Southern enters the Bayou Classic against Grambling knowing it can’t win the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.
Grambling enters Saturday’s regular-season finale in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, knowing no matter what happens it will play for the SWAC title a week later in Houston.
But the coaches of both teams said Monday that neither the absence nor presence of a title shot will interfere with the rivals’ task at hand.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re not playing for the championship,” Jaguars coach Dawson Odums said during the weekly SWAC coaches teleconference, “but we understand the value of the opportunity to play in the Classic. We get to play for the state of Louisiana championship on national television. Nobody else gets to do that.”
While Southern knows its season will end Saturday, the Tigers hope to be playing well into December. A victory against Alcorn State in the SWAC title game would send Grambling into the Inaugural Celebration Bowl against Mid-eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina Central on Dec. 19 in Atlanta.
“At the beginning of the season our goals are to get double-digit wins, win the conference and win the Bayou Classic,” Tiger coach Broderick Fobbs said. “This is a chance to accomplish one of our goals.”
Defending SWAC champion Alcorn State secured the spot as Grambling’s opponent when it beat Alabama A&M last Saturday.
Former Glen Oaks star Johnta’ Hebert was named SWAC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 56-14 victory against Jackson State.
Hebert rushed for 212 yards and touchdowns of 19, 76 and 7 yards. He is one of two players in the nation that averages 200 all-purpose yards per game.
He is the only player in the nation with at least 500 or more yards rushing, receiving and kick returning.
The Defensive Player of the Week was Prairie View linebacker Raleigh Johnson, the Special Teams Player of the Week was Alabama State punter Trevor Vincent, who’s from Youngsville, La., and the Newcomer of the Week was Alabama State quarterback Ellis Richardson.