The biggest battle of black college football teams was supposed to take place in Orlando on Nov. 22, not in New Orleans on Nov. 30.
Grambling State University and Southern University played another Bayou Classic game in their rivalry that has been ongoing since 1932.
The Florida Classic, which pits FAMU against Bethune-Cookman College, and the Bayou Classic both have intense games, feature great bands, and have state bragging rights at stake.
However the one difference between the Bayou Classic and the Florida Classic is both Grambling and Southern are smart enough to agree that their classic needs to be televised to a national audience.
The Bayou Classic was televised on NBC Saturday afternoon in front of millions of people who would have absolutely no clue these two schools were in existence if not for the game being on TV.
The Florida Classic had that kind of opportunity to be shown in front of a national audience, but FAMU and B-CC could not put their collective financial differences aside long enough to look at the exposure both schools could have received through a televised game.
Instead of looking at the possibilities of a televised Classic , FAMU and B-CC were busy bickering about how much money each school would receive through FAMU’s Urban Broadcast Company contract.
Recently, ESPN.com listed the 16 biggest college football rivalries. The Grambling-Southern rivalry ranked 9th, two spots ahead of the Florida State-Miami rivalry and only two spots behind the Florida-Georgia rivalry.
The only way the Grambling-Southern rivalry made the list was because of the national audience who watched the televised game.
There is nothing that the Bayou Classic has that the Florida Classic cannot match. For the TV announcers of the Bayou Classic to say that the Florida Classic features the two best bands in the biggest black college football game in the country is ludicrous.
The Marching 100 is by far the best band in the country and the talent level in the Florida Classic is far greater than anything the Bayou Classic can offer to viewers.
As for the games, the Bayou Classic was a great game, but it took both teams to be ranked in the top 15 of the I-AA polls to attract attention from even the most football viewers this past holiday weekend.
A Grambling-Southern match-up is relevant to the casual football fan only because of two people: Doug Williams, Grambling’s current coach and legendary quarterback, and Eddie Robinson, Grambling’s incomparable coach whose 408 victories ranks second all-time in college football.
Williams and Robinson will always be legends in the realm of black college football and to college football’s national audience in general.
By having the Bayou Classic televised, Grambling and Southern players have the possibility to add their names and legends to the likes of Williams and Robinson. Something Rattler and Wildcat players will not have the opportunity of doing because of a childish squabble over money.
Will Brown,19, is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Rockledge. He is the Famuan’s Deputy Sports Editor and can be reached at Willbitsgood48@aol.com