The Winston-Salem State Rams remain No. 1 among the media in HBCU football, while Norfolk State was voted the new No. 1 – almost unanimously – among the coaches in the Boxtorow National HBCU Football Weekly Power Ranking media and coaches’ polls. The Rams received 15-of-22 first-place votes from the media, while Norfolk State received 13-of-14 first place votes from the coaches.

This marks the third straight week that there is a new No. 1 among the coaches.  With previous Alabama A&M’s 34-6 loss to Jackson State and Norfolk State’s 47-14 victory over Morgan State, NSU was voted to the top spot for the first time this year.  By virtue of its victory the Spartans are 2011 MEAC Champions outright.

With the Rams 38-18 victory over Elizabeth City State in the CIAA Championship Game, the Rams also have a first round bye in the NCAA Division II Playoffs and will host a second-round game on Nov. 26.

In the media poll the Spartans received six first-place votes and finished two points behind Winston-Salem State for second place. Jackson State received one first-place vote and finished third, followed by Bethune-Cookman who jumps up three spots to No. 4.  Alabama A&M falls from No. 3 to No. 5 this week.

The South Carolina State Bulldogs are No. 6 followed by Alabama State at No. 7. The Hornets dropped three spots from last week after being upset by Southern. Florida A&M is No. 8, while Albany State lost 20-17 to Miles in the SIAC Championship Game and fell three spots to No. 9. Morehouse rounds out the poll at No. 10. In the coaches’ poll Jackson State received the other first-place vote and is No. 2, followed by Bethune-Cookman at No. 3. Alabama A&M dropped to No. 4, while Florida A&M is No. 5. Alabama State dropped to No. 6, while South Carolina State remains at No. 7. Grambling moved up one spot to No. 8. Hampton reentered the poll at No. 9, while the Howard Bison remained at No. 10. A key game this week can go a long way to determining who will play in the SWAC Championship Game Dec. 10 in Birmingham, Ala. and also have HBCU National Championship implications. Alabama A&M will be at Prairie View A&M.  If the Bulldogs win, they will represent the Eastern Division in the championship game. If they lose, then Alabama State will represent the East. Should Prairie View A&M win, the Panthers will represent the West against Alabama State in the championship game. Should the Panthers lose then the Nov. 26 Bayou Classic will determine who represents the Western Division.

Jackson State plays Alcorn State in the Capital City Classic in Jackson?and while a Tigers win could affect the Eastern Division championship race, JSU is ineligible for the SWAC Championship Game.

FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW (Boxtorow) a nationally syndicated sports talk radio show which places major emphasis on HBCU Sports. The voters in the media poll are comprised of some of the top media members in the country who cover HBCU football. The coaches’ poll is voted on by the FCS HBCU coaches.  The media poll is in its fifth year and the coaches’ poll is in its third.


Donal Ware

Special to the AFRO