It’s almost that time of the year again! Many people consider it to be the Super Bowl of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. One of the biggest rivalry matchups of the South has finally returned to New Orleans, and it is expected to be greater than ever. The 2021 Bayou Classic is an event that many have been waiting for, and the students, faculty, and alumni of both Southern University and Grambling State University are all very eager for the events to return after last year’s game changed due to the pandemic. The Bayou Classic is one of the most important events for HBCU students because of the many traditions and fun that the weekend has to offer.
The big game between these two schools is like none other. The Southern Jaguars and the Gambling Tigers have a rivalry that goes way beyond just football. Fans will finally get to see who will dominate the other in sports and entertainment. It also gives everyone a chance to be united and celebrate the pride, tradition, and excellence that come with attending an HBCU. For anyone who has ever attended the event, they can testify to all that the weekend will bring.
“My experience was amazing. The atmosphere was everything and the people were excited. Seeing my school beat Grambling State was one of the best things.” Trelin Gradney, a senior at Southern University, said of his time spent at The Bayou Classic. “You get to see all the football action. You get to sit in front of the band and watch the Fabulous Dancing Dolls perform. It’s so much fun and very exciting! There’s always so much going on.”
Bayou Classic Traditions
Bayou Classic has been rooted in the very tradition of both of these institutions. It’s kind of a big deal in Louisiana. If you chose to attend one of these schools and have never attended the big game, then you have definitely missed out on all that the experience has to offer! The Classic consists of a full weekend’s worth of fun. The slate of events kicks off Friday with the much anticipated Greek Show and Battle of the Bands.
Typically, the Greek Show consists of an intense battle between the Divine 9 Greek organizations from each school. Each organization takes the stage to put on a themed performance full of costumes, stepping, strolling, and chanting. It’s very exciting to watch as they compete for the first-place prize each year. This competition is what begins to get the crowd engaged and hyped up for the rest of the night.
Immediately following the Greek show comes the long-awaited Battle of the Bands. Just imagine two of the biggest bands in Louisiana together under one roof for an entire night, going blow for blow. Southern University’s ‘Human Jukebox’ and Grambling State University’s ‘World Famed Tiger Marching Band’ is a showdown nobody wants to miss! The passion behind the way they play their music is one like none other. Ultimately, deciding the winner of the battle is always in the hands of the fans.
What to know on Bayou Classic Game Day
Then comes the day everyone has been waiting for: Game Day! The exciting day begins with a parade through the historic French Quarter, beginning at 9:30 a.m. After the fun and festivities conclude from the parade, it’s finally time to get to business. At 4:00 p.m. the Southern University Jaguars and the Grambling State University Tigers will battle for bragging rights and a trophy in Caesars Superdome. This historic matchup has been taking place since 1974. Southern currently leads the series by only one game with 24 wins to Grambling’s 23.
Each year Southern University and Grambling State University have gone toe to toe in battling each other. It’s almost as if the two schools use all the energy that they have built up throughout the season on each other. As an attendee, it’s very hard to predict how the game will play out. In 2019, the Tigers came so close to walking away with a win. It wasn’t until the last few seconds when Southern ran across the field and scored a major touchdown, which won them the game. The Jaguar fans lit up the stadium as they stood in applause and loud cheers. Throughout the game’s history, there have been times where Grambling dominated, however, and won five games back-to-back (1974-78). Southern has had its moments as well, as the team once scored eight wins in a row from 1993-2000. Entering this game, Southern has won the last three Bayou Classic matchups.
2021 Bayou Classic COVID-19 Regulations
Although it is exciting to have the Bayou Classic return to New Orleans, it is important to remember that we are still in a pandemic. All fans are strongly encouraged to follow all COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Thankfully, the Superdome has implemented some of their own guidelines as well.
As required by the City of New Orleans, any guest 12 and above must show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours late. Digital proof of vaccinations will also be permitted. As always, face coverings are required in the city of New Orleans and must be worn at all times while inside the Superdome. This applies to those who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The Superdome will also enforce a strict clear bag policy. No cash will be accepted at the concessions, so make sure to have that debit card on hand!
Bayou Classic is more than a football game. It signifies the culture, dignity, and pride of the HBCU experience. It is an event that allows fans to come together and celebrate two historic universities. While the pandemic might have postponed Bayou Classic last year, it never stopped the excitement that this weekend and this rivalry bring.
How to watch the 2021 Bayou Classic
The 2021 Bayou Classic will air on NBCSN this Saturday, November 27th at 5 PM ET.
*Authors Note: Christopher L. Hunter is a 20-year-old junior who attends Southern University and A&M College, from North Little Rock, Arkansas. He chose to study Broadcast Journalism, where he is continuously gaining experience in the Office of Student Media. You can follow his social media @ChrxsHunter. For more of his stories on campus life and student involvement, be sure to visit http://www.southerndigest.com