An intense discussion has started in the college football world about the Cricket Celebration Bowl being moved up to December 14th at 12 PM.  The Celebration Bowl has garnered significant success and recognition since its inception in 2015. It is revered as the Black College Football National Championship game, bringing together the conference champions from the SWAC and the MEAC.

At its onset, the Celebration Bowl enjoyed no competition from other bowl games and the game’s kickoff signaled the start of bowl season. Recently, the Celebration Bowl has faced competition from late-season NFL games and other bowl games scheduled before the Saturday morning of the Celebration Bowl.

Moving the game back a week and also guaranteeing that there won’t be any football-related competition for viewership for casual fans in the 12 PM timeslot certainly seems like a good move that could cause the viewership numbers for the heralded bowl game to rise back up to its typical dominance, as it has commanded over 2 million viewers in six of the eight Celebration Bowls played.

However, there has been significant opposition to the change for various reasons. Dan LeBatard Show co-host Stugotz strongly criticized the Celebration Bowl and the Camilla Bowl for scheduling their games on the same date as the iconic Army vs. Navy game. His discontent was evident during Monday’s broadcast of The Dan LeBatard Show.

“College football does not care about our military. They don’t care about our troops. This game has been an isolated game, Army-Navy, and those two schools, the troops, they deserve to have a weekend that is all about them.

He continued, “They took this isolated game, this beautiful game…you know what they did? Now you get the Camellia Bowl, and you get the Celebration Bowl. That is a disgrace, and I’ll tell you why. Go ahead – name any team who has played in the last 10 of any of those bowls. The answer is you can’t. I guarantee you can tell me every year who’s playing in the Army-Navy game.”

Meanwhile, HBCU football fans have criticized the move due to the quick turnaround it provides the SWAC Champion. The SWAC Championship game is scheduled to be played on December 7th, one week before the Celebration Bowl. Meanwhile, the MEAC’s last weekend of games will be on November 23rd.

Kenn Rashad, the founder and publisher of HBCU Sports, outlined his critiques in a video posted to the publication’s YouTube Channel.

That two to three-week layoff may very well be beneficial for the team and literally gives that team or that coach the opportunity to put his team in the best position to win But we aren’t gonna be able to say that about the SWAC representative playing in the Celebration Bowl after they’ve had to play in the SWAC Championship game the week before.”

HBCU Gameday’s Vaughn Wilson spoke with Celebration Bowl Executive Director John Grant about the change and why it happened.

“The expansion of the College Football Playoffs has a ripple effect across the bowl ecosystem,” Grant said. “Our goal was simply to position the Celebration Bowl in the best position for growth and success. It was important to consider venue availability, fan experience, and certainly the student-athlete which is paramount. We talked to coaches for both conferences, particularly those who had been participants in the Celebration Bowl. Without question on both sides, they indicated the second weekend would not be detrimental for them to compete,” Grant said.

Last year, Florida A&M beat Howard University 30-26 to win their first Celebration Bowl. Florida A&M was the first SWAC Champion to win the Celebration Bowl since 2016.