Willie Simmons wants his FAMU football program to take on the challenge of playing against stronger teams.
Rattlers coach gets his wish in 2022.
FAMU’s 11-game schedule, released Monday by the school, includes games against North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) champion Albany State, and MEAC/Celebration Bowl champion South Carolina State.
In addition, the Rattlers must navigate their eight SWAC games led by conference champion Jackson State in the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami and rival Bethune-Cookman in the annual Florida Classic in Orlando.
FAMU, which won 4-0 at Bragg Memorial Stadium last year, will play five home games in 2022.
“We feel like we have one of the toughest programs in all of FCS football this fall, but to be the best you have to beat the best,” Simmons said in a statement.
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FAMU finished 9-3 last season capped by an FCS playoff berth.
The Rattlers open week zero on August 27 in North Carolina, which missed a third consecutive winning season in 2021 at 6-7 under coach Mack Brown. UNC opened the season ranked in the top 10 nationally and chose to win the Coastal Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
(Week Zero is the opening week of college football games, although only a small number of games are played. Most teams open their season in “Week 1.”)
FAMU then travels to Miami for the Orange Blossom Classic against reigning SWAC champion Jackson State and coach Deion Sanders for the second straight year.
Jackson State defeated the Rattlers 7-6 last year en route to an undefeated league mark (8-0) and an overall record of 11-2.
The Rattlers return home for three consecutive home games against Albany State, Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley State.
FAMU then returns to the road at South Carolina State, which beat Jackson State 31-10 in the Celebration Bowl, and at Grambling State.
The Rattlers return to Bragg Memorial for their last two regular season home games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff before their October 29 homecoming and Southern.
FAMU concludes its program in the state of Alabama and in Orlando against Bethune-Cookman.
The Rattlers are the visiting side in both Classics.
FAMU finished No. 24 in the last FCS Coaches poll in 2021. However, it was ranked No. 1 in an NCAA HBCU power rankings poll and declared itself the National Champion of Black College Football.
Returning linebacker/defensive end Isaiah Land received the 2021 Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’s best defensive player.
Florida A&M 2022 Football Schedule
August 27 – in North Carolina (6-7 in 2021)
4 Sept. – vs. Jackson State (11-2, Orange Blossom Classic in Miami)*
Sept 10 – vs. Albany State (10-2)
September 24 – vs. Alabama A&M* (7-3)
October 1 – vs. Mississippi Valley State* (4-7)
October 8 – in the state of South Carolina (7-5)
October 15 – at Grambling State* (4-7)
October 29 – vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-9, Homecoming)*
November 5 – vs South* (4-7)
November 12 – in the state of Alabama* (5-6)
November 19 – Bethune-Cookman (2-9, Florida Classic, Orlando)*
Home games in bold
* SWAC games
FAMU honored 18 seniors at its recent banquet:
Ellrie Allen; Markquese bell; Bishop Bonnett; Jalen Brayboy; Antwan Collier; Renaldo Flowers Jr.; Keenan Forbes; Troy Hilton; Chad Hunter; Jay Jackson-Williams; Chris Jerry; Christian Mastramico; Derrick Mayweather; Blake Simpson; Jalen Spady; Zoron Wade; Monroe Watson; Savio Williams.