The Louisiana State University Tigers will face another Tiger team and some Jaguars soon, and that’s a big deal.

As we deal with the uncertainty of what our future will look like in coming months and this fall, we’re looking forward to fall college football games — with fans — as soon as it’s reasonable and safe. LSU has played several Louisiana-based football teams, but not these two historically black universities.

As we wait to see how things progress with the novel coronavirus, it’s good to hear that LSU will meet the Grambling State University football Tigers Sept. 9, 2023 and the team will face the Southern University Jaguars on Sept. 10, 2022. Put those dates on your calendars and plan ahead. The Death Valley stadium and tailgating spaces will be jammed with entertainment, food, music and lots of good college football fun.

"We are excited about the opportunity to compete against LSU," said David “Rusty” Ponton, director of athletics and vice president for student affairs at Grambling State. "We feel this historic first meeting will highlight the rich legacy and winning traditions of both our great institutions."

Ponton, 56, wasn’t always at Grambling. He’s a 1986 Southern graduate who found his higher education career at, gulp, Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Grambling State University. He’s been there since 1988 when he joined the GramFam as an assistant men’s basketball coach. He gets to return to Baton Rouge as a part of the school that Eddie Robinson made football-famous.

Southern University Director of Athletics Roman Banks said in an interview that LSU football has a strong travel base and Southern football fans are equally committed. With both Baton Rouge-based programs playing at Tiger Stadium, it will be quite a scene. These fans show up well in advance of kickoff, often hours and days in advance. Imagine what this is going to look like at home. “They come out and show out,” Banks said.

Grambling State and Southern have football programs with rich histories. Between the two HBCUs there are numerous Black College Football National Championships and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles. GSU’s G-Men have won 15 national titles and 26 conference championships. Southern has won 11 Black College Football National titles and 19 SWAC championships.

These special weekends will bring together fan bases for team-specific fellowship, and we encourage some general fellowship. We know each set of fans will cheer for a win, but there’s an opportunity for greater understanding, too: “To get a chance to be on the same stage, it’s going to be a chance to showcase not only the state of Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, but to show what these programs are like at a different level through the fanfare of football," Banks said.

All teams, and the state, will win.