Southern’s schedule, at a glance

Game 1: at UL-Lafayette

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 30

Where: Cajun Field

Briefly: There’s no doubt this is an extremely difficult opener for the Jaguars. But it’s also an opportunity to gauge their progress after losing the opener last season 62-13 at Houston and their first game the year before that 66-21 at New Mexico.

Game 2: Central Methodist

When: 6 p.m. Sept. 6

Where: Mumford Stadium

Briefly: This figures to be Southern’s only opportunity to experiment under game conditions. It should be able to try new wrinkles and look at a variety of young players, if it so chooses, without risking defeat. CMU is an NAIA school based in Fayette, Missouri.

Game 3: Northwestern St.

When: 6 p.m. Sept. 13

Where: Mumford Stadium

TV: CST

Briefly: Another in-state matchup in an emotional environment. The Demons whipped the Jaguars 55-14 last season and said they were motivated by disrespectful remarks uttered by ex-SU linebacker Anthony Balancier in a TV interview.

Game 4: at Prairie View

When: 6 p.m. Sept. 20

Where: Blackshear Field, Prairie View, Texas

Briefly: Southern begins SWAC play with a crucial West Division showdown. The Jaguars turned their 2013 season around by rallying past the Panthers 62-59 in double OT last season; Prairie View faced an uphill climb the rest of the way.

Game 5: at Alcorn State

When: 4 p.m. Sept. 27

Where: Spinks-Casem Stadium, Lorman, Mississippi

Briefly: After visiting the team SWAC coaches picked to finish second to Southern in the West, the Jaguars visit the team the coaches picked to finish second in the East. Southern will enter October with a pretty clear idea of title chances.

Game 6: Arkansas-Pine Bluff

When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4

Where: Mumford Stadium

Briefly: Finally, a conference home game for the Jaguars. The Lions are expected to be a middle-of-the-pack team, which could make this an opportunity for Southern to start to heal after a rough start on the road — or build on the momentum of a fast one.

Game 7: at Alabama A&M

When: 1 p.m. Oct. 11

Where: Louis Crews Stadium, Huntsville, Alabama

Briefly: The longest trip of the year has the Jaguars facing the team picked to finish last in the East, but it’s also a team that took Southern into double overtime last season before succumbing 20-17. Don’t assume anything here.

Game 8: Jackson State

When: 6 p.m. Oct. 25

Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Jackson, Mississippi

Briefly: The front-runner for the SWAC’s game of the year? These teams were already bitter rivals before the Jaguars avenged a regular-season home loss by beating the Tigers 34-27 in double overtime to claim the SWAC title last season.

Game 9: Alabama State

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 1

Where: Mumford Stadium

Briefly: The Jaguars should be poised for a strong stretch run as they kick off a three-game homestand that precedes the Bayou Classic — meaning the Jaguars wrap up road play before Halloween. The finishing kick starts with a stiff challenge against the East favorite.

Game 10: Texas Southern

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 8

Where: Mumford Stadium

Briefly: On paper at least, this is where the schedule starts to lighten up. Southern hosts a Texas Southern team that was picked to finish fourth in the West, but the Jaguars had their hands full before winning this matchup 31-24 in Houston last season.

Game 11: Mississippi Valley

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 15

Where: Mumford Stadium

TV: CST

Briefly: Valley is picked to finish fourth in the East in its first season under Rick Comegy. But the Delta Devils may be a tougher opponent under the usually successful Comegy, whose eight-year tenure at JSU ended after the title-game loss to Southern.

Game 12: vs. Grambling

When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

TV: NBC

Briefly: Southern is on a higher level than Grambling, but appearances don’t always mean much in the Bayou Classic. A win here always has an inordinately large effect on the teams’ psyches moving forward.