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Deion Sanders Argues Jackson State Should Play In FBS Bowl Game

Deion Sanders

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders has already elevated Jackson State to the forefront of the FCS landscape.

Could the Tigers take the next step by getting a spot in the FBS postseason?

It may not be likely, but Sanders believes they deserve it.

During the SWAC teleconference on Monday, Sanders lobbied for Jackson State to get a spot in one of the 42 FBS bowl games following the regular season, according to the Clarion-Ledger

"Why can’t that be us?” Sanders said. “I’m just saying, why can’t that be us? You got teams that are virtually 6-5 going to a bowl game. Ain’t nobody going to see them play, and nobody is turning the channel to witness that foolishness. But you have us that travels deep and travels heavy.”

Traditionally, the winner of the SWAC plays the winner of the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl rather than participating in the FCS playoffs. At 9-0, Jackson State certainly appears destined for second straight Celebration Bowl berth.

Sanders clarified that he is not looking to replace the Celebration Bowl with another postseason game. He wants Jackson State, which only plays 11 regular-season games, to play both. 

He'd also like to see other HBCU programs from the SWAC and MEAC included in the traditional bowl structure.

“This is after the Celebration Bowl,” Sanders said. “That's a goal. This is a pre–New Year’s Day bowl game that we would love to have an opportunity to play in. Along with FAMU and some of the other wonderful teams that are doing some wonderful things.”

There seems to be some debate as to whether or not FCS teams are allowed to participate in bowl games, with some websites claiming that FCS teams are not permitted to participate, while others say there is no rule against FCS teams playing in bowl games, but they are not allowed to face FBS opponents during the postseason. Either way, the upshot is the same: It would take an NCAA rules change to allow Jackson State to play in a bowl game, which seems very unlikely to happen this year.

That said, Sanders certainly has an argument that Jackson State would make for a more compelling storyline than some of the participants in early bowl games. Last year, 17 teams earned bowl invites after going 6-6 in the regular season, while Hawaii received a bowl bid at 6-7.

Jackson State has won its nine contests this season by an average of 28.6 points. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion's son, has accounted for 32 total touchdowns and five interceptions. The Tigers' roster features seven players who were rated as four- or five-star recruits by the 247Sports composite in the classes of 2021 and 2022, including last year's No. 1 prospect in the country in cornerback Travis Hunter.