Even though a trip to the SWAC championship game is not at stake, the annual Grambling State-Southern rivalry has not lost its luster, according to both coaches.
“Our goals at the beginning of the season include having double-digit wins, winning the West (Division championship) and the Bayou Classic, said Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs. “This is an opportunity to achieve our goal.”
Grambling (8-2, 8-0 SWAC) enters the 42nd Bayou Classic having already clinched the division title and a trip to the league championship game against Alcorn State. A far cry from last season when the Tigers were underdogs and came within a single yard of capturing the West crown in a 52-45 thriller.
With nothing left to play for other than an offseason of bragging rights, Southern head coach Dawson Odums said the team has treated this week as if something is on the line.
“It’s Southern versus Grambing,” Odums said. “It’s still exciting.”
Southern (6-4, 6-2 SWAC) had aspirations of making a third straight trip to the conference championship game, but those hopes were dashed after going 2-2 in October, with losses to Prairie View and Alcorn State.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re not playing for a championship but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes,”Odoms said.
The Bayou Classic, regardless of the records or what’s hanging in the balance, carries much meaning.
“The classic is still the classic. The kids still love it. This is the state of Louisiana,” Odoms said.
Who: Grambling State vs. Southern
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
When: 4 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Network