(STATS) – Rivalry matchups always carry extra weight, but Thursday night’s River Bell Classic may be the most meaningful game of the final full week of the FCS season.
Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana have never seen more at stake.
The winner will clinch at least a share of the Southland Conference championship as well as the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the FCS playoffs. The loser will sweat it out until Sunday to learn if it will be postseason-bound on an at-large bid.
Southeastern Louisiana is hosting the intrastate battle in Hammond. Appropriately, the all-time series between the No. 21 Lions (7-3, 6-2) and No. 23 Nicholls (7-4, 6-2) is tied 14-14. The Colonels, who earned a share of last year’s title, enters on a three-game winning streak and SLU has won four in a row.
Central Arkansas (8-3, 6-2) also begins the week’s action in the three-way tie for first place and must defeat UIW Friday night to claim a share of the Southland title. Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana Lions beat the Bears and would hold a tiebreaker over them for the conference’s playoff AQ.