at HBCUs are a time for celebration and fanfare with football teams taking the gridiron to put on a show for alumni, students, and fans. But sometimes it’s not quite the performance fans want to see. Sometimes, the football team loses in front of its packed home crowd, leaving a somber feeling for what otherwise would be a joyous day on an HBCU homecoming.

In 2023, three FCS HBCUs have already lost their homecoming games earlier this month on October 14. All in different fashions. 

Bethune-Cookman entered the game with a 9-22 record since 2021 and 1-4 on the year, so the Wildcats losing on homecoming probably didn’t carry the shock that Jackson State or Grambling State’s losses did. The two Tiger programs both lost conference games that will damper their divisional title hopes. Grambling State’s loss was the more embarrassing of the two, losing by 21 points. Yet, Jackson State’s loss might’ve hurt the most, losing to Alabama State — which lost to a Division II program on the year — after last year’s “who is SWAC” debacle.

Moreover, the homecoming losses extend to the DII level with six schools. Albany State, Bluefield State, Bowie State, Elizabeth City State, Kentucky State, and Tuskegee all lost on homecoming. For Albany State, losing on homecoming was a bit of karma after it spoiled Kentucky State’s annual celebration. Meanwhile, Tuskegee fans were still treated to a great finish thanks to a Hail Mary, even though the Golden Tigers were on the losing end. Even when teams try to schedule a conference bottom-feeder opponent, that opponent knows it’s scheduled for homecoming and comes in motivated. Just ask Virginia State after it’s win over Bowie State.

The bottom line? Even with the reunion atmosphere, tailgates, and after parties, for the football team, winning on homecoming is harder than it looks.

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