Tigers seek to upgrade late game, boost attendance

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling State hopes to upgrade its opponent for the final regular season game and boost attendance at the same time.

The game, which falls just before the Bayou Classic bye week, has been tough to schedule. Most prospective opponents have entered their conference schedule by late November, leading to lightly attended matchups for Grambling against independents like Savannah
State, the now-defunct Morris Brown and fledgling Concordia College. Crowds for this date over the past five seasons have averaged a paltry 5,600.

So Grambling entered talks with traditional black college power North Carolina A&T about a possible neutral-site classic game.

The contest could be played in Phoenix, either at Bank One Park, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and this month's Insight Bowl, or at Sun Devil Stadium, site of the 1996 Super Bowl.

The game has an extra draw. A&T, which won a conference title three years ago but struggled to a 3-8 record in 2005, hired former Grambling great Lee Fobbs as its new coach this month.

Fobbs was an All-American under Grambling legend Eddie Robinson, then a finalist both to replace Robinson in 1997 and again when eventual successor Doug Williams left for an NFL job in 2004.

Grambling coach Melvin Spears was given the position a year ago, and led Grambling to an undefeated Southwestern Athletic Conference record on the way to the league championship.

"It would be a major Grambling affair," said Spears. "It would give us a chance to congratulate Coach Fobbs on getting the job. He's a testament to Grambling, and so is Pat Bibbs."