Honda Battle of the Bands

This lets me know that I'm pushing 1 year with this thing--when I decided to start this blog, I was fairly fresh back from Honda 2008, though interestingly enough, I never really got around to writing about it in here. Now it's that time of year again--the field for 2009 has been set. The participating bands are:

Virginia State University and Fayetteville State University, representing the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA);

Florida A&M University and North Carolina A&T State University, representing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC);

Tuskegee University and Kentucky State University, representing the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC); and

Jackson State University and Texas Southern University, representing the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC);

North Carolina Central University and Edward Waters College, both independents.

A few thoughts. First of all NC is representing wel once again, with 30% of the field. Last year it was Central, WSSU, and Shaw; this year it's Central, A&T, and Fayetteville State. A special shout-out to the Aggies from right across town from me for making their way there through a pretty tough conference in the MEAC.

I say that, of course, recognizing that Honda isn't always a meritocracy. Voting, by fans and coaches, is part of the equation, and other factors, including schools declining invitations come into play. Still, it's an honor to showcase and, not unlike going to a bowl game, it does signify at least some level of achievement and recognition.

I'm glad to see the Marching 100 return to Honda after a 3 year hiatus. I'm sure Honda is as well, as they likely provide the biggest draw of all the bands present (at least to Atlanta; a Battle further west may favor a SWAC powerhouse). It may be a much needed pop too, since, as someone pointed out to me, this year Honda does not feature any bands from Atlanta or even Georgia. Regardless, there's no doub Honda will draw well--in its seventh year of existence, it has shown it is a mainstay and one of the most anticipated events annually on the landscape of black college bands.