The FCS Playoffs are around the corner, and some of the best teams in college football will compete for honors.
One side that people can't get enough of is Jackson State University. Unfortunately, they won't be playing in the FCS Playoffs.
The success of JSU has led to renewed debates by casuals and fun-loving football fans as to why the SWAC giants can't compete in the FCS Playoffs. We will delve into that today, and once we're done, you'll have a clearer picture.
So, can Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play in the FCS Playoffs? Yes, they can. HBCUs can participate, and if they are good enough, they can go all the way and win the championship.
But HBCUs aren't just limited to the MEAC and the SWAC. Tennessee State, for example, is an HBCU at the Division I FCS level that plays football in the Ohio Valley Conference.
TSU can win the OVC and earn an automatic bid to the FCS field, just like most other teams at the FCS level.
Is Jackson State University playing in the 2022 FCS Playoffs?
No college football team has been covered more than Jackson State University for the past couple of months. It is because of their soon-to-be ex-coach, Deion Sanders, an NFL Hall of Famer and one of the greatest American sports entertainers in history. It's also because everyone loves an underdog story, and JSU have given neutrals a reason to dream.
However, the number one reason JSU are getting so much coverage in the media is that they are one heck of a football team. They have several five-star recruits on their roster; they had a genius head coach and played with a chip on their collective shoulder. This fire in their belly has led them to a 20-1 record over two years in the SWAC.
This form led them to win last year's Celebration Bowl. This year, they will look to go back to back as they face off against the North Carolina Central. Hence, Jackson State University's season ends with the Celebration Bowl, and they will not participate in the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs this season.
Can SWAC teams play in the FCS Playoffs?
Yes, they can, but since 2015, the SWAC has chosen to send its champion to the Celebration Bowl. The rationale is that far greater financial incentives and visibility are available through the Celebration Bowl's TV partnership with ESPN.
This year, both teams heading into the Celebration Bowl are assured of $1,000,000, a startling sum for any college of repute, much more money than potentially losing in the FCS Playoffs would fetch them.
As such, a SWAC team can lose their conference championship but still be granted a shot at competing in the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.