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Southern University head coach Jason Rollins talks with coaches on the sideline against Jackson State University in the first half of their SWAC football game at A.W. Mumford Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

The Bayou Classic is often a factor in determining participants in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game.

That won't be the case this time.

Both Southern and Grambling enter a bye week with losing records guaranteed as they prepare for the 48th annual classic. The winner gets bragging rights, salve for a painful season and little else.

At least the game is returning to its rightful place in the Caesars Superdome on Nov. 27 at 4 p.m.

“It’s important because that’s what makes it the Bayou Classic, being able to play it in the Dome,” Southern coach Jason Rollins said. “Thanksgiving weekend, all the families are down, it’s an event, and there’s no other city like New Orleans to host an event of that caliber.

“This is a traditional matchup, not just a game but an event for the ages. It’s more than just a football game. It means a lot to the state and both universities.”

Southern (4-6, 3-4 SWAC) can finish with a .500 record in conference play with a victory, but the chance for a winning season slipped away in the final two minutes of Saturday’s loss to Jackson State.

Grambling (3-7, 2-5) can do neither and is also looking for a new coach. After a winless spring season, the Tigers have stumbled to 3-7, costing Broderick Fobbs his job despite a 54-31 record, 42-17 in SWAC play, with two SWAC titles.

Linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Terrence Graves will serve as interim coach while Grambling officials conduct what they say will be a nationwide search.

The Tigers have struggled offensively all season. They started the season with junior Elijah Walker at quarterback before trying freshman Noah Bodden, who lasted four games. Sophomore John Paul-Pierce has taken the reins and will be playing in only his third game in the Bayou Classic.

Grambling has had a miserable offensive season. In seven conference games, the Tigers are averaging 240.3 yards per game and 3.9 yards per play with 13 touchdowns, all league lows. The Tigers fell to Bethune-Cookman, 31-14, managing only 186 yards. Pierce did throw two TD passes.

Rollins said the Jaguars will spend the week breaking down Grambling before presenting the game plan to the players.

Southern-Jackson State game ends with a melee; SWAC office says it will review

“We haven’t dived into it fully,” Rollins said. “We have a bye week to peel back the layers on how we’re going to attack them and how they will attack us.”

Polls

Southern remained unranked in the BOXTOROW HBCU polls released on Monday. Jackson State stayed an unanimous choice for No. 1 in both the coaches and media polls, with Florida A&M moving up to No. 2.

Bayou Classic bus trip

The Southern University Quarterback Club is sponsoring a bus trip to the Bayou Classic on Nov. 27. The bus will depart from the F.G. Clark Activity Center at 8 a.m. of game day and tickets are not included. For more information, contact Reginald Jarvis at (225) 939-5906 or rjarvis@yahoo.com.