If you’re wondering where the Celebration Bowl originated, you’re not alone.
Today’s game is the second one — the first was played last year — that matches the MEAC and SWAC champions.
Last year’s game was a good one and the on-field action is expected to be good in this one as well. But one thing that sets apart this game from others is the halftime show. Don’t wander too far as the band performances at the break should rival the game itself.
What is the Celebration Bowl?
The Celebration Bowl matches up the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion (NC Central) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion (Grambling State) in a game that determines which historically black university (HBCU) has the best football team. Last season, N.C. A&T got the MEAC off on the right foot with a 41-34 win against Alcorn State.
Plenty of big-time players have played in the MEAC and SWAC. In all, 27 players from the two conferences are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Art Shell, Bob Hayes, Shannon Sharpe, Walter Payton, John Stallworth, Charlie Joiner, Jackie Slater, Michael Strahan and Jerry Rice.
NC Central vs. Grambling State, Celebration Bowl game time, details
Time: Noon ET
Date: Saturday, Dec. 17
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Weather: Temperatures will be around 67 in Atlanta with an 80 percent chance of rain but it will be just fine inside the Georgia Dome.
What channel is NC Central-Grambling State in the Celebration Bowl on?
ABC will televise the NC Central vs. Grambling State matchup.
How can I watch NC Central-Grambling State online in the Celebration Bowl?
How can I listen to NC Central-Grambling State on the radio in the Celebration Bowl?
You can listen at 99.3-FM in Atlanta and on the NCCU Sports Network.
Who is calling the Celebration Bowl for ABC?
Santoria Black is handling the play-by-play duties, while Nick Harrison and Ossie Clark will serve as analysts for the game.
Celebration Bowl: NC Central vs. Grambling State keys to the game
1. Ringing the Bell
NC Central is at its best when first-team MEAC QB Malcolm Bell is clicking. He can throw it (2,191 yards, 16 TDs) and run it (544 yards, 9 TDs). His talents were on display when the Eagles beat N.C. A&T to claim the MEAC title in the season finale. He threw for 184 yards on 10 completions with a 24-yard TD pass and ran for 131 yards with TD runs of 41 and 25 yards.
2. Speaking of quarterbacks
Grambling State has a good one of its own in Ole Miss transfer DeVante Kincade. He’s thrown for 2,864 yards with 29 TDs and just two interceptions. He can also do it with his legs when he needs to — he has 348 rushing yards and 6 scores. His favorite target? That’s 6-foot-2 Chad Williams out of Baton Rouge who has 90 receptions for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns.
3. Don’t brush them off
Grambling State has lost just one game this season — a 31-21 setback early in the season at Arizona. In that game, the Tigers led 21-3 at halftime. They outgained the Wildcats 462-445. NC Central didn’t have that success in their games against FBS teams Duke and Western Michigan. The Eagles lost 49-6 to Duke and 70-21 to WMU.