Fall practices have seen the offense flourish in midweek drills, only to deflate during Saturday scrimmages. The defense, thought to be rebuilding, has instead dominated.
Whatever becomes of those lingering storylines, one thing is clear, Broadway said in a teleconference for the opening-day MEAC-SWAC Challenge: South Carolina State will be a defining opponent.
Far more so than the subsequent September date against Oklahoma State, an opponent who was ranked in the BCS a season ago.
“I’ve said a thousand times, and this is no knock against anyone, but I’d rather play the South Carolina States, the FAMUs and the Hamptons instead of the Oklahoma States,” Broadway said. “That’s my preference. Unfortunately, I don’t do all the scheduling. We’re looking forward to this. When you play good people, it makes you better.”
Grambling faces South Carolina State in the Citrus Bowl on Sept. 6. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.; tickets are still available for $20 through Ticketmaster.
Broadway figures he’ll know a lot more about this squad later that afternoon.
“One minute you look really good and the next minute you’re pulling your hair out,” he said. “That’s why you practice — to get better. We’re starting to get better. We’re showing signs of being a decent football team. We’ll be challenged real early.”
This is the fifth MEAC/SWAC Challenge, and the second to feature Grambling. The Tigers lost in an overtime battle to Hampton in 2006, when the game was still played in Birmingham, Ala., at Legion Field.
In fact, MEAC squads, as league commissioner Dennis Thomas noted, have dominated the series.
“We do have a 3-1 advantage over the SWAC,” Thomas joked. “I won’t make any other comments because (South Carolina State) Coach (Buddy) Pough is going to tell me that I gave them some bulletin board information.”
Duer Sharp, the SWAC’s commissioner, responded: “I think when you’re 1-3, you don’t really need bulletin board material. I think the record speaks for itself.”
Thomas later commending ESPN “for having the vision and courage to televise black college football.”
Grambling and South Carolina State are playing for the first time since 1994.