In much the same way that the Daytona 500 is just another NASCAR race, the annual football game between two of America's Historically Black Colleges, Grambling State and Southern University, is just another football game... that happens to have a wild halftime show wrapped around it, featuring both schools' marching bands. (It's officially known as the 29th Annual State Farm Bayou Classic.)
The bands' primary showcase has actually become the Friday evening performances (with a Greek stepping show added) in the New Orleans Superdome. The Grambling Marching Tigers and the Southern Human Jukebox are arguably the two best college marching bands in America, bar none. Combining the traditional marching band stylings with equal does of soul, funk and even hip-hop, both schools arduously prepare and drill to put on the best show they can. This is not to say that the halftime show during the actual Saturday game takes a back seat. The formation to watch for at this game every year is Southern's band spelling out the game's halftime score on the field. No matter the score, the drill is always perfect and I've never seen them flub it up. The weekend also features a Saturday evening concert, a Friday afternoon job fair, and a fan fest that runs all day Saturday.
The game this year is expected to be a one-sided affair, with Grambling (10-1) winning all but their first game this season and Southern eking out a 5-6 record. With Eddie Robinson's retirement some years ago, Grambling's program is now under the helm of former Tiger QB Doug Williams, who went on to a successful NFL career that saw him earn Super Bowl MVP honors.
The game - and those bands - will air Saturday, November 30 beginning at 2:00 p.m. on NBC.
On the Loose
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