By Edythe Y. Bradley
Two of the biggest rivals in black college football history, the Albany State University Golden Rams and the Fort Valley State University Wildcats, will battle in the biggest black college football game of the year. The Golden Rams and Wildcats will play in the 23rd Annual Fountain City Classic (FCC) on Saturday, Nov. 3. Set to kickoff at 2 p.m. at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ga., the FCC is touted as one of best black college football classics in the nation. The Golden Rams enter the game with 6-3 overall and 5-1 SIAC records after a big 24-13 victory over the Benedict College Tigers on Oct. 27. The Wildcats, who defeated Morehouse College 26-19 last weekend, enter the game at 7-2 overall and 5-1 in SIAC play.
This year’s game is the 66th meeting of the ASU Golden Rams and the FVSU Wildcats since 1945, and the 22nd meeting of the two teams in the FCC. FVSU leads the series 32-30-3, while ASU leads the FCC series 17-5. The first meeting of the two schools was in 1945, when the FVSU Wildcats beat the ASU Golden Rams, 27-21. The two schools did not play each other in 1946 and 1947. Last year, the Golden Rams won 38-29.
The 2012 FCC is an important game for both schools and ASU fans are excited about this year’s event, Albany State athletic officials say.
“The Golden Ram nation is always ready for an exciting game against the Wildcats! This year’s event important because both schools are tied for first place with 5-1 conference records, so the outcome of the game will determine which school represents the East Division in the SIAC football championship game,” said Dr. Richard H. Williams, ASU athletics director. “Although we beat Fort Valley in the classic game last year, we fell short of our goals in the SIAC championship game. We want to play in the championship game and the Wildcats want to spoil our chances of returning to the big game. We look forward to a great game, great tailgating and great entertainment at this year’s Fountain City Classic!”
A Fountain City Classic win for Albany State will be Coach Mike White’s 100th career victory.
“Coach White is one game away from a milestone in his career,” Dr. Williams said. “The Golden Rams will play hard to give Coach White his 100th win.”
While the rivalry between the two teams spans more than half a century, FCC officials moved the game to Columbus in 1990, a regional center, to attract more corporate support, recruit more students and make it a weekend event full of classic activities, said State Rep. Calvin Smyre, chairman of the FCC, Inc.
“It makes great business sense to bring this gathering and game to Columbus. There are a lot of alumni located in and around Columbus and they are loyal football fans,” Smyre said. “With proceeds going to the schools, more funds can be generated from a larger crowd in attendance at a larger facility. It’s a win-win situation for the city of Columbus and both universities. Hotels and restaurants are full and people are having a great weekend.”
Halftime festivities include the band showdown between the Albany State Marching Rams Show Band and the Fort Valley State Marching Blue Machine.
FCC activities kicked off Monday, Oct. 29, with the 4th Annual Health Fair and continue Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the Media Luncheon and Press Conference at the Columbus Trade Center. In addition to athletic administrators from both campuses, Golden Rams’ head coach Mike White, Wildcats’ head coach Donald Pittman and several players from both schools will be in attendance. Other FCC activities include recruitment fairs, golf tournament, parties and a parade.
Tickets for the FCC game are now on sale. Tickets are $20 in advance for adults and $12 for children and all students with a valid ID card. At-the-gate prices are $25 for adults and $15 for all students. Tickets are on sale on campus at the ASU Business Office Cashier’s Window in the ACAD Building, and Odyssey Records, June Bug’s Grocery Store and the Radium Springs Petro Store.
“We are encouraging our fans who are interested in attending the game to purchase tickets early because this is a big game,” Dr. Williams said. “We anticipate a sellout crowd and tickets are selling quickly. We want our fans to purchase advance tickets so they can avoid long lines and have guaranteed entrance.”
For more information, call the ASU Athletics Department or Sports Information Office at 229-430-4754 or 229-430-4673.