Southern doubles its Friday night fun with game at Texas Southern

It’s the largest market in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. It’s an easy drive from Baton Rouge, about four hours down Interstate 10.

For many Southern fans, their semiannual road trip to Houston is the highlight of football season.

But this year, if those fans want to attend either of the Jaguars’ games in Houston, they’ll have to plan a little more carefully.

On Wednesday, Texas Southern announced it will move its late-season game against Southern to 8 p.m. Nov. 1, giving the Jaguars the rarest of rare scheduling quirks: two Friday night games in Houston in the same season.

Southern will open its season Friday, Aug. 30, at Reliant Stadium against the University of Houston.

“It’s not ideal for our fans, obviously,” Southern Athletic Director William Broussard said, referring to the Texas Southern game.

“It will be harder for (the fans) to get out of town and make it to the game on a Friday night — and if anything, it’s not going to be ideal for Texas Southern. ... This would have probably been their biggest crowd of the year.”

Evidently, Texas Southern had little choice but to move the game.

Texas Southern, which moved into BBVA Compass Stadium last year, shares the facility with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

The Dynamo reserved Nov. 2 for a possible home playoff game.

That left Texas Southern with a choice: move the Southern game to Thursday, Oct. 31, or to Friday, Nov. 1. Texas Southern opted for Friday.

“It was a better option than moving it to a Thursday night, because it gives the fans in Houston an opportunity to finish out their work week and come to the game, and it will eliminate a two-day turnaround off work for fans traveling from Baton Rouge,” Athletic Director Charles McClelland in said. “Hopefully our decision works best for all parties involved.”

This marks the second time in five seasons Texas Southern has changed the date for a home game against Southern. In 2009, the Tigers moved a home game from Oct. 10 to Dec. 5 — one week after the Bayou Classic.

It was the first time Southern played a regular-season game after the Bayou Classic. It was also the final game of coach Pete Richardson’s 17-year run at Southern.

This season will be the fourth in five years in which Southern plays at least one non-Saturday game.

The Jaguars played Thursday night SWAC games in 2009 and 2012, and opened the 2010 season with a Sunday game in Orlando, Fla., against Delaware State.

This time, they’re playing a college-style edition of Friday night lights. Twice.

“Again, it’s not ideal,” Broussard said. “But Houston is our largest alumni base outside of the state of Louisiana, so we expect that we’ll get some very good support when we go over there.”