THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls State University and Souheastern Louisiana University are 2 of 7 Southland Conference schools taking part in the spring football season.
The University of Central Arkansas was the original favorite to win the 2020 Southland Conference crown, but UCA and 3 other Southland schools opted out of the spring restart, forfeiting their chance to win the conference championship.
So for the second year in a row, the road to the Southland Conference Championship heads through the River Bell Classic.
“They kept saying, yes we are playing in the spring yes we are playing in the spring and you still had a little bit of doubt. I think some of the players did too,” says Nicholls Head Football Coach Tim Rebowe.
Doubt turned into excteent Tuesday, when the Southland Conference announced the schedule for its Spring Season for schools that did not opt out.
“Now that we’ve got this schedule, you can just see the energy level jump up in the last few days with our guys and that’s been pretty cool to watch,” says Southeastern Head Football Coach Frank Scelfo.
Here’s how it’s going to go, there will be 8 weeks of football starting February 20.
7 schools will play a 6 game schedule, with 2 bye weeks for any unforeseen schedule changes and non-conference opportunities.
Something that both Nicholls and Southeastern Football programs say they plan to take advantage of.
“That first week of February 20th when we play, we have an open date so we don’t start until the 27th so that gives us an opportunity to go and search to see and to play another game,”says Rebowe.
Scelfo adds, “ The people that we would normally fill those spots with are playing. Now with that being said there are some other FCS schools and conferences, most of those guys aren’t playing right now.”
A preseason tune-up for a conference schedule that could have both the Lions and Colonels sitting at 5-0 heading into the always-competitive River bell Classic April 10th in Thibodaux.
2 teams playing for bragging rights, a Southland title, and an automatic bid for the FCS Playoffs in a year where the playoff field is shortened from 24 teams to 16.
“The schools have been rivals for such long long long years, it’s just great and what’s really been good it’s been coming down for both of us the last couple of years to get into the playoffs,” says Rebowe.
Scelfo adds, “That’d be an awesome deal to have that take place. What a great finish to that season and then who knows after that, there’s only 5 at-large qualifiers for the playoffs. So, it could be winner-take-all and the other one sits at home with a 5-1 record but that’s just the way it is that’s just the way the rules are laid out and that’s what we’ve got to play by.”