Saturday, July 15, 2017

Rabalais: The end of its title game and a seven-game slate makes this a big season of change in the SWAC

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — It’s a season of change in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the reason for that change was summed up succinctly Friday by Southern coach Dawson Odums.

“At the end of the day,” Odums said at SWAC Media Day, “football is a business.”

For the SWAC, the business of continuing to put on a conference championship game no longer made financial sense. So this year’s game, Dec. 2 at NRG Stadium in Houston, will be the final edition of a game that made its debut in 1999 but in 2017 has outlived its usefulness.

Get your T-shirts and hats now, because when it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

From a business standpoint downsizing the conference schedule from nine to seven games also made financial sense for the SWAC’s members — at least for the time being.

More on that later. The biggest story for this season is the end of the championship game.

The SWAC, along with its playing partner the MEAC, has decided to put its nest egg in the Celebration Bowl’s basket. The game between the two conference champions, the de facto black college football national championship C, is moving this year into the Atlanta Falcons’ sparkling new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the heart of Georgia’s capital city. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 on ABC.


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