Rattlers prepare for Florida Classic rivalry with B-CU


The Florida A&M football team wrapped up the home schedule with another win against the Howard Bison (1-10). The Rattlers (9-1) dominated every aspect of the game, finishing with a score of 39-7.

This week, the team prepares for a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference match-up that wraps up the regular season against their in-state rivals, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (6-4) in the Florida Blue Florida Classic.

In Head Coach Willie Simmons’ weekly press conference, he spoke on the importance of this football game.

“Now, if we take care of business, I don’t think anybody could question if we’re the best football team in black college football or not,” Simmons said.

In last year’s match-up, the Rattlers suffered a defeat to the Wildcats 33-19. The Rattlers control the series match-up (49-23-1) but have lost to the Wildcats the last eight years.

Coach expressed how this season sets the foundation and raises the bar for how the program should continue to grow.

“These seniors have accomplished something that hasn’t been accomplished in a long time,” Simmons explained. “The juniors, sophomores, freshmen and incoming guys, they have some big shoes to fill, but that’s how you build a program. You want these guys returning to know what they’re chasing.”

The goal for the program is simply to finish, but to also set the standard. 

“This is what we’ve come to expect here at Florida A&M, and we have no intentions of going backwards,” Simmons said.

Coach Simmons has really looked to his senior class to lead this program. He credits them for not allowing the team to lose sight of what’s important. 

In contrast to last year, this team is focused on winning and is locked in on the bigger picture. 

“This team is successful because we’re focusing on the little things,” Simmons said.

Notable challenges that may come for the Rattlers is the Wildcats defensive line, a unit that currently has the second-most sacks in the conference.

“It’ll be a great game, great challenge for our offensive line,” Simmons said. “I think this is the week they play their best and if they do that, I like our chances because we’re so explosive everywhere else, if we could just consistently hold upfront, I think we’re very tough to defend.”

Kickoff for this game is set for 3:30 P.M., this Saturday in Orlando at Camping World Stadium.