(STATS) – The FCS national championship game may not have the fanfare of the Magic City Classic between Alabama A&M and Alabama State.
The SWAC rivals usually play before the biggest crowd of the FCS season, and with their annual classic celebrating its 75th renewal on Saturday, they may sell out 71,594-seat Legion Field in Birmingham. Last year's game drew 63,874.
There will be a two-hour parade in the morning and hip hop artist Ludacris will give a one-hour concert after the game. The economic impact on the city will be in the millions.
It barely matters that both teams are 2-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference because their matchup trumps everything else they do during a season.
“I've been in the John Merritt Classic and the Florida Classic,” Alabama State second-year coach Brian Jenkins said, “but the Magic City Classic outshines them all. It's very overwhelming. It's a wonderful event and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this event. But, through all the good things like the sponsorships, the media, the pictures, and all the words we say on the good end, it's about that time that we have to get ready to rumble.”
The overall series pre-dates the start of the Magic City Classic. Alabama A&M leads 39-37-3, although Alabama State won last year's game on Halloween 35-20.