Friday, November 25, 2016

Jeff Mills: Playoffs feel like consolation prize for N.C. A&T in Celebration Bowl era

GREENSBORO, North Carolina — Once upon a time, two short years ago, this was the ultimate goal.

N.C. A&T would start the season on a quest to get to the FCS playoffs and compete in a 24-team football tournament to win a national title.

The Aggies made it. They’re back in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. No. 17 A&T (9-2) will play at No. 12 Richmond (8-3) at 2 p.m. today in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championships.

It’s the Aggies fifth appearance in the FCS playoffs and their first at-large berth.

What: First-round game of NCAA Division I Football Championships
Who: No. 17 N.C. A&T (9-2) at No. 12 Richmond (8-3)
When: 2 p.m. today
Where: Robins Stadium (8,700), Richmond, Va.
Broadcast: ESPN3, WCOG-93.7, WCOG-1320

And yet, somehow it feels like getting socks for Christmas. You appreciate the gift, but it’s not what you really wanted.
That’s because a funny thing happened in 2014 when ESPN negotiated the deal for a made-for-TV postseason game matching the champions of the MEAC and SWAC.

The Celebration Bowl became a priority. It’s the priority in black college football.

“Our goal going into this season was definitely the Celebration Bowl,” A&T coach Rod Broadway said. “But this is not a bad consolation prize. It’s a great honor for this team at this time.”


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