Magic City Classic
The Magic City Classic (currently the State Farm Magic City Classic) is an annual football game between Alabama's two largest, historically black universities: Alabama A&M University (Normal) and Alabama State University (Montgomery). The first game between the two schools was played in 1924. It has been an uninterrupted, annual tradition since 1945 and played at Legion Field in Birmingham since 1946. Alabama A&M enjoys a 38-33-3 all-time advantage.
In addition to the actual game, the event is known for a glamorous parade and a raucous "Battle of the Bands" between the respective schools' marching bands. Other events include a kickoff luncheon, pre-game entertainment, and abundant weekend tailgaiting outside the stadium. The Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that, in 2011, the event had a $24.3 million economic impact for the area.
The executive director for the event is Faye Oates.
October 27: Alabama State won 31-13. Hornets quarterback Greg Jenkins thew for a season-high 264 yards against the Bulldogs' defense, which had allowed an average of only 147 passing yards per game. Star running backs Isaiah Crowell (ASU) and Kaderius Lacey (A&M) were both held to modest yardage, but each scored twice. Musician Bootsy Collins served as the event's ambassador. Former NFL receiver John Stallworth participated in several events. Frankie Beverly and Maze performed a post-game concert at Legion Field.
October 29: Alabama A&M edged out a 20-19 win over #1 ranked Alabama State by blocking a Bobby Wenzig extra point with 9:55 left in the game. A&M forced three turnovers and knocked ASU quarterback Greg Jenkins out of the game with a hip injury. The Bulldogs' Most Valuable Player on offense was Kaderius Lacey who amassed 187 yards on the ground and helped run out the clock in the Bulldogs' final drive. The crowd was announced at 66,473.
The 8:00 AM parade, utilizing the same route as the previous year, was held in cool, clear weather and stretched for two hours with marching bands from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee participating. Alabama State was announced as the winner of the "Battle of the Bands" after a fan vote.
Actress LisaRaye McCoy served as ambassador for the event. The Steve Harvey Morning Show came back to sample tailgate barbecue. Frankie Beverly and Maze performed a post-game concert at Legion Field and numerous other performers filled area clubs for the week preceding the event. The post-game concert and its staging, lump sum payments to the participating schools, and bus transportation from International Trailways were the largest of a number of game expenses funded by the City of Birmingham, totaling over $600,000. After the game, the Birmingham City Council accused Mayor William Bell of skirting rules that require Council approval of expenditures exceeding $10,000. Bell argued that a Council resolution declaring that the game serves a public purpose gave his office blanket authority to apply public funds to the event at his discretion.
October 30: Alabama State defeated Alabama A&M 31-10 behind the running of Andrew Pitts, who amassed 122 yards on just six carries. Andrew Lyons opened the scoring for the Bulldogs with a 41-yard field goal early. T. C. McWilliams caught an 18-yard scoring pass from State QB Devin Dominguez with 4 seconds left in the 1st quarter to build the lead to 10. Dominguez ran in a score from the 1 in the second quarter. A&M finally got on the board with 52 seconds left in the half as Chance Wilson chipped in a 27-yard field goal.
Pitts scored on a 47-yard carry early in the 3rd, followed by Donovan Masline's 40-yard return of a Justin Jones interception to give State a 31-3 lead. Jones added a touchdown pass to G'Alonzo Milton in the 4th for the final score. Attendance was 61,879 and each school took home a record payout of $400,000.
Gubernatorial candidates Doctor Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks both made appearances at the game. The 8:00 AM parade started at the southwest corner of the BJCC and proceeded down 19th Street to 4th Avenue North, west to 16th Street, north two blocks, then along 6th Avenue North back to 18th Street, ending at 8th Avenue North.
Talk show host Wendy Williams served as ambassador for the event. The Steve Harvey Morning Show came to the city with guest Eric Benet. Tom Joyner brought his morning show with the Bar-Kays and other guests. Rickey Smiley performed at the Alys Stephens Center and numerous other performers filled area clubs for the weekend.
October 31: Alabama A&M defeated Alabama State 21-7. A&M's freshman quarterback Deaunte Mason connected with wide receiver Thomas Harris for a 57-yard touchdown on the first play of the game. Mason was named offensive MVP, and his teammate, junior linebacker Afu Okosun, was defensive MVP. The 5-3 Bulldogs moved into a first-place tie in the SWAC's East Division with Jackson State at 2-2. Attendance was reported at 55,322.
This was the first year with State Farm as the game's title sponsor.
October 25: Alabama A&M defeated Alabama State 17-16 with the key being the Bulldogs four interceptions of Hornets quarterback Anthony Speight. Ulysses Banks rushed for one touchdown, Kevin Atkins completed a 4-yard pass to Rashad Johnson for another, and Jeremy Licea added a 29-yard field goal to account for A&M's scoring. Speight threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Darius Mathis and a 15-yarder to Nicholas Andrews to go with a 38-yard Jake King field goal. State failed to convert on a 2-point attempt for the win and Speight was intercepted for the fourth time with just over a minute remaining to close the game.
Attendance was reported at 69,113, setting a new record. Overall participation inside and outside the stadium was estimated at over 110,000. The title sponsor of the game was Food-World, with Pepsi as the presenting sponsor. In preparation for the event the city of Birmingham spent nearly $180,000 to increase the number of shuttle buses available to transport fans from 20 to 75, to have GameDay Management Group of Orlando, Florida manage them, and to offer rides free of charge. The improvements were well-received by fans.
Tom Joyner was the event's ambassador and Vivica Fox was grand marshal of the parade. Joyner and Steve Harvey both broadcast their radio shows live from Birmingham on the day of the game.
October 27: Alabama A&M won 13-9. The Bulldogs held the Hornets to 1 out of 12 conversions on third down, and intercepted quarterback Chris Mitchell on a potential game-winning drive in the last two minutes. The crowd was announced at 68,953, a record.1.
Sinbad was the Magic City Classic Ambassador. Gridlock traffic and long waits at shuttle stops were harshly criticized.
October 29: Alabama A&M came from behind to win 31-28 in an offensive showcase front of 68,238 fans, the largest crowd ever at a Magic City Classic. Quarterback Kelcy Luke rushed for the final touchdown with 2:41 remaining.
The Grand Marshal and Ambassador was LL Cool J. Terry Cummings spoke at the kick-off luncheon, and Da Backwudz performed the pre-game show.
Alabama State came from behind to mark a 24-20 victory in front of 65,312 at Legion Field. With A&M leading 20-7 in the 3rd quarter, Bulldogs QB Kelcy Luke hurt his ankle while hobbled Hornets running back Keldrick Williams came back into the game, turning the momentum toward State. Williams scored the winning touchdown with 1:48 left. Hornets QB Tarvaris Jackson finished 24-53 with 298 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
Magic Johnson was the Ambassador for the Magic City Classic. Ciara and Rickey Smiley were Grand Marshals for the parade. Ciara performed at the halftime show. Artur Davis addressed the kickoff luncheon, and Cornelius Bennett spoke at the team luncheon.
Alabama A&M won 20-17. Ruben Studdard served as Ambassador and Grand Marshal. Evander Holyfield spoke at the team luncheon, introduced by Cecil Fielder.
Alabama A&M won 23-20. John Stallworth served as Amabassador and Grand Marshal.
Alabama State won 35-0. Charles Barkley was the Magic City Classic ambassador. State was later forced by the NCAA to forfeit the victory due to ineligible players and what they termed a "lack of institutional control".1.
Alabama A&M won 34-27. Willie Mays was the Magic City Classic ambassador. With this game, the Alabama Sports Foundation began managing all aspects of it.
 Previous classics
- 1999: Alabama A&M: 15-10
- 1998: Alabama State: 34-28
- 1997: Alabama State: 20-13
- 1996: Alabama A&M: 20-3
- 1995: Alabama State: 37-20
- 1994: Alabama State: 26-0
- 1993: Alabama State: 7-0
- 1992: Alabama State: 14-11
- 1991: Alabama State: 59-13. The 50th anniversary classic had an announced crowd of 70,200.2.
- 1990: Alabama State: 24-20
- 1989: Alabama A&M: 17-10
- 1988: Alabama State: 7-0
- 1987: Alabama State: 17-14
- 1986: Alabama A&M: 20-10
- 1985: Alabama A&M: 7-6
- 1984: Alabama A&M: 28-12
- 1983: Alabama A&M: 27-14
- 1982: Tie 13-13
- 1981: Alabama A&M: 13-3
- 1980: Alabama State: 20-17
- 1979: Alabama State: 17-14
- 1978: Alabama A&M: 22-7
- 1977: Alabama State: 14-7
- 1976: Alabama A&M: 17-15
- 1975: Alabama A&M: 29-22
- 1974: Alabama A&M: 14-7
- 1973: Alabama A&M: 10-7
- 1972: Alabama A&M: 8-7
- 1971: Alabama State: 12-6
- 1970: Alabama A&M: 26-18
- 1969: Alabama State: 26-6
- 1968: Alabama State: 27-21
- 1967: Alabama State: 13-7
- 1965: Alabama A&M: 36-19
- 1964: Alabama A&M: 34-0
- 1963: Alabama A&M: 30-0
- 1962: Alabama A&M: 32-14
- 1961: Alabama A&M: 54-6
- 1960: Alabama A&M: 32-12
- 1959: Alabama State: 22-0
- 1958: Alabama State: 20-8
- 1957: Alabama State: 13-7
- 1956: Tie: 0-0
- 1955: Alabama A&M: 13-6
- 1954: Alabama State: 23-7
- 1953: Alabama A&M: 13-7
- 1952: Alabama A&M: 38-13
- 1951: Alabama A&M: 27-6
- 1950: Alabama State: 16-12
- 1949: Tie: 13-13
- 1948: Alabama A&M: 14-8
- 1947: Alabama State: 12-6
- 1946: Alabama State: 15-14
- 1945: Alabama State: 20-7
- 1943-44: no games
- 1942: Alabama A&M: 20-6
- 1941: Alabama State: 21-13
- 1940: Alabama State: 24-6
- 1933-39: no games
- 1932: Alabama State: 18-0
- 1931: Alabama State: 56-0
- 1930: no game
- 1929: Alabama State: 32-0
- 1926-28: no games
- 1925: Alabama State: 7-0
- 1924: Alabama State: 30-0
- According to Gene Hallman, the 1991 announced crowd of 70,200 was greatly exaggerated. (Melick & Gribble–2007)
- City of Birmingham-Legion Field (n.d.). http://ci.bham.al.us/legionfield/index.htm - retrieved October 30, 2006
- Melick, Ray and Andrew Gribble (October 28, 2007) "Magic City Classic notebook." Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy L. (October 22, 2008) "Thousands heading to Birmingham for premier matchup." Birmingham News
- Perrin, Mike (December 10, 2008) "NCAA hits Alabama State football program with postseason ban, forfeit of championship." Birmingham News
- Beaudry, Paul (October 31, 2009) "Alabama A&M's Magic City Classic win puts Bulldogs in tie for division lead." Birmingham News
- Piper, Ben (January 6, 2011) "Magic City Classic earns distinction" Birmingham Business Journal
- Williams, Roy L. (November 11, 2011) "Birmingham City Council questions some of city's $604,703 of spending on Magic City Classic game." Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (November 12, 2011) "Magic City Classic economic impact tops $24 million, most ever." Birmingham News