HBCU FOOTBALL POWER RANKINGS
Hartly, DE. – We are heading for the finish line in the 2018 football season. It is the time of the year to separate the Men from the Boys and the Wheat from the Chaff. Being a champion is hard work, and not for the ill-equipped. It’s time for the HSRN Top 5 Countdown as we head for the home stretch in Division I and Division II football.
We start in D-1.
JACKSON STATE TIGERS (5-5, 4-3 SWAC)
The Tigers had a chance to play for a SWAC championship. All they needed to do was beat the Alcorn Braves. It didn’t happen. Alcorn claimed a 24-3 win and have punched their ticket for SWAC Championship Saturday. The Tigers are a work in progress, but look as if they might be a force in the future in the SWAC in beyond. For the Jackson State Tigers its “Wait til next year”.
ALCORN BRAVES (8-3, 6-1 SWAC)
Alcorn has been the bully on the block in the SWAC East in recent years, and they aren’t looking to give up their top dog status on the reservation. It’s difficult being at the top of the totem poll. Everybody wants what you have. Alcorn has been one of the more consistent HBCU programs in recent season’s and they are looking to reap the rewards of their consistent play. The Champs of the East are once again headed to the SWAC Championship game. They will play either Grambling State or Southern for the right to go at North Carolina A&T in the Celebration Bowl.
Grambling Tigers (6-4, 5-2 SWAC)
The fate of the G-Men will come down to the annual collision with Southern in the Bayou Classic. Not only will tradition be on the line, but a trip to the SWAC Championship and the battle for the HBCU National Championship could also be at the end of the rainbow for Grambling if they can win out. It’s been an un even season for Grambling, but all pass sins would be forgiven if they can find a way to tame the Jaguars on Bayou Saturday on November 24.
Southern University (6-3, 5-1 SWAC)
Southern University is sitting in the drivers seat, with their ultimate destination in their hands. Everything is in front of them. The goals are clear, and the path is obvious. The Jaguars need to negotiate their way through the arch rival. We all know who they are. As usual, it’s Grambling standing between Southern and all their hopes and dreams this season. Win on Bayou Saturday, and all is right with the world.. However, a setback against Grambling would put a dagger in what’s been an encouraging ride in 2018.
North Carolina A& T (9-2, 6-1 MEAC)
Until somebody places that final dagger in their hearts, the Aggies remain the team to beat. They are once again MEAC Champions after their win over North Carolina Central and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcat win over Florida A&M. The Aggies are a team with a championship heart and championship pedigree. Whoever the SWAC sends to the Celebration Bowl will have their hands full with the Aggies.
Tuskegee (5-5, 3-3 SIAC)
It’s unconstitutional, and you would have to turn in your HBCU card if you had a D-2 HBCU list that did not included Tuskegee. But we have to keep it real Tuskegee. You are on the list more as a result of reputation than results. The Tigers were on the outside looking in on SIAC Championship Saturday. It’s an unfamiliar place. And it begs the question, is this only the start of a Tuskegee resurrection or are the Tigers coming back down to earth. Stay tune for 2019 for the answers
Benedict (6-3, 4-2 SIAC)
Close, but not good enough to order any rings. But Benedict is showing signs of upending the natural order of things on the football field in the SIAC. The question is; What can they do for an encore? Rising toward the top is difficult, but getting to the Penthouse is takes the kind of consistency and focus that Benedict hasn’t shown in recent seasons. We shall see if Benedict can build on their success in 2019.
Virginia Union (8-2, 5-1 CIAA)
The VUU Panthers are in that good…but not good enough zone. The Panthers are good enough to tease you, but not good enough to please you. VUU is on the verge of being CIAA Champion caliber, but are still a step shy of salvation. They have not been able to win the big ballgames they would have put them over the top. Until they can get in the ring with the big boys and deliver a knock out punch, they will remain contenders, and not champions.
Miles (5-6, 4-2 SIAC)
Okay, the 5-6 record is not very sexy. But Miles has a championship belt around their waist, and that’s good enough for us. They did what they had to do, when they had to do it. Their ability to rise when the moment presented itself and laudable. And no one will ever be able to take their championship away. We congratulate Miles on a job well done, and a season well played.
Bowie State (10-2, 5-1 CIAA)
Resilient. There are many words to describe the CIAA champs; however that’s one word that leaps to the tongue. When you lose your entire offensive line, and are able to find away to a title your resilience can’t be denied. And Bowie State can’t be denied our top spot in our D-2 Top 5. They are the only HBCU D-2 playing Post-Season football, and they earned the distinction by showing grit and fortitude when it was most necessary. Hail to the champs, and congratulations on their first round playoff win. Now it’s on to Georgia and a showdown with Valdosta State.