Hampton, Grambling State Are 1-2 in BASN’s Inaugural Black College Football Top 10

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 20, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Since the end of the 2005 Black College Football season, two powerhouse schools have been on a collision course. At season’s end, they were both named co-Black National Champions by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN).

Add to the fact that these same two schools will meet in this year’s MEAC-SWAC Challenge in September, it just adds to the excitement of the upcoming HBCU football campaign.

The Pirates of Hampton University and the Tigers of Grambling State University open the 2006 season as the two best teams in Black College Football. All that said, it should be to no surprise that they respectively sit 1-2 atop BASN’s Inaugural Black College Football Preseason Top 10.

Hampton and Grambling State will face-off in the season opener on Sept. 2 in the Ford MEAC-SWAC Challenge at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The top-ranked Pirates, predicted to win their third consecutive MEAC title by the league’s coaches and SID’s, are also ranked No. 1 in SBN’s preseason poll and 13th in the Sports Network’s Preseason I-AA poll.

Coach Joe Taylor’s squad (11-1, 8-0 MEAC last year) returns a potent senior class along with a host of four-year starters who are hoping to become the first team to win three straight MEAC crowns since South Carolina State (under the legendary Willie Jefferies) won four straight from 1980-83.

As for Grambling State, Melvin Spear’s Tigers finished a perfect 9-0 against SWAC competition and 11-1 overall last season suffering their only loss to Div. IA Washington State (48-7). However, GSU did defeat Alabama A&M (45-6) in the SWAC title game to win their fourth SWAC in the last six years.

The rest of the preseason top five includes the previously mentioned Bulldogs of Alabama A&M (9-3, 7-2) ranked third, South Carolina State (9-2, 7-1) of the MEAC fourth, and defending SIAC champion Albany State (8-2, 8-0) at number five.

Both A&M and SCSU will open the 2006 season on the road on Sept. 2nd. Anthony Jones’ Bulldogs, who lost twice to Grambling last year by a combined score of 89-6, will open their season against Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic at Nashville.

Buddy Pough’s Bulldogs will visit Wofford in their season opener. SCSU has posted back-to-back 9-2 seasons, but have been left out of the NCAA I-AA playoffs both years.

SIAC contender Tuskegee (11-1, 8-1) sits at number six. Rounding out the top ten are Bowie State of the CIAA (8-4, 6-3) at seven, conference rival Fayetteville State (6-4, 4-3) is eighth, Florida A&M of the MEAC (6-5, 5-3) is ninth, and Mississippi Valley State of the SWAC (6-5, 5-4) is at number ten.

This weekend, Tuskegee and Fayetteville State will open their season on the road. The Broncos will visit Wingate Saturday while the Golden Tigers will open against conference opponent Stillman at Tuscaloosa, Ala. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 3 pm ET.

Other BASN ranked teams that will be in action this weekend are Albany State, who will visit Durham, N.C. to battle the defending CIAA champion Eagles of North Carolina Central.