2022 HBCU Pigskin Showdown: From the March to the Football Field


NCAA football has its senior bowl. The NFL has its Pro Bowl. The CFL has its All Star awards, and now HBCUs have their very own player showcase: the Pigskin Showdown. 2022 marks the second year of the event after its inaugural occurrence in 2021. 84 HBCU players from across the country will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of scouts, coaches, and executives from both the NFL and CFL. The game will be held on Saturday, December 17 at the David J. Robinson Memorial Stadium on the campus of the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, and will be broadcast on CNBC and Peacock.

Pigskin Showdown Founders

Both Chris Williams, Executive Director and Co-Founder, and Bryant Grove, Director of Operations and Co- Founder, were quite the football players themselves before becoming professional football coaches and scouts. They have both been involved in the football industry for about 25 years now. Both are natives of Mobile, Alabama, and you might think their lives would have crossed paths at a young age. However, the two grew up living very separate lives until fate stepped in to bring them together to launch what could be the beginning of something historic in the African American community.

How to watch the 2022 HBCU Pigskin Showdown: TV channel, live stream info, for Saturday’s all-star game

History of the event

The cities of Selma and Marion, Alabama sit deep down in the heart of the civil rights movement. Around the mid-1960s, African Americans were on the track to gain voting rights. Like anything else for the African American community back then, it was a difficult road towards equality and opportunity, and several protests were held to get what they wanted and needed. Two of the most memorable marches during this time were held in Selma and Marion.

Just five months after the March on Selma, “The Voting Rights Act of 1965”, was passed. After immeasurable hours of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, yet another goal had been accomplished in the African American community. A goal that would impact generations to come.

Countless times African American history goes unnoticed or uncelebrated, but these two men, Williams and Grove, are determined to “bring light” to a time in our world we tend to let slip our minds. In recent years the demand for students attending HBCUs has significantly increased. Combining that modern trajectory with a respect for history, both Williams and Grove had a vision and took full advantage of the opportunity.

To shine a light on Selma and Marion and that deep history the cities hold, the best way Williams and Grove could think of was to bring a little friendly competition to the area. Not only does the Pigskin Showdown bring attention to those players chosen to participate, but it also educates everyone involved on the importance of voting rights in the African American community.

The game was started with the intention of helping both scouts and players determine if the NFL or CFL was in fact the route to take. This event gives scouts a closer look at players away from their regular teams and teammates, shining a light on their individual talents.

“HBCUs are so important to our nation,” Grove said in an interview with NBC Sports.

This opportunity is one like no other for HBCU football players.  It’s not everyday someone is offered the chance to play in a postseason game in front of scouts, executives, and coaches on a pro level.

RELATED: Media needs to keep their same energy for HBCUs

What to expect for this year

There are two teams for the game: Team Selma and Team Marion. Teams are comprised of student-athletes from HBCUs all over, including but not limited to: Jackson State University, Howard University, Southern University, Florida A&M University, and several others. Players are chosen by the founders and the Pigskin Showdown’s newly-hired scouting team. Generally, these players are young men who are already on the NFL or CFL radar. However, the event also features a nomination process for players who may have flown under the radar.

This year the event has solidified attendance from scouting representatives from 20 NFL teams and 2 CFL teams. The game will also be broadcast via Peacock and CNBC at 1 p.m. ET. “This is a great opportunity to give pro prospects even more exposure,” said Williams as he explained the value of the game.

To make the competition more exciting, the mayor from the city representing the winning team will be presented with the game trophy and allowed to keep it until the following year. Each year the competition will get a bit more intense as the showdown starts to gain more and more exposure.

RELATED: 2022 Bayou Classic: It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Future of the Pigskin Showdown

This is just the beginning of the road for Williams, Grove, and the rest of their team. They have no plans of stopping anytime soon. “I can definitely see this program expanding,” Williams said. “Within the next five years I can see the Pigskin Showdown becoming a mini convention where administration and coaches from all HBCUs will be willing to participate.” Cooperation, he said, will not only increase the success of the Showdown but will also grow the success rate of their student-athletes.

From the marches to the football field. Moving from the struggles of voting towards an opportunity of a lifetime. HBCUs are one of the primary links that bind communities all over the nation. They have remained a consistent pillar of prosperity throughout the United States. Through the years the African American community has always found ways to unite and accomplish common goals. The Pigskin Showdown is just another great example of how the community has gotten together to allow our youth to showcase their talents and possibly move up to the next level.

How to watch the 2022 HBCU Pigskin Showdown:

  • Where: Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama
  • When: Saturday, December 17
  • Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Stream live: Watch on CNBC and Peacock

Author’s Note: Kynnedi Jackson is a junior, aspiring sportswriter and broadcaster currently studying Mass Communication with a focus in Public Relations at Southern University. She began her journey with sports media back in ninth grade within her school’s media department. She now works as an editor and journalist for the school newspaper, Southern Digest. You can follow her on Instagram @kynnedisharee or read her articles on southerndigest.com

Wisconsin college football history: Big Ten and national titles, stadium, 2023 season outlook and more


Winners of the inaugural Big Ten title in 1896, the Wisconsin Badgers enter a new era in 2023 with Luke Fickell taking over as head coach. Fickell takes over a team which finished last season with a losing conference record for the first time since 2008 and enters this year with a new quarterback under center.

Beginning this fall, NBC and Peacock will be the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night, a primetime football game each weekend. Peacock will also serve as the exclusive home for eight additional Big Ten football games each season. Keep reading for a primer on all things Wisconsin and all things Big Ten ahead of the 2023 season.

How long has Wisconsin been in the Big Ten?

Wisconsin is one of the original members of the Big Ten, playing in the conference’s inaugural season in 1896. The Badgers won each of the first two conference titles, finishing first in the Big Ten in both 1896 and 1897.

Has Wisconsin ever won the Big Ten championship?

Wisconsin has won 14 Big Ten championships, including the inaugural title in the 1896 season. Their most recent Big Ten championship came in the 2012 season, which capped off three-straight conference titles for the Badgers from 2010 to 2012.

RELATED: Wisconsin RB Allen discusses playing for Fickell

Has Wisconsin ever won the national championship?

No, Wisconsin has never won a national championship in football. In the 1962 season, Wisconsin finished second in both the AP and Coaches polls behind Southern Cal, who defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl that season.

What is the name of Wisconsin’s stadium?

With a capacity of more than 80,000, Camp Randall Stadium serves as the home of the Wisconsin Badgers football team. The land was originally used for training Wisconsin troops during the Civil War and is named after Wisconsin’s first wartime governor, Alexander W. Randall. Camp Randall is home to one of college football’s greatest traditions, with the crowd erupting with the playing of the song “Jump Around” by House of Pain.

RELATED: Wisconsin spends spring practice adapting to new offense

Who is Wisconsin’s head coach?

After leading Cincinnati for the past six seasons, Luke Fickell is entering his first year as head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Fickell replaces Paul Chryst, who was fired last October and replaced by Jim Leonhard, who finished the year as interim head coach. Fickell went 57-18 over his six seasons in Cincinnati, including a trip to the 2021 College Football Playoff. He is no stranger to the Big Ten, playing at Ohio State in the 1990’s and spending 16 of his first 18 seasons in coaching on the Buckeyes’ staff, including one year as head coach (2011).

What is Wisconsin’s mascot?

Bucky Badger (full name Buckingham U. Badger) is the mascot for the Wisconsin Badgers. While the badger has been the university’s mascot since 1889, the first costumed Bucky did not make an appearance until 1949 and is known for wearing his signature red and white striped shirt.

RELATED: NCAA rules panel approves keeping clock running on 1st downs

What is Wisconsin’s 2023 season outlook?

The Luke Fickell era is beginning in Madison, with Fickell taking over a team that has won a bowl game in eight of the past nine seasons. Coming with Fickell is new offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who spent the past four years in the same position at North Carolina. Longo is known for having a pass-heavy offense with the Tar Heels and will look to bring that to a Wisconsin program known for a ground-and-pound, run-heavy attack. Fickell and Longo brought in three new quarterbacks from the transfer portal to replace former starter Graham Mertz, who transferred to Florida. Redshirt senior Tanner Mordecai, who played at both Oklahoma and SMU, looks set to take over as the starting QB in Madison this year.

How to Watch Big Ten Football on NBC and Peacock

In August 2022, NBCUniversal and the Big Ten Conference today announced a landmark 7-year agreement for NBC and Peacock to become the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night football, beginning in fall of 2023. Peacock will also serve as the exclusive home for eight additional Big Ten Football games each season.

NBC Sports/Peacock’s new agreement with college sports’ top conference will also feature dozens of men’s and women’s basketball games (including multiple games each year in the Men’s and Women’s Big Ten Tournaments), Olympic sports, golf and more, providing hundreds of hours of Big Ten content across Peacock.

What devices can I watch Peacock on?

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Amazon FireTV and Fire tablets; Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices;  Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; Samsung Smart TVs; VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs; LG Smart TVs; Comcast’s entertainment platforms including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV; and Cox’s Contour and Contour Stream Player devices. To learn more about Peacock and how to sign up, visit PeacockTV.com.

When will UCLA, USC join the Big Ten Conference?


The Big Ten has served as one of the nation’s premier intercollegiate athletic conferences for over 125 years. Originally founded by a group of seven universities led by Purdue president James H. Smart, the group has grown by leaps and bounds since its formation in 1896. The conference that was originally comprised of seven teams grew to an eventual 14, and is now set to expand to 16 with the groundbreaking addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten.

RELATED: Big Ten primetime football finds a home in NBC and Peacock

When will USC, UCLA join the Big Ten?

Crosstown rival programs USC and UCLA both announced in summer 2022 that they will leave the Pac-12 Conference for the Big Ten on August 2, 2024.

The move rocked the college football world, considering the length of time that both schools were members of their previous conference. USC had held Pac-12 membership since 1922, winning a total of 39 conference football titles and nine basketball titles in that span. The UCLA Bruins were a part of the group since 1928, taking home 16 football and 32 basketball conference titles in those years.

UCLA and USC’s transition was announced on the heels of Oklahoma and Texas confirming their departure for the SEC last season, a move that is set to transpire ahead of the 2025 college football season.

Come 2024, the Pac-12 will be comprised of only 10 members, while the Big Ten will stretch from coast to coast.

RELATED: Click here for NBC coverage of college football

What schools are in the Big Ten Conference?

  • University of Michigan
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • University Maryland
  • Michigan State University
  • Indiana University
  • Rutgers University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Nebraska
  • Northwestern University
  • USC (will join in 2024)
  • UCLA (will join in 2024)

Why is it called the Big Ten?

Despite its current 14 members, the conference retains its title of “Big Ten” to this day. The name originated after Michigan rejoined in 1917, bringing the membership from nine to 10 teams. Media members were the first to dub the group the “Big Ten”, which was eventually confirmed as the conference’s official name in 1987.

RELATED: Purdue, Penn State to battle for Big Ten basketball title

How can I watch Big Ten football, basketball and more?

While Big Ten football coverage for the 2023 season will be split among NBC, Fox and CBS, NBC and Peacock will be the home of the conference’s biggest game every week with Big Ten Saturday Night. NBC Sports’ new agreement with the Big Ten will also feature coverage of several men’s and women’s basketball games, Olympic sports, golf and more.

It became official in August of 2022 that NBC will air Big Ten Saturday Night on NBC and Peacock, with a primetime football game each fall weekend.