With Jackson State’s 26-23 loss Saturday to Grambling State, the Winston-Salem State Rams are the new No. 1 in the Boxtorow National HBCU Football Power Ranking media poll, while the Alabama A&M Bulldogs are the top team in the coaches’ poll. This marks the first time in the history of either poll that Winston-Salem State or Alabama A&M has been No. 1. The Rams received 18-of-24 first-place votes from the media while the Bulldogs received 12-of-14 first-place votes from the coaches.

In the media poll the Norfolk State Spartans received five first-place votes and finished second, six points behind Winston-Salem State. Alabama A&M (received one first-place vote) and Alabama State each moved up one spot from last week to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Previous No. 1 Jackson State fell to No. 5.

The Albany State Golden Rams, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, the South Carolina State Bulldogs, and the Morehouse Maroon Tigers all maintained the No. 6, No. 7, No. 8, and No. 9 spots from last week. Florida A&M, reenters the poll at No. 10.

As for the coaches poll, Norfolk State received two first place votes and moved up one spot to No. 2. Alabama State and Bethune-Cookman both moved up one spot to No. 3 and No. 4, while similar to the media poll, Jackson State fell from the top spot to No. 5.

Florida A&M maintained its No. 6 spot, while South Carolina State moved up two spots to No. 7 this week. With its loss to Bethune-Cookman, Morgan State only dropped one spot to No. 8. Grambling State with its upset of Jackson State reenters the poll for the first time since Sept. 27 at No. 9, while Howard also reenters the poll this week at No. 10.

Key matchups this week include Jackson State at Alabama A&M with first place in the SWAC Eastern Division on the line. Winston-Salem State will meet Elizabeth City State in the CIAA Championship Game in Durham, NC. Albany State and Miles will square off in the first ever SIAC Championship Game in Atlanta, while Morgan State hosts Norfolk State.

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 and the coaches’ poll is in its third.


Donal Ware

Special to the AFRO