The Department of Athletics at Tuskegee University released its 2013 football schedule earlier today, after putting together a list of opponents that will challenge the defending Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Champions both mentally and physically when the Fall rolls back around. Non-conference opponents include opposition from both the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in NCAA Division I, and the national runner-up for the NCAA Division II National Championship just one season ago: the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Champions Winston Salem-State University.
Furthermore, as the schedule will reveal, Tuskegee University will not be participating in the Annual Turkey Day Classic this season against Alabama State University in Montgomery. Inspired by the run of Winston Salem State last season, Tuskegee Football feels that the move will allow the Golden Tigers more freedom to play further into the postseason by participating in the NCAA Division II playoffs, if eligible. The Golden Tigers finished 10-2 last season, and had to watch as SIAC opponents Miles College (2011 SIAC Champions) and Fort Valley State University (2012 SIAC East Division Champions) played in the opening rounds of the Division II playoffs last season. Tuskegee went 3-0 against both opponents last season, defeating Miles College at the end of the regular season before defeating FVSU for the second time in the 2012 SIAC Championship Game.
The schedule begins against the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M Sept. 7th in Huntsville, which will be a rematch of the low scoring contest that was played at Legion Field in Birmingham to start the 2012 schedule for the Golden Tigers. Alabama A&M defeated Tuskegee by a final score of 7-6, pushing TU to the only point last season in which they had a losing record before going on a ten-game winning streak. The Bulldogs finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 7-4.
Next up for Tuskegee will be the second annual Inner City Classic, to be played Sept. 14th at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, GA. In the inaugural Inner City Classic last season, Tuskegee and Johnson C. Smith University played in a tight contest through the first 30 minutes, before tailback Derrick Washington was able to power the Golden Tigers to a 35-17 victory. This season, Tuskegee will see a foe that is much more familiar with the play and history of the Golden Tigers, as SIAC rival Albany State University has decided to square up against TU this upcoming season. These two teams did not play against each other in the 2012 or 2011 seasons, but Tuskegee will try to right a wrong against the school that occurred when the Golden Rams last played the Golden Tigers at Cleve L. Abbott Stadium in Sept. 2010, when ASU defeated TU by a score of 34-6. The loss was only one of two for the Golden Tigers in 2010.
Perhaps the biggest game on the schedule is set for Sept. 21st inside Cleveland Brown Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, as a battle of the two defending conference champions in the two HBCU conferences of NCAA Division II is set to take place, as Tuskegee will take on the 2012 CIAA Champion and NCAA Division II National Runner-Up Winston Salem State University. The Rams defeated their first 14 opponents by an average of 26.4 points per game before losing in the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship Game to Valdosta State University by a score of 35-7.
The SIAC schedule begins September 28th, as the Golden Tigers will travel to Jackson, Tenn. to play against the Dragons of Lane College. The Golden Tigers defeated the Dragons 45-17 last season in their first home game at Cleve L. Abbott Stadium. Conference play continues at Fort Valley State University on Oct. 5th, as the defending SIAC East Division Champions will be looking for revenge after suffering two losses to Tuskegee by 31 points in both contests (including the SIAC Championship) last year.
The 78th Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic will take place on Oct. 12th inside A.J. McClung Stadium in Columbus, GA. After suffering a 17-14 loss to the Maroon Tigers just two years ago, the Golden Tigers were able to fix that by earning a hard-fought 21-14 win last season. After spending the first six games on the road, the Golden Tigers will finally get to play inside the friendly confines of Cleve L. Abbott Stadium on Oct. 19, when they play against the Tigers of Stillman College. In the first regionally televised game for Tuskegee last season, the Golden Tigers defeated Stillman in an evening game by a score of 16-0.
After one final road trip during the regular season to Frankfort to play against the Thorobreds of Kentucky State University on Oct. 26th, Tuskegee will travel back to Abbott Stadium for the final two home games of the schedule. The Golden Tigers will hold their 2013 Homecoming Game by welcoming a new member of the SIAC in Central State University of Ohio. The Marauders will be playing their first season within the NCAA after spending their time up until last season as a member of the NAIA. Their record over the last two seasons has been 5-17 overall. The regular season will end at Abbott Stadium on Nov. 9th, in a much more competitive game against the 2011 SIAC Champions in Miles College.