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Clear your schedule: Here are the can’t-miss FAMU football games for the 2024 season

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Florida A&M will play a full 12-game slate this football season. Eight games are Southwestern Athletic Conference matchups. Four are non-conference games, including two against FBS opponents.

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Florida A&M football returns in 10 weeks.

The Rattlers will play a full 12-game regular season slate as they defend their Black College Football National Championship.

Eight of FAMU’s games are within the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the remaining four are non-conference contests, including two against Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

With last year’s success, including the program’s first SWAC and Celebration Bowl titles, and now under a new regime of first-year head coach James Colzie III, FAMU football should be a must-watch commodity this season.

Here are six games FAMU football fans can’t miss during the 2024 season.

Week 0, Aug. 24: FAMU vs. Norfolk State ― MEAC/SWAC Challenge; Atlanta, Georgia

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is a Week 0 battle between the two NCAA Division I HBCU conferences.

It will provide FAMU and HBCU football fans an initial look at the Rattlers under new coach Colzie when they face off against the Norfolk State Spartans in Atlanta.

The last time FAMU played in Atlanta, it won the Celebration Bowl 30-26 over Howard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Since then, Rattlers have spent the offseason reloading their roster to stay atop of HBCU football, knowing they will get every team’s best shot to knock off the defending champions.

This year is FAMU’s third time playing in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, but the first time representing the SWAC, which the athletic program joined in 2021.

Broadcasted by ABC, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge kicks off at 7:30 p.m. from Center Parc Stadium.

Week 1, Aug. 31: FAMU vs. South Carolina State ― Tallahassee, Florida

This season, the Rattlers will face their old MEAC foes, the South Carolina State Bulldogs.

FAMU and SCSU football are both under new leadership.

Colzie is head Rattler. Coach Chennis Berry is the top Bulldog.

It’ll also be FAMU’s home opener on Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium to defend their second-longest home winning streak in the Football Championship Subdivision behind South Dakota State’s 21. The Rattlers have won 19 consecutive games at Bragg, including a 30-7 thwarting over the Bulldogs in 2021.

However, SCSU is the last team to beat FAMU at Bragg with a 44-21 victory in 2018.

The Rattlers and Bulldogs kickoff on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m.

Week 6, Oct. 5: FAMU at Alabama State ― Montgomery, Alabama

There’s much buzz about who’s winning the SWAC this season.

Oftentimes, Alabama State is a team brought up in discussions to dethrone FAMU in 2024, especially after adding former Texas Southern quarterback Andrew Body to lead the offense.

The last time the Rattlers went to Montgomery, it was a hotly-contested matchup between the SWAC foes as the game was decided on Alabama State’s game-winning field goal attempt getting blocked and ending with a 51-yard return by FAMU defensive back Kendall Bohler to secure a 21-14 win for the Rattlers.

Also, the FAMU-Alabama State matchup is the Hornets’ 2024 homecoming football game.

The Rattlers and the Hornets kick off at 3 p.m. Eastern Time in Montgomery.

Week 8, Oct. 19: FAMU at Jackson State ― Jackson, Mississippi

FAMU and Jackson State’s chapter in the Orange Blossom Classic has closed.

This season is the beginning of the Rattlers and the Tigers’ matchup in a traditional SWAC game without a neutral location, as it’ll be played at Jackson State’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

‘The Vet’ is said to be one of the best gameday environments in HBCU and all of Division I football.

FAMU is going to Jackson for the first time since 2014. The Rattlers narrowly fell 22-17 that year.

Last season, FAMU defeated Jackson State 28-10. It was the first time the Rattlers beat the Tigers since 2003, as the teams met for the fifth time from 2014, 2018, and 2021-2023.

Week 9, Oct. 26: FAMU vs. Southern ― Tallahassee, Florida

It’s a good time every time FAMU and Southern get together.

Last year, the Rattlers and Jaguars had a light-show face-off before the fourth quarter of their matchup in Baton Rouge. FAMU ended up coming out on top 26-19.

The Jaguars will be coming to the Rattlers’ Bragg Stadium for the yearly rivalry matchup this year.

Though FAMU will play its homecoming game the following week, the Rattlers and Jaguars meeting should still have an electric environment at Bragg.

Week 13, Nov. 23: FAMU vs. Bethune-Cookman ― Florida Classic; Orlando, Florida

As FAMU has, Bethune-Cookman has added much talent from the FBS ranks.

Quality recruiting classes by the Rattlers and Wildcats set the stage for the 2024 installment of the Florida Classic in Orlando.

After going on a nine-game losing streak to Bethune-Cookman, FAMU has had the Wildcats number as of late. Since 2021, the Rattlers have won the last three Florida Classics by double-digit margins.

So, the Wildcats will look to restore some parity in the yearly matchup with the Rattlers this season when the rivals meet on Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m. inside of Camping World Stadium.

Florida A&M Rattlers 2024 Football Schedule

  • Aug. 24 vs. Norfolk State in MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Atlanta* at 7:30 p.m., ABC
  • Aug. 31 vs. South Carolina State, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 at Miami, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 at Troy, 7 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Sept. 28 vs. Alabama A&M, 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 at Alabama State, 6 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Oct. 19 at Jackson State, TIME TBA
  • Oct. 26 vs. Southern, TIME TBA
  • Nov. 2 vs. Texas Southern (HOMECOMING), 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 9 at Prairie View A&M, 3 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Nov. 16 vs. Mississippi Valley State, 1 p.m.
  • Nov. 23 vs. Bethune-Cookman, Orlando*, 3:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 30: FCS Playoffs Begin
  • Dec. 7: SWAC Championship, LOCATION/TEAMS TBA
  • Dec. 14: Celebration Bowl, Atlanta*, TEAMS TBA, 12 p.m.

BOLD = SWAC

* = Neutral Site

Gerald Thomas, III covers Florida A&M University Athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at gdthomas@tallahassee.com or on the app formerly known as Twitter @3peatgee.

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