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FAMU football is making a bid to host a playoff game. But they have to beat the BCU Wildcats first

A football quarterback in a green jersey right after throwing. His arm is mid-motion.
Will Brown
Used with Permission
Florida A&M quarterback Rasean McKay has led the Rattlers to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the first time in 2001. (Photo by Will Brown)

Florida A&M University is looking to host its first, football playoff game since 1998. The Rattlers, are 8-2 so far this season, and are presently ranked 24th in the Football  Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll. But before FAMU can find out if they can host the game—the Rattlers have to beat their nemesis, Bethune Cookman University. 

The Rattlers take on the Wildcats this weekend in Orlando. The rivalry between the two Historically Black Universities draws tens of thousands of people to the Florida Classic each year. FAMU leads the series 51-24 with one tie, but last year was the first time the Rattlers beat the Wildcats since 2010.

The game is especially important this year because it will determine if FAMU will qualify for the FCS playoffs. Those games are usually reserved for conference champions and select at-large teams.

FAMU would need to beat Bethune-Cookman, and likely get help elsewhere to qualify for an at-large spot.

“It continues our efforts to foster a winning environment. FAMU has always been about excellence,” said Interim Athletics Director Michael Smith in a statement issued by the university.

“The football team has demonstrated a high level of resilience this season. Their success positions us to make the playoffs. But first, we have to take care of business at the Classic.”

The university sees hosting the playoff game as a way to further build its brand, grow recruitment and bring in extra money to the athletics department.

The champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which includes FAMU, and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference have pulled out of playoff consideration to play in the Celebration Bowl, also known as the Black College Football national championship.

The NCAA playoff announcement is scheduled for Sunday, November 20.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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