It’s Florida Classic time. But every student’s favorite game of the year doesn’t come without a little history.
While I’m sure everyone is loading their cars with paraphernalia for the trip down to Orlando, and hoping teachers are canceling classes, here are some notes you might want to keep in mind.
The series began in 1925. FAMU won that game 25-0. We would have liked to see them reel off a few more before the then Cookman Institute got their first win ¾they won the very next year, 12-0.
This matchup is the most attended football game between two HBCUs in the country, beating out other rival contests like the Bayou Classic between Grambling State University and Southern University in New Orleans.
The series was named the Florida Classic in 1978 and FAMU currently leads this matchup 20-10. Overall the Rattlers have the edge 48-15-1 in the series, at one point winning 19 straight games.
There was a two year hiatus in 1983 and 1984 because there was a playing site discrepancy. Surprisingly, Orlando isn’t the original venue of the event. Games were played at the Daytona International Speedway and in Doak Campbell Stadium until 1978. The game was moved to Tampa Stadium which was thought to be the permanent home of the yearly contest. The contest moved to its current location, the Florida Citrus Bowl, in 1997.
Since then, the average attendance for the game is 68,708. The record crowd is 73,358, set in 2003. The total attendance for the years prior to the game being moved to Orlando was 765,529, an average of only 45,031.
The last bit of history that I must mention is the history of halftime. To some, this is a separate competition within itself. The Marching “100” goes up against a group of people holding metal. FAMU has shined in every aspect of showmanship, musicianship and entertainment value every year.
This year take pride in knowing that the rich history of the 31-year-old game we’ve all come to love. And one more thing, let’s go Rattlers.