With its 38-21 loss to Big Ten Conference opponent Indiana University on Sept. 17, the South Carolina State Bulldogs remain No. 1 in the Boxtorow Historically Black College/University Football Power Rankings’ media poll.  But the coaches ranked it a little differently. 

Couple SCSU’s loss and the Jackson State University Tigers’ 28-24 victory over Southern University, and the Tigers are No. 1 in the coaches’ poll.  

South Carolina State received 15 of 23 first place votes in the media poll, but only finished ahead of the Tigers by two points.  Meanwhile, the Bulldogs also received the majority of the first place votes in the coaches’ poll, but Jackson State finished 10 points ahead of the second-place Bulldogs.

It was a tough week as six teams from last week’s top-10 media poll fell.

Jackson State received the other eight first place votes in the media poll and finished second, a good 28 points ahead of third-place Bethune-Cookman who was off last week.  Alabama State knocked off Grambling University on Sept. 17 by the score of 31-17 and was rewarded by the media, ranking No. 4 this week, up from last week’s eighth place ranking. Hampton University lost to Old Dominion, 45-42, on Sept. 17 and fell from No. 4 to No. 5 this week.

The remainder of the media poll sees Albany State dropping one spot to No. 6 with its 30-27 loss to Valdosta State.  Grambling State and Florida A&M, who fell to Big East Conference opponent South Florida, are tied at No. 9.  The Norfolk State Spartans moved up two spots to No. 7 with their 23-9 victory over Howard.  Winston-Salem State, who is 3-0 on the season and beat Chowan 55-24 on Saturday, debuts in the poll at No. 8. 

With respect to the coaches poll, Jackson State received six first-place votes, two less than South Carolina State, but is the third different No. 1 team this year.  South Carolina State finished second followed by Bethune-Cookman, who moved up one spot to No. 3.  Just as it did in the media poll, Alabama State moved from No. 8 to No. 4, while Hampton rounds out the top-five.

Norfolk State moves up one space from last week and is ranked No. 6, followed by previously unranked Arkansas-Pine Bluff at No. 7.  Grambling State is ranked No. 8, Florida A&M is ranked No. 9. Despite its loss this past weekend to Delaware, Delaware State remains at No. 10.

The top game in HBCU football this week is scheduled for Sept. 22 in a nationally televised affair and has early Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) implications as Hampton will face Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla.  The other big game this week is a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Eastern Division game between Alabama State and Jackson State in Jackson, Miss.

FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW (Boxtorow) is 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 of existence and the coaches’ poll is in its third.


Donal Ware

Special to the AFRO