Complete black college football polls, Week 11: Jackson State remains SWAC’s highest ranked

Jackson State is the highest ranking Southwestern Athletic Conference team in the latest Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football Poll, and is also the only SWAC team ranked in the Sports Network/ FCS Top 25, at No. 21 — one spot behind the MEAC’s Norfolk State.

The Sheridan poll, which includes lower division programs as well, has Winston-Salem State at No. 1, followed by Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State — both MEAC programs. Norfolk State was top ranked in the Heritage Sports Radio Network and Dr. Cavil’s Black College Major Division Football Top 10.

Elsewhere, Alabama A&M and Alabama State, in an on-going battle for the SWAC East crown, at at Nos. 7-8 in the Sheridan voting. Grambling — after putting up its fifth win in a row last week — has also entered into the Top rankings.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Winston-Salem State: (22), 11-0, 264, 1
2. Bethune-Cookman: (5), 7-3, 249, 3
3. Norfolk State: (3), 9-2, 196, 6
4. Jackson State: 8-2, 165, 7
5. Florida A&M: 7-3, 151, 8
6. South Carolina State: 6-4, 93, 9
7. Alabama A&M: 7-3, 86, 2
8. Alabama State: 7-3, 68, 5
9. Albany State: 8-3, 52, 4
10. Grambling State: 6-4, 41, NR
Others receiving votes: Morehouse 34, Hampton 29, Miles College 26, Elizabeth City State 19, North Carolina A&T 13.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Norfolk State: (20), 9-2, 200, 2
2. Jackson State: 8-2, 180, 4
3. Florida A&M: 7-3, 141, 5
4. Alabama A&M: 7-3, 135, 1
5. Alabama State: 7-3, 110, 3
6. Bethune-Cookman: 7-3, 107, 7
7. South Carolina State: 6-4, 103,6
8. Howard: 5-5, 47, 8
9. Hampton: 6-4, 39, 9
10. Grambling State: 6-4, 33, 10
Others receiving votes: Prairie View 1.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
20. Norfolk State Spartans 9-2 855 22
21. Jackson State Tigers 8-2 766 21
Others receiving votes: Indiana State 331, North Dakota 195, Youngstown State 141, Jacksonville State 139, Stony Brook 135, Alabama State 98, San Diego 84, Bethune-Cookman 67, Duquesne 51, Drake 50, Eastern Kentucky 43, Brown 41, Chattanooga 39, William & Mary 28, Georgetown 24, Albany 19, Stephen F. Austin 18, Bryant 11, Southern Utah 11, Murray State 10, Florida A&M 10, Grambling State 8, South Carolina State 8, South Dakota State 6, Alabama A&M 5, Samford 5, Eastern Washington 5, Elon 4, Cal Poly 4, Tennessee State 2, Jacksonville 1, Massachusetts 1.

Details had not arrived as of Tuesday morning.

Rank, team, (record), first-place votes, total points, previous ranking, last week and next week’s opponent
1. Norfolk State: (9-2), (9), 106, 3 (Beat Morgan State 47-14, Open)
2. Jackson State: (8-2), (3), 92, 4 (Beat Alabama A&M 34-6, vs. Alcorn State)
3. Florida A&M: (7-3), 84, 5 (Beat North Carolina Central 31-10, vs. Bethune-Cookman)
4. Bethune-Cookman: (7-3), 83, 6 (Beat Savannah State 59-3, vs. Florida A&M)
5. Alabama A&M: (7-3), 70, 1, (Lost to Jackson State 34-6, at Prairie View A&M)
6. Alabama State: (7-3), 68, 2 (Lost to Southern 26-23, Open)
7. South Carolina State: (6-4), 32, 7 (Beat North Carolina A&T 30-22, at Savannah State)
8. Grambling State: (6-4), 30, 8 (Beat Texas Southern 29-25, Open)
9. Hampton: (6-4), 12, 9 (Beat Delaware State 42-6, vs. Morgan State)
10. Prairie View A&M: (5-5), 11, NR (Beat Alcorn State 40-14, vs. Alabama A&M)
Dropped out: Morgan State (5-5). Also receiving votes: Tennessee State (5-5) 8, Howard (5-5) 7, Morgan State (5-5) 6, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5-5) 3.

Rank, team, total points, first-place votes
22. Norfolk State: 433
Also receiving votes: 28. Jackson State Tigers, 52; 40. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 8.

Rank, team, (first-place votes)
17. Jackson State
19. Norfolk State
Others receiving votes: Stony Brook; Tennessee Tech; Furman; Jacksonville State; North Dakota; Samford; Georgetown; Albany; Duquesne; Florida A&M; Eastern Kentucky; Alabama A&M.


It’s far, far from over in the SWAC’s wild, wild West

Asked, the week after Grambling lost to Prairie View, if his season was over, Doug Williams was typically blunt: “We’ve still got more games to play, right? So, the season isn’t over.”

If that seemed a bit too hopeful to fans fretting over a rebuilding Grambling squad that had lost four in a row after a season-opening victory over Alcorn State, it’s become clear that the team itself bought into Williams’ message. The youthful crew at Grambling has gone on to win the next three conference contests in a row to pull even with Prairie View’s 4-3 record atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Western Division standings. Prairie View, also in rebuilding mode, has skidded to three straight losses.

Then there’s Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Despite being decimated by player suspensions after a fight with Southern, the Golden Lions are lurking just one game back at 3-4 in league play.

In other words, Coach Williams had a point: This thing is far, far from over.

“I don’t think we can have a pity party over what’s happened to us,” said Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Monte Coleman. A record of “5-4 may do in the West this year. We have to win these two football games to keep that hope alive. The West is not completely closed.”

Pine Bluff has beaten Prairie View and lost to Grambling. Even if Grambling wins out, it needs Prairie View to lose again. Still, to be in the conversation is a testament to both the resiliency of the Tigers — and the wide-open nature of the traditionally ultra-competitive SWAC West.

“We can’t get too caught up in being in the thick of it, because three weeks ago we were left for dead — and we somehow found a resperator,” Williams reminds. “It’s what I’ve been telling them from Day One: We’re all we’ve got. This is about self help. We have to do what we are supposed to do; we can’t rely on anybody helping us. If things work out in the end, so be it. If we continue to play like we can, then let the chips fall where they may.”

The season’s remaining two games will tell the tale. Grambling plays host this week to Texas Southern and then, after a bye, faces in-state SWAC rival Southern in the Bayou Classic. Prairie View, meanwhile, travels to Alcorn State than plays host to Alabama A&M. Arkansas-Pine Bluff travels to Mississippi Valley State this week, then plays host to Texas Southern.

“We’re still in the race,” Coleman adds. “If we win these two, it might be a flip of coin to get us in. Crazier things have happened. So, we’re trying finish 6-5 and see what’s out there for us as far as winning the SWAC.”

Rick Comegy refocuses Jackson State after title dream left in ashes

If Jackson State had anything to play for at all, after suffering a post-season ban this year, it was for the mythical black college national championship. And, going into last week’s home game at Grambling, that seemed like a very real possibility for a team sitting atop HBCU polling.

No more. Grambling pulled off a stunning upset, and Jackson State crashed landed into the bottom half of black college football’s Top 10 lists.

That has JSU coach Rick Comegy refocusing his team on more achieveable goals: “We’re working to have the best season possible,” he said. “We were 8-3 last year; it would be nice to be 9-2 this year. That’s not bad in any books. I think wer still have one of the best records in the SWAC. I think the kids are playing really well and doing a good job, for all that they have been through.”

Last May, Jackson State’s football team was one of a record eight college football or basketball teams to receive a postseason ban for 2011, based on sub-par marks in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate reports. JSU’s APR was 879 out of 1,000, well below the 925 cutoff to avoid penalties. This year’s APR numbers are based on a program’s graduation and retention rates for the years 2006-07 through 2009-10.

With a shot at the black college title gone, too, it would seem that Jackson State is left with nothing more than the role of spoiler.

Not to Comegy: “The attitude is not about being a spoiler,” he says. “We enjoy football. We enjoy winning football games — but we didn’t win that one, and we have to move on. ‘Spoiler’ is for the news press. We just want to win out and have the best season we possibly can.”

Click HERE for a complete look at this week’s black college football polls.

In the wake of an ugly brawl, Arkansas-Pine Bluff continues to struggle

Another week, another ugly loss for Arkansas-Pine Bluff — and this time, it was on homecoming.

The Golden Lions have seen their season badly tarnished by one of the most shocking college football brawls since the Miami (Fla.)/Florida International melee in 2006. A stunning 41 players were subsequently suspended from both the UAPB and Southern teams — including 25 from Coach Monte Coleman’s roster. The Southwestern Athletic Conference later relented and agreed to stagger the suspension over more than one game, but that hasn’t kept Pine Bluff from sliding right off a cliff in 2011.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff proceeded to lose to Grambling, in a key Western Division match, then fell 28-12 last week to Alabama State to spoil homecoming. Coleman’s defense allowed fill-in starter Devin Dominguez to pass for 254 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Nehemiah Henry, as well as three rush touchdowns by Alabama State’s Tim Clark.

Meanwhile, quarterback Benjamin Anderson was picked off twice, one of which cost the Golden Lions (4-5, 3-4) what might have been a sure score when Markinley Saint Fort ended a 15-play, 70-yard drive at the ASU 6-yard line late in the first half.

“The kids who played this week, played hard,” Coleman said. “But we’re missing 12 key players, the majority of them starters. So, you go in short handed, and then you lose some players because of injury in the game, it just escalates. Alabama State is a very good team. We knew that going in. I just wish we had all of our weapons going in.”

It’s doesn’t get any easier this week, as Arkansas-Pine Bluff will again be missing 6 suspended players, four of them starters, according to Coleman. His team is facing a dangerous Mississippi Valley State team that, though it’s 1-9, has pushed several favored foes to the brink of defeat. That one win? Earlier this month against defending SWAC champion Texas Southern, snapping a 19-game losing streak.

“I think they’re the most improved team in the conference — a scary team,” Coleman said. “They play with lot of heart, lot of emotion. I don’t see it as a cake walk. It’s going to be a battle.”

Complete black college football polls, Week 9: A shakeup at the top, as Jackson State takes over

Jackson State, last seen easily handling Southwestern Athletic Conference foe Prairie View A&M, moved to the top of the Sheridan Broadcasting Network, Heritage Sports Radio Network, Dr. Cavil’s, and Urban Sports News Black College polls for Week 9.

Alabama State, after stumbling because of special teams blunders in an in-state rivalry game against Alabama A&M, lost its lengthy grip on the top spot.

“I was asked last week by The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger what I thought were Jackson State’s chances to win the national title,” said John Posey, CEO of Urban Sports News. “I said if Alabama State falls and the Tigers win out, Jackson State would win our national championship without question. They still have an improving Grambling team and a tough Alabama A&M team to play though.”

Winston-Salem State is at No 2, according to Sheridan, and No. 3 on the USN list behind Alabama State. Alabama A&M, at third on the Sheridan poll, is No. 2 according to the Heritage and Dr. Cavil’s voters.

“As much as we like Winston-Salem State,” Posey added, “their schedule is suspect. They don’t have a signature win against an FCS school.”

Here’s a look at complete black college football polling for Week 9 …

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Jackson State (24), 7-1, 261, 2
2. Winston-Salem State (5), 9-0, 247, 3
3. Alabama A&M 6-2, 185, 6
4. Bethune-Cookman 5-3, 164, 4
5. Albany State 7-2, 132, 5
6. Alabama State 6-2, 93, 1
7. Norfolk State (1), 7-2, 86, 7
8. Hampton 5-3, 65, 8
9. Florida A&M 5-3, 52, 9
10. South Carolina State 5-4, 39, 10
Others receiving votes: Morehouse 28, Elizabeth City State 23, Morgan State 21, North Carolina A&T 16, Miles College 12.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Jackson State (19), 7-1, 216, 2
2. Alabama A&M (2), 6-2, 196, 3
3. Norfolk State (1), 7-2, 180, 4
4. Alabama State 6-2, 155, 1
5. Hampton 5-3, 135, 5
6. Florida A&M 5-3, 102, 6
7. South Carolina State 5-4, 91, 7
8. Bethune-Cookman 5-3, 63, 9
9. Morgan State 5-3, 47, 10
10. Prairie View A&M 4-4, 21, 8
Others receiving votes: Grambling State 8, North Carolina A&T 1.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
15. Jackson State 7-1, 1,235, 19
Others receiving votes: Cal Poly 346, Furman 346, Alabama State 341, Massachusetts 307, Norfolk State 187, Brown 154, Alabama A&M 135, Albany 109, North Dakota 105, Portland State 71, Southern Utah 50, Jacksonville 49, Samford 49, Chattanooga 45, Georgetown 41, Youngstown State 34, Eastern Kentucky 33, Stony Brook 30, Northwestern State 22, Duquesne 15, UT Martin 12, San Diego 12, Richmond 8, Tennessee State 7, Florida A&M 4, South Carolina State 2, Bethune-Cookman 1, Penn 1, The Citadel 1.

Rank, name, (record), first-place votes, total, previous week, last week’s and next week’s opponents
1. Jackson State (7-1), (6), 103, 2 (Beat Prairie View A&M 44-14), vs. Grambling State)
2. Alabama A&M (6-2), (3), 102, 3 (Beat Alabama State 20-19), at Alcorn State)
3. Alabama State (6-2), (2), 100, 1 (Lost to Alabama A&M 20-19), at Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
4. Norfolk State (7-2), (1), 80, 4 (Beat North Carolina A&T 14-10), at Savannah State)
5. Hampton (5-3), 58, 7 (Beat Savannah State 22-5), vs. Howard)
6. Florida A&M (5-3) 51 5 (Did not play, vs. NC A&T)
7. Bethune-Cookman (5-3) 43 10 (Beat North Carolina Central 34-6), vs. Morgan State)
8. Morgan State (5-3), 26, NR (Beat Delaware State 12-0), at Bethune-Cookman)
9. South Carolina State (5-4), 13, NR (Beat Howard 31-0), Open)
10. Prairie View A&M (4-4), 12, 6, (Lost to Jackson State 44-14), at Texas State)
Dropped out: Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-4), North Carolina A&T (4-4). Others receiving votes: North Carolina A&T (4-4) 11, Grambling State (4-4) 8, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-4) 5.

Rank, team, record, USN comment
1. Jackson State, 7-1: Ran up 722 yards of total offense in 44-14 win over Prairie View. Dominating performance. Next up: Host improving Grambling.
2. Alabama State, 6-2: Special teams killed the Hornets in 20-19 loss to Alabama A&M. Next up: Visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Trap game.
3. Winston-Salem State, 9-0: Edged Shaw 21-14. Next up: Visit Saint Augustine’s.
4. Alabama A&M, 6-2: Jumped out to a 17-0 lead on their way to 20-19 upset of Alabama State. Next up: Visit Alcorn State.
5. Bethune-Cookman, 5-3: Drilled NC Central 34-6. Next up: Host Morgan State for homecoming.
6. Albany State, 7-2: Beat up Benedict 37-13. Next up: Close out regular season against Fort Valley State.
7. Norfolk State, 6-2: Edged North Carolina A&T 14-10. Next up: Travel to Florida A&M.
8. Morehouse, 7-2: Blasted Fort Valley State 49-12. Next up: Visit Kentucky State.
9. FAMU, 5-3: Off. Next up: Host North Carolina A&T in elimination game for conference title.
10. Hampton, 5-3: Unimpressive win against Savannah State. Next up: Host Howard in rivalry game. Trap game.
Dropped out: None. Moving up: Bethune-Cookman, Elizabeth City, Langston, Morgan State, South Carolina State. Trending Down: North Carolina A&T. Others receiving consideration: Elizabeth City, Langston, Miles, Morgan State, South Carolina State.

Others receiving votes: 28. Jackson State 138; 29. Norfolk State 121; 35. Alabama State 44; 40. Alabama A&M 20.

Rank, team, (first-place votes)
18. Jackson State
23. Norfolk State
24. Alabama A&M
Others receiving votes: Alabama State; Tennessee Tech; Portland State; North Dakota; William & Mary; Albany; Harvard; Samford; Furman; Jacksonville State; Brown; South Dakota; Duquesne; Stony Brook.

Eddie G. Robinson’s victories, because of the obstacles, will always mean more

All due respect to Joe Paterno, who has tied Grambling’s Eddie G. Robinson for all-time college football wins in Division I. But Robinson’s victories meant more, because of the time in which they were won.

Robinson passed coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once-thought-unassailable record of 324 career victories back in 1984, and the bulk of his own eventual 408 wins came during a time of crushing racial oppression — something never experienced by the likes of big-school legends like Bryant or Paterno, who tied Robinson’s mark with his own 408th career victory Saturday night when Penn State beat Northwestern 34-24.

“Coach Rob’s victories were tougher than anybody else’s,” says Grambling coach and former player Doug Williams, who later rose to national fame as MVP of the 1988 Super Bowl.

Every one of Robinson’s wins came with Grambling playing against its opponent, and against dizzying odds. There was little money, and even less recognition. Yet Robinson became the first coach, at any level, to claim 400 collegiate victories — doing so on Oct. 7, 1995, after beating Mississippi Valley State in Grambling, Louisiana.

For many, that has been the shorthand on Eddie G. Robinson. But not for those who knew him.

“It’s not about the numbers,” says Sammy White, a current Grambling assistant who played for Robinson’s Tigers from 1973-76. “It’s about the people: He was my mentor on the field, but also off the field. Coach Robinson taught me more than when I was in high school — or even at home.”

Of course, Robinson’s mythical 400-win plateau had already been topped in college football, even before Paterno’s assault on the record books this season. In November 2003, John Gagliardi at tiny Division III St. John University beat Bethel College to push Gagliardi past Robinson’s 408 mark.

“His was the tougher job because of the times,” Williams says of his former coach. “There was no practice equipment. They were playing on sand. They couldn’t even stay in town when they travelled.”

Grambling is remembered today for sparking widespread interest in black college football — starting with the still awe-inspiring September 1968 sell-out game at Yankee Stadium, the first of three at the House That Ruth Built. But trips like that were a logistical nightmare, as the team had to manage not just travel budgets but also institutional racism in the Jim Crow South.

College Football Hall of Famer Douglas Porter, an assistant at Grambling as it won six conference titles in the eight years beginning in the late 1960s, ruefully remembers having to sneak into roadside stores for supplies — since, as a light-skinned African American he could pass for white. When the Tigers would bus out east, they were forced to plan their routes around friendly fellow historically black colleges like Tuskegee, since those were the only places they could stop to eat and go to the bathroom.

And yet Robinson, whose entire 56-season career as a coach was spent at Grambling, retired in 1997 having sent more than 200 players into the pros — of which four have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Countless more became leaders in their communities, something that was even more important to Robinson.

“He wasn’t a guy that everything that came out of his mouth was Xs and Os,” Williams said. “Everything that he did and related to was about life. He related football to life. It was about being able to survive in America.”

Robinson didn’t just survive through these tough times. He thrived, and the accollades finally followed. There was the Sports Illustrated cover when he passed Bryant. A quick induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, just a year after his retiremment. The Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA, recognizes its best coach each year with an award named after Robinson. The Southwestern Athletic Conference, where he led Grambling to a still-standing record of 17 titles, renamed its championship-game trophy for Robinson, as well.

Robinson himself didn’t talk much about the record. Typically understated, he once said: “I’ve never concerned myself with personal records. All the 324 wins means is that I have been around for a long time.”

The son of a sharecropper, Robinson was hired in 1941 to coach football, baseball and basketball at the Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute, as Grambling was then known. His 1942 squad, one of two to go undefeated, was unbeaten, untied — even unscored upon. A 1969 Grambling State game became the first black college contest to be broadcast on national television. Grambling participated in a celebrated overseas trip to Japan in 1976 and 1977. Williams became a Heisman Trophy finalist, then the first black quarterback to win the Super Bowl.

Along the way, Robinson would go on to touch the lives of countless people in the ensuing years. While many remember that he coached four players who would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Robinson often talked about how all of them got their educations, too. He is most proud, he said, that many of them became working professionals. Talking about the 15th anniversary of Williams’ 1988 NFL championship with the Washington Redskins — and what that meant to black football players — Robinson told me: “The thing we are most proud of is that they graduated from college.”

His former players say what should be celebrated, far more than winning, is Robinson’s ability to see a larger context for their lives — and for their school — despite the kind of obstacles that would humble many lesser men. The falling of Robinson’s all-time wins record, they say, can’t begin to match those accomplishments.

Williams adds: “It’s impossible to say what Coach Rob means to this institution — and to me.”

“Growing up,” White remembers, smiling wistfully, “he often told me: ‘You don’t just want to be a great football player. You want to be a great American.'”

For Robinson, that was the goal — and it was something he himself boldly achieved, in a far more difficult setting than the likes of Bryant, Gagliardi and Paterno. As for his legacy, the fear that fewer people would hear about Robinson as time passes seems to have been extinguished for good with the long-awaited opening of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on the campus of Grambling State University.

“It’s kind of like me winning the Super Bowl. For college kids today, that’s not much of an impact,” Williams tells me. “That’s what happens. The only way to keep his memory alive to keep reminding people that he’s ‘The Legend.'”

Robinson captured 17 SWAC championships in his career, along with these other important wins:
100th win — 1957, Bethune-Cookman, 20-12
200th win — 1971, Miss. Valley St., 25-12
324th win — 1984, Prairie View A&M, 27-7
400th win — 1995, Miss. Valley St., 42-6
408th win — 1997, Miss. Valley St., 20-13

Complete black college football polls, Week 8: Alabama State remains the frontrunner

Alabama State (6-1) once again tops the Sheridan Broadcasting Network poll of historically black college football programs, as well as the Heritage Sports Radio Network, Dr. Cavil’s Black College Major Division and Urban Sports News lists.

“Alabama State is the best team we’ve seen play this season,” said John Posey, CEO of Urban Sports News. “Jackson State, when the play with focus, is the second-best team. Bethune-Cookman has the most talent, but they have had poor quarterback play and make far too many penalties.”

Meanwhile, Jackson State (6-1) continues to battle with Norfolk State (6-2) for No. 2. Jackson State is in the runner-up position according to Sheridan, Dr. Cavil’s and USN, while Norfolk State is No. 2 according the Heritage voters. NSU dropped from No. 2 to fifth in the Urban Sports News Poll after a lackluster effort against Bethune-Cookman last week.

“South Carolina State has quarterback problems,” Posey said. “I think one of the most pleasant surprises of the season is Howard (4-4). The Bison have beaten Morehouse, North Carolina A&T, and FAMU. All have been ranked this year. It looks like FAMU has righted the ship. Winston-Salem State has been outstanding.”

Alabama A&M has moved into the No. 3 spot on the Dr. Cavil’s list. Alabama State and Jackson State are the only two HBCUs in the Sports Network national Top 25 FCS poll — at 16 and 19, respectively.

“The SWAC West is weaker than it’s been over the last few years,” Posey said. “Most of these teams have young quarterbacks. Who could have predicted that Grambling and Tuskegee would be struggling in 2011?”

Here’s a look at complete black college football polling for Week 8 …

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Alabama State (26), 6-1, 273, 1
2. Jackson State (3), 6-1, 254, 4
3. Winston-Salem State (1) 8-0, 189, 5
4. Bethune-Cookman 4-3, 155, 6
5. Albany State 6-2, 123, 7
6. Alabama A&M 5-2, 91,8
7. Norfolk State 6-2, 83, 2
8. Hampton 4-3, 62, 10
9. Florida A&M 5-3, 49, NR
10. South Carolina State 4-4, 37, 3
Others receiving votes: North Carolina A&T 29, Morehouse 25, Elizabeth City State 20, Morgan State 17, Stillman 11.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
1. Alabama State (18), 6-1, 217, 1
2. Norfolk State (3), 6-1, 201, 2
3. Jackson State 6-1, 171, 3
4. South Carolina State 4-3, 148, 4
5. Alabama A&M 5-2, 133, 6
6. North Carolina A&T 4-2, 113, 8
7. Hampton 3-3, 71, 5
8. Prairie View A&M 4-3, 61, 7
9. Florida A&M 4-3, 51, 10
10. Morgan State 4-3, 20, NR
Others receiving votes: Bethune-Cookman 11, Howard 8, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 5.

Team, (first-place votes), record, points, previous rank
16. Alabama State 6-1, 1,305, 19
19. Jackson State 6-1, 863, 23
Others receiving votes: Central Arkansas 303, Massachusetts 300, Richmond 297, Furman 256, Chattanooga 231, North Dakota 203, Cal Poly 200, Eastern Washington 141, Norfolk State 139, Brown 136, Albany 90, Jacksonville 79, Texas State 56, Alabama A&M 48, San Diego 29, Samford 27, Penn 23, Florida A&M 20, Southern Utah 20, Portland State 19, Georgetown 18, Sacramento State 16, Stony Brook 14, South Dakota State 12, UT Martin 12, Southern Illinois 10, Elon 10, Eastern Kentucky 8, McNeese State 6, Bethune-Cookman 5, South Carolina State 5, Duquesne 4, The Citadel 4, Youngstown State 3, Holy Cross 3, Northwestern State 2, Drake 1, Lafayette 1.

Name, (record), first-place votes, total points, previous week, last week and next week opponent
1. Alabama State (6-1), (7), 104, 1 (Did not play, vs. Alabama A&M)
2. Jackson State (6-1), (3), 101, 3 (Did not play, vs. Prairie View A&M)
3. Alabama A&M (5-2), (2), 100, 5 (Did not play, vs. Alabama State)
4. Norfolk State (6-2), 71, 2 (Lost to Bethune-Cookman 14-6, vs. North Carolina A&T)
5. Florida A&M (5-3), 67, 9 (Beat South Carolina State 27-24, open)
6. Prairie View A&M (4-3), 52, 7 (Did not play, vs. Jackson State)
7. Hampton (4-3), 43, 8 (Beat North Carolina Central 30-27OT, at Savannah State)
8. North Carolina A&T (4-3), 26, 6 (Lost to Howard 35-28OT, at Norfolk State)
9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-3), 14, 10 (Did not play, vs. Grambling State)
10. Bethune-Cookman (4-3), 11, NR (Beat Norfolk State 14-6), at North Carolina Central)
Also receiving votes: Morgan State (4-3) 10, South Carolina State (4-4) 8, Howard (4-4) 6. Dropped out: South Carolina State (4-4)

Rank, team, record, USN comment
1. Alabama State, 6-1: Off. Next up: Meet rival Alabama A&M on 10/29; trap game.
2. Jackson State, 6-1: Off. Next up: Meet Prairie View in Shreveport Classic; which JSU team will show up? Trap game.
3. Winston-Salem State, 8-0: Cruised to 59-7 win over Edward Waters. Next up: Host Shaw; trap game.
4. Albany State, 6-2: Scraped up a 18-13 win over Clark-AU. Next up: Host Benedict.
5. Norfolk State, 6-2: Bad QB play and poor game plan doomed the Spartans in 14-6 loss to Bethune. Next up: Host North Carolina A&T; trap game.
6. Morehouse Maroon, 6-2: Edged improving Benedict 37-31. Next up: Visit Fort Valley State; trap game.
7. Bethune-Cookman, 4-3: Talented team that could run the table if they eliminate mistakes and get better QB play; beat Norfolk 14-6. Next up: Visit NC Central.
8. Florida A&M, 5-3: Beat South Carolina State on the road 27-24. Next up: Host North Carolina A&T in elimination game for conference title on 11/5.
9. Hampton, 4-3: Edged NC Central; were Pirates looking ahead? Next up: Visit Savannah State.
10. Alabama A&M, 5-2: Off. Next up: Meet Alabama State in Magic City Classic in Birmingham.
Others receiving consideration: Elizabeth City, Howard, Langston, Prairie View, South Carolina State, Stillman. Dropped out: North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Stillman. Moving Up: Bethune-Cookman, Elizabeth City, FAMU, Langston. Trending down: North Carolina A&T, Prairie View, South Carolina State, Stillman.

Rank, team (first-place votes)
16. Alabama State
18. Jackson State
25. Norfolk State
Others receiving votes: Chattanooga; Massachusetts; Eastern Washington; Portland State; North Dakota; Tennessee Tech; Texas State; William & Mary; Albany; Harvard; Youngstown State; Furman.

Rank, team, total votes, first-place votes
21 Alabama State Hornets 437
Also receiving votes: 31. Norfolk State, 123; 32. Jackson State, 100.