By Edythe Bradley
It’s official: Albany State University and Gulf South Conference foe, Valdosta State University, have inked a contract that will pit the Golden Rams and the Blazers in gridiron action on Sept. 17, ASU athletic officials have announced. The one-year deal will give Albany State an additional home game this season and finalize the 2011 football schedule.
“Our Golden Rams and the VSU Blazers will renew a long-time rivalry and we are excited about adding the Blazers back on our schedule,” said interim ASU Athletics Director Dr. Richard H. Williams. “It’s a win-win for both teams. This battle of the two South Georgia powerhouses will give fans of both teams added excitement for the 2011 season.”
Valdosta State was left with an open date after Lambuth University, an NAIA school in Jackson, Tenn., announced the official closing of the school this month.
The Golden Rams and Blazers return to gridiron action after a three-year hiatus. The teams played for 10 years until 2007, when the Blazers won 41-3 in Valdosta.
Dr. Williams also announced the return of the Music City Classic in Macon, Ga. The 100 Black Men of Macon-Middle Georgia will sponsor the game against Savannah State University at Henderson Stadium in Macon, Ga.on Sept. 3.
“The Golden Rams will kick off the season in the Music City Classic against the Tigers in Macon. It will still count as a home game for ASU,” Dr. Williams said. “The organization has wanted both schools to play in the classic for some time and we felt this was the right time to move the game back to central Georgia.”
The teams played in the Macon Classic for six seasons from 1999 until 2004. The Golden Rams beat the Tigers 28-14 in the Rumble in the Swamp Classic in Waycross, Ga. last season. A member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Savannah State is the only Division I opponent on the 2011 schedule. The Golden Rams beat the Tigers 28-14 in the Rumble in the Swamp Classic in Waycross, Ga. last season.
With the move of the Savannah State game, the Wingate University game on Sept. 10 now becomes the J.W. Holley Memorial Game, ASU’s first home game each season which honors ASU founder and first president.
The defending SBN Black College National and SIAC champions will open conference play against the Miles College Golden Bears on Sept. 24 at Alumni Field in Fairfield, Ala., before two back-to-back road games against the Kentucky State University Thorobreds in the 28th Annual Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, Ind. on Oct. 1, and Lane College Dragons on Oct. 8 in Jackson, Tenn. The Rams will play the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers on Oct. 15 at home and Clark Atlanta University Panthers in Atlanta on Oct. 22. ASU will play Benedict College in the Homecoming game on Oct. 29, and close regular-season play on Nov. 5 against the Fort Valley State University Wildcats in the 22nd Annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Ga. The winners of the SIAC’s East and West divisions will play for the 2011 conference championship title on Nov. 12.
ASU game times and ticket information will be announced later, Dr. Williams said.