Friday, November 25, 2016
NEW ORLEANS -- BCSP No. 3 North Carolina Central prevailed over rival and BCSP No. 1 North Carolina A&T 42-21 Saturday in a North Carolina showdown to claim the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference championship and that league’s berth in the 2nd annual Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 at the Atlanta Georgia Dome.
There’s another spicy rivalry game on tap this week as the attention shifts to New Orleans and the 43rd annual Bayou Classic between Louisiana rivals, the new BCSP No. 1 Grambling State (8-1, 8-0 SWAC West) and BCSP No. 4 Southern (8-2, 8-0 W), for that league’s West Division title. The game will be carried live Saturday on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 4 p.m. The winner of the showdown will face East Division champ Alcorn State next week (Dec. 3) in the SWAC Championship Game for a chance to meet N. C. Central in the Dec. 17 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.
The SWAC West usually comes down to this season-ending classic in New Orleans and this year is no different. Both teams are 8-0 and undefeated and relatively unchallenged in conference play. All eight of Grambling and head coach Broderick Fobbs’s SWAC wins have been by at least 21 points. Southern had two league wins by single-digits, 28-24 over Jackson State and 41-33 over Alcorn State. The rest have been blowouts. But the teams could not be any closer matched than this year, particularly in conference stats.