|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Previous stadiums||Tulane Stadium (1974)
Reliant Stadium (2005)
|Previous locations||Houston, Texas (2005)|
|Grambling vs. Southern (45–52)|
|Grambling vs. Southern (11/28/2015)|
The Bayou Classic is the annual college football game between the Grambling State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars, first held under that name in 1974 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, although the series itself actually began in 1932. Since 1990 the game has been held the final Saturday in November (i.e., the Saturday after Thanksgiving) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. A Waterford crystal trophy is awarded to the winning school. The game had State Farm Insurance as its title sponsor from 1996 to 2011. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, organizers moved the 2005 event from the Superdome to Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, where many of New Orleans' evacuees were living. This was the first time ever that the Bayou Classic was held outside of Louisiana. The 2006 Bayou Classic returned to the Superdome in New Orleans.
It is the best known annual game and rivalry in historically black college football and has been nationally-televised in the U.S. by NBC since 1991. Starting in 2015 it will be moved from NBC to the NBC Sports Network. The Bayou Classic is the only NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) game to be shown regularly on broadcast television. Fans have been known to refer to it as the "Black Super Bowl," although that name is not used in any official capacity by either school due to the National Football League's restrictions on the use of the "Super Bowl" name. Both schools typically forgo Division I-AA playoff eligibility to participate in the Bayou Classic. The game is one of two black college football classics to be associated with Thanksgiving weekend; the other is the older, Turkey Day Classic, held two days prior on Thanksgiving itself.
Of the many festivities held in conjunction with the game, the most well-known and well-attended is the two-part Battle of the Bands, where both universities' marching bands The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band, also known as "World Famed" Tiger Marching Band, and the Southern University Marching Band, also known as The Human Jukebox perform. Following the Greek show, the two renowned bands stage elaborately choreographed performances on the Friday night before the game. The second part is during the football games' halftime show. There is no official judge for the band event. Other festivities include a golf tournament, coaches luncheon, a concert/festival, tailgating, fashion show, pep rally, alumni functions, college recruitment fair, a Thanksgiving Day Parade which was brought back in 2011, and a job fair for graduating students of both schools. The annual Grambling versus Southern "Miss Bayou Classic" beauty pageant was discontinued in 2002 after 25 years of the event.
The Bayou Classic is a source of tourism revenue ($50 million) to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. The success of the game has inspired the promotion of numerous other HBCU rivalries and "Classics". The stadium attendance averages between 50,000 – 70,000 annually.
Historically, Grambling and Southern have arguably been the two most successful football teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Grambling has more SWAC football titles (24) than any other school; Southern has the second most with 19. Grambling and SU also have more black national titles than any other SWAC schools; Grambling, in fact, actually leads the entire country with 14 total, while SU has the fourth most overall (9).
Southern leads the overall series with Grambling, begun in 1932, 36–30 and the Bayou Classic phase of the series 21–20 after winning in 2014. Grambling claims the longest winning streak in the all-time series, 9 games from 1970 to 1978 (including SU's 1972 forfeit). Southern claims the longest winning streak in the Bayou Classic era, 8 games from 1993–2000 (the Jaguars also had a previous 8-game winning streak in the games played between 1932–46). Grambling's 43–6 victory in 1980 ranks as the largest margin of victory in the Bayou Classic, while SU's 1935 victory (64–6) is the largest margin in the all-time series. The historic Bayou Classic trophy that was retired after the 2014 game was presented to the Smithsonian Institution for its National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. A newly designed trophy will be showcased beginning with the 2015 game.
|School||Grambling State University||Southern University|
|Location||Grambling, Louisiana||Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Winning Years||1974 1975 1976 1977
1978 1980 1983 1984
1985 1986 1989 1990
1992 2001 2004 2005
2008 2009 2010 2011
|1979 1981 1982 1987
1988 1991 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998
1999 2000 2002 2003
2006 2007 2012 2013
|Grambling State victories||Southern victories|
|Date||Winning team||Losing team||Site||Series|
|11/23/1974||Grambling State||21||Southern||0||Tulane Stadium, New Orleans||Grambling State 1–0|
|11/29/1975||Grambling State||33||Southern||17||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 2–0|
|11/27/1976||Grambling State||10||Southern||2||Grambling State 3–0|
|11/26/1977||Grambling State||55||Southern||20||Grambling State 4–0|
|11/25/1978||Grambling State||28||Southern||15||Grambling State 5–0|
|12/01/1979||Southern||14||Grambling State||7||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 5–1|
|11/29/1980||Grambling State||43||Southern||6||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 6–1|
|11/21/1981||Southern||50||Grambling State||20||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 6–2|
|11/27/1982||Southern||22||Grambling State||17||Grambling State 6–3|
|11/26/1983||Grambling State||24||Southern||10||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 7–3|
|11/24/1984||Grambling State||31||Southern||29||Grambling State 8–3|
|11/23/1985||Grambling State||29||Southern||12||Grambling State 9–3|
|11/29/1986||Grambling State||30||Southern||3||Grambling State 10–3|
|11/28/1987||Southern||27||Grambling State||21||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 10–4|
|11/26/1988||Southern||10||Grambling State||3||Grambling State 10–5|
|11/18/1989||Grambling State||44||Southern||30||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 11–5|
|11/24/1990||Grambling State||25||Southern||13||Grambling State 12–5|
|11/30/1991||Southern||31||Grambling State||30||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 12–6|
|11/28/1992||Grambling State||30||Southern||27||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 13–6|
|11/27/1993||Southern||31||Grambling State||13||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 13–7|
|11/26/1994||Southern||34||Grambling State||7||Grambling State 13–8|
|11/25/1995||Southern||30||Grambling State||14||Grambling State 13–9|
|11/30/1996||Southern||17||Grambling State||12||Grambling State 13–10|
|11/29/1997||Southern||30||Grambling State||7||Grambling State 13–11|
|11/28/1998||Southern||26||Grambling State||14||Grambling State 13–12|
|11/27/1999||Southern||37||Grambling State||31||Tied 13-all|
|11/25/2000||Southern||33||Grambling State||29||Southern 14–13|
|11/24/2001||Grambling State||30||Southern||20||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Tied 14-all|
|11/30/2002||Southern||48||Grambling State||24||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Southern 15–14|
|11/29/2003||Southern||44||Grambling State||41||Southern 16–14|
|11/27/2004||Grambling State||24||Southern||13||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Southern 16–15|
|11/26/2005||Grambling State||50||Southern||35||Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas||Tied 16-all|
|11/25/2006||Southern||21||Grambling State||17||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Southern 17–16|
|11/24/2007||Southern||22||Grambling State||13||Southern 18–16|
|11/29/2008||Grambling State||29||Southern||14||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||Southern 18–17|
|11/28/2009||Grambling State||31||Southern||13||Tied 18-all|
|11/27/2010||Grambling State||38||Southern||17||Grambling State 19–18|
|11/26/2011||Grambling State||36||Southern||12||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 20–18|
|11/24/2012||Southern||38||Grambling State||33||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans||Grambling State 20–19|
|11/30/2013||Southern||40||Grambling State||17||Tied 20-all|
|11/29/2014||Southern||52||Grambling State||45||Southern 21–20|
|11/28/2015||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans||TBD|
- Southern Jaguars and Lady Jaguars
- Grambling State Tigers
- Southwestern Athletic Conference
- List of black college football classics
- "Bayou Classic looking for revival after lean attendance years". NOLA.com.
- "Bayou Classic moving to 4 p.m. start time, will air on NBC Sports Network". theadvocate.com.
- "In case you were wondering". The Gramblinite.
- "Bye-Bye Miss Bayou Classic". The Southern Digest.
- "The Bayou Classic requires Southern and Grambling: Editorial". NOLA.com.
- SWAC. "2015 SWAC Football Media Day". Issuu.
- "Grambling vs. Southern series history". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
- "Bayou Classic trophy heads to Smithsonian". thenewsstar.com. 29 April 2015.