SWAC-MEAC rivalry returns in 2007

A rivalry will be rekindled Sunday, Sept. 2 as the Florida A&M University football team kicks off its season against the Southern University Jaguars in Birmingham, Ala. at the Legion Field.

The event will be nationally televised on ESPN2 (1:30 p.m. Central/2:30 Eastern), which is seen in more than 90 million homes.

Head Coach Ruben Carter described the SWAC-MEAC challenge as a competitive match-up of teams with a wide variety of talent.

Carter also said Southern University is a program that has a rich history the same as FAMU.

He went on to state he is expecting an intense match-up and is very anxious about the faceoff.

“The opening game always has a level of excitement and it couldn’t be against a more fitting opponent,” Carter said.Aside from the various rivalries in black college football, FAMU and SU have had the lengthiest faceoff in non conference games lasting from 1941-2001.

Carter ensures that the fans will definitely be in store for an energy-filled game and high enthusiasm up to the very last second.

“The fans can expect a high level of performance on each and every play and the most effort on each and every play,” Carter said.

The Rattlers players are also hyped and eager to start the season off right.

Gregory Bower, a linebacker from Philadelphia, said the Rattler/Jaguar faceoff will be a great experience and something different from the normal conference games. “I haven’t seen any footage on Southern so far, but I heard they were pretty good in there conference. I’m definitely not intimidated,” Bower said.

Bower, who has an optimistic outlook on his expectancy of the fans and support from the Rattler family, said the team feeds off of the crowd’s energy and would not want to see fans leave after the half-time show. “I get disappointed when fans leave after half-time. This year was much better than previous years though,” Bower said. “If you’re a FAMU student you should be at games supporting the team. It’s always a good experience.”

In no way are the Rattlers overlooking the Jaguars.

“The football team is going into this game well prepared,” said Jason Beach, a 6’2 defensive back from Pensacola.

“The team is eager to make a statement against its first team of the year,” Beach said. “It’s all about looking good as an individual, as well as a team.

Beach feels his team will be well prepared for the FAMU and SU showdown.

“The first game has the most preparation. I’m not nervous at all though. I’m confident in knowing I’ll be putting forth my best effort,” Beach said.

The Rattlers see it as a challenge to get a victory in this season opener. This also means the team will definitely be working harder to increase the 31-24-1 edge the Rattlers currently have over Southern.

Even though the Rattlers’ game history is high in wins against the Jaguars, FAMU is still prepared to showcase its talents and make up for that 2001 14-17 overtime loss in Tallahassee.

The 2008 rivalry will be played in Baton Rouge then the tables will turn as the teams head back to Tallahassee for the 2009 showdown.

Beach said he is excited about the non-conference match-up and even more interested in being televised.

“We are look forward to the exposure,” Beach said.