Deion Sanders, Jackson State Win 2nd Straight SWAC Title amid HC's Rumored Exit

Adam WellsDecember 4, 2022

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - DECEMBER 03: Head coach Deion Sanders of the Jackson State Tigers looks on before the game against the Southern University Jaguars of the SWAC Championship game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Justin Ford/Getty Images

If Deion Sanders is nearing the end of his tenure as head coach at Jackson State, he went out on a high note.

The Tigers defeated Southern 43-24 to win their second consecutive SWAC Championship title.

ESPN College Football @ESPNCFB

THE TIGERS TOOK HOME THE HARDWARE πŸ†πŸ†<br><br>Jackson State claimed their 2nd straight SWAC Championship πŸ’ͺ <a href="https://t.co/AIFZcRpE3X">pic.twitter.com/AIFZcRpE3X</a>

Saturday's victory comes amid rumors that Sanders is on the verge of accepting the head-coaching job at the University of Colorado.

Per ESPN's Pete Thamel, Sanders "has been preparing to make an exit" from Jackson State for Colorado and he's spent most of this week "making inquiries to both potential members of his on-field staff and support staff at Colorado" about possibly joining him.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg added a formal announcement from the University of Colorado about its next head football coach is expected to come on Saturday night or early Sunday.

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

Update here as <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colorado?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colorado</a> expected to announce its next coach late tonight or early Sunday, according to sources. The board meeting is a placeholder for now and would only take place if all details are worked out for Sanders’ contract and it’s ready for formal approval. <a href="https://t.co/05kUJHTtAt">https://t.co/05kUJHTtAt</a>

Sanders confirmed to reporters on a teleconference call earlier this week that he has been offered the Colorado job and has received interest from other programs.

Per Justin Adams of CBS News Colorado, the Buffaloes have offered Sanders a starting salary of $5 million per year and "a bevy of incentives that if reached, could significantly elevate his annual salary."

The Buffaloes have been in the market for a new head coach since they fired Karl Dorrell on Oct. 2. The move came amid an 0-5 start for the team this season and an 8-15 mark under Dorrell since 2020.

Colorado has been a struggling program for years before bottoming out in 2022. It hasn't had a winning record in a full season since 2016. It did go 4-2 during the 2020 campaign that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team's 1-11 mark this season is tied for the worst in program history (2012).

Ten of the 11 losses were by at least 23 points, with each of its final four games decided by at least 38 points. The Buffaloes have only been to two bowl games since 2008.

Sanders is in his third season at Jackson State. The Pro Football Hall of Famer took over a program that had a combined 21-40 record from 2014-20 under three different head coaches.

The Tigers got off to a modest start under Sanders with a 4-3 record in 2020. After he had a full season to coach the current roster and bring in recruits who fit his system, they took off with a program-record 11 wins and their first conference title since 2007.

Jackson State has been even better in 2022 with Saturday's win capping off a perfect 12-0 regular season. The SWAC champions will take on North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17.