UCLA hosts Alabama State in 1st Black Excellence Game
UCLA will play host to Alabama State Saturday at the Rose Bowl, its first game against a historically Black university and a Football Championship Subdivision team.
The matchup was announced on Feb. 24, 2021, along with a Sept. 16, 2023, game at the Rose Bowl against North Carolina Central, also a historically Black university and a Football Championship Subdivision team. The games replace the previously scheduled series with Michigan, which terminated its home-and-home contract with UCLA in 2019.
Alabama State is located in Montgomery, and was founded in 1867 as the Lincoln Normal School at Marion by nine freed slaves from Marion, Alabama who sought to build a school for Blacks previously denied the right to an education.
Alabama State’s alumni include the late civil rights leader the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Eugene Sawyer, Chicago’s mayor from 1987-89, and the Grammy-winning rapper 2 Chainz.
Alabama State has an enrollment of 3,614. UCLA has an enrollment of 45,900 — 31,600 undergraduates and 14,300 graduate students, according to figures supplied by the university.
Saturday’s game will leave USC and Notre Dame as the only Football Bowl Subdivision teams to have never played a Football Championship Subdivision team. Notre Dame will lose that distinction on Sept. 2, 2023 when it faces Tennessee State, also a historically Black university.
What are now the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivisions were formed before the 1978 season at the urging of several larger Division I schools seeking increased autonomy.
The Hornets are 0-11 against FBS teams since 2006. Alabama State (2-0) is a 48 1/2-point underdog. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives UCLA (1-0) a 99.8% chance of winning.
The Hornets’ roster includes one Californian, reserve cornerback Mikey Victor, a 2019 graduate of Pomona High School who played one season each at Ventura College and UNLV before transferring to Alabama State.
Alabama State’s marching band, “The Mighty Marching Hornets,” will perform at halftime. It performed in the 2019 Rose Parade.
The game is UCLA’s Black Excellence Game and will include faculty/staff and alumni recognitions.
The game is set to begin at 2:07 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.