After claiming their first-ever Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship outright, the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions finished the season No.1 in the Boxtorow national coaches’ poll. 

The Golden Lions came from behind to defeat Jackson State, 24-21, in overtime in the SWAC Championship game in Birmingham, Ala. on Dec. 9. The Golden Lions came back from being down 21-7 in the second quarter to force overtime and won the championship on a 26-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Strickland. 

UAPB has not lost a game since falling 40-13 to Tennessee State on Sept. 29 in Nashville, Tenn. The Golden Lions have won seven-straight games and finish atop the coaches’ poll for the first time since Boxtorow began administering the poll in 2009.
UAPB received nine of 15 first place votes. 

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, who was No. 1 for a majority of the season, finished No. 2 and ended the season with a 24-14 loss to Coastal Carolina in the first round of the FCS playoffs on November 24.
The Wildcats received the other six first place votes.

The Tennessee State Tigers, who defeated both UAPB and Bethune-Cookman, finished No. 3. The Tigers started the season 7-0 but lost three of their last four.

Jackson State, who started the season off 2-4 and rebounded to win five-straight to propel itself to the SWAC title game, finished No. 4. The North Carolina A&T Aggies finished tied for third in the MEAC and rounds out the top five.
Alabama State is No. 6, while the Howard Bison, in a two-win improvement from last year is No. 7. Alabama A&M, Delaware State and North Carolina Central finished Nos. 8 – 10.

The Boxtorow HBCU FCS coaches’ poll is administered by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and is voted on by the HBCU Football Championship Subdivision coaches.

2012 Boxtorow FCS HBCU Football Coaches Poll
(Records through Dec. 8, 2012)

Rank School W-L Pts. Previous Week
1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9) 10-2 143 2
2 Bethune-Cookman (6) 9-3 137 1
3 Tennessee State 8-3 121 3
4 Jackson State 7-5 93 4
5 North Carolina 7-4 79 6
6 Alabama State 7-4 74 5
7 Howard 7-4 70 7
8 Alabama A&M 7-4 51 8
9 Delaware State 6-5 28 9
10 North Carolina Central 6-5 26 10

Others receiving votes: Mississippi Valley State (5-6) 3.

Boxtorow National HBCU Football Champions (Coaches) Year-by-year
2012 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
2011 Norfolk State
2010 Bethune-Cookman
2009 South Carolina State

Donal Ware

Special to the AFRO