As the month of November starts to sink in and people around the country prepare for Thanksgiving or the infamous Black Friday frenzy, natives of Louisiana and HBCU enthusiasts anticipate the Super Bowl of Black college football– the Bayou Classic.
Since 1974, the Classic has been played in New Orleans on the last Saturday in November by arguably the biggest rivalry in HBCU history.
The battle of Grambling State University and Southern University didn’t start until 1936. As the rivalry grew and increased in size, 30,000 capacity stadiums became too small to withstand the herd of fans.
Then came along the “Man with a Golden Pen” Collie J. Nicholson. He was the sports information director at then Grambling College, which was surrounded by trees and in the middle of nowhere. He fathered the Bayou Classic.
After a sold-out game played in Shreveport, Nicholson had an elaborate idea to move the battle between GSU and SU to the Tulane University stadium in New Orleans.
Filling up a stadium with “80,000 Black folks,” the Classic landed its final location at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1978.
Forty years later, the Bayou Classic has been the only Black college football game to have an annual contract with a television broadcasting company.
As the heavyweight players prepare for the 40th anniversary game, festivities for the Bayou Classic start Nov. 26 with the Kick-Off Press Conference at 11 a.m. in the Superdome.
Along with the scheduled Classic events throughout the week, several Tiger and Southern fans are expected to roam the city of New Orleans. Known as “The Big Easy” to natives, New Orleans is famed for its Cajun cuisine and vibrant nightlife.