Still, he doesn’t think dropping an early SWAC game has taken Grambling out of the race for a third consecutive Western Division title.
“I said last year, but no one would listen, there isn’t much difference from the teams in this league,” Broadway said. “It’s just the team that makes the fewest mistakes and is injury free. This thing is far from over.”
History suggests that Grambling can’t afford to lose again.
It has advanced to six of the 10 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Games, but has never done so with two or more stumbles. In fact, only once has a representative from the rugged SWAC West dropped more than one contest before punching its ticket to Birmingham.
Grambling was undefeated in SWAC play in 2005 and 2008, and had 1 loss going into its SCG appearances of 2007, 2002, 2001 (though Alabama State has since forfeited that game), and 2000.
Similarly, Southern was undefeated in 1999, and had 1 loss in 2003 and 2004. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the exception; it had two losses in 2006, and fell in the SCG to Alabama A&M.
The other side of the bracket has sometimes found easier passage to the league’s championship match. Half of the East participants have had two or more losses since the game was established in 1999:
Alabama A&M had 3 regular-season stumbles before playing in both the 2000 and 2006 games, and 2 in 2005 as well. The Bulldogs dropped just 1 regular-season before their 2002 SCG appearance.
Alabama State also had 2 losses in 2004, though it too only dropped 1 regular-season game in both 2001 and 2004.
Jackson State had 2 losses going into the SCG in 2007, but had 0 losses in 1999 and just 1 loss last season.