Top Four Spots in BTRC/BASN Poll Unchanged

By Tony McClean
Updated: November 25, 2008

From the Press Box BASN NEW HAVEN, Ct. – The most important weekend of the 2008 Black College Football season is set to get off to an early start. These key games will match several teams in this week’s edition of the HBCU Top 10 Football Poll.

While Thanksgiving Day will feature the traditional NFL and regional high school match ups around the country, the defending HBCU National Champions will be seeking to finish off their second straight perfect season.

Also on Saturday, the champions from the MEAC will look to advance in the NCAA Division I Championship Subdivision playoffs. That same day, the Bayou Classic looks to decide which team will meet Jackson State in the SWAC Championship Game next month in Birmingham.

As they have been all season, the Golden Tigers from Tuskegee (10-0) are the top team in this week’s poll. Receiving 13 of 18 first-place votes, Willie Slater’s undefeated squad will look to put a bow on their season as they meet arch-rival Alabama State in the Turkey Day Classic on Thanksgiving in Montgomery.

The three-time SIAC champions current 26-game winning streak (the longest current streak in all of college football) have already equaled the previous school mark set during the 1925-27 seasons.

The other five first-place votes were handed to the Bulldogs of South Carolina State (10-2) who clinched the MEAC crown two weeks ago. SCSU’s road to a national crown begins on Saturday with a difficult task.

Buddy Pough’s team will travel to Boone, North Carolina to take on the three-time Football Championship Subdivision national champions of Appalachian State (10-2). The Mountaineers and Bulldogs are meeting for just the second time ever.

The only other meeting was in 1984 at Boone, North Carolina where Appalachian State won 24-0. The contest, one of eight first-round games, kicks off at 12 noon at Kidd Brewer Stadium and will be carried live by ESPNU.

The rest of the top five includes Grambling State (9-2) at number three followed by Prairie View A&M (9-1) at number four and Florida A&M (9-3) at five. The Rattlers went from seventh to fifth following their Florida Classic victory over Bethune-Cookman.

The rest of the top 10 has Southern (6-4) going from eighth to sixth, Tennessee State (8-4) dropped one spot from sixth to seventh, Shaw (8-3) went from 10th to eighth, Albany State (7-4) remained ninth, and Jackson State (7-4) returns to the poll at No. 10.

The Tigers, the defending SWAC champs who’ve already clinched the Eastern Division crown, are still awaiting to see who’ll they’ll meet in the SWAC Championship Game in Birmingham on December 13th.

Grambling State, Prairie View A&M, and Southern are still in the Western Division title race and could all finish with identical 6-1 SWAC records. Saturday’s Bayou Classic at the Superdome could decide who gets the crown.

A Grambling win will give the Tigers the berth because of their division record.

However, a Jaguar victory will force a three-team coin flip involving GSU and Prairie View. The Panthers can only win the division through the three-team coin flip. They’ll be eliminated from title contention if Grambling State defeats Southern.

The game will be seen on NBC.

If the coin flip is necessary to break the tie between the three teams, it would occur this Sunday afternoon in New Orleans at a location to be announced.

BOXTOROW.COM/BASN HBCU TOP 10 FOOTBALL POLL (Records through November 22) School W-L Pts LW 1. Tuskegee (13) 10-0 169 1 2. S.C. State (5) 10-2 166 2 3. Grambling State 9-2 143 3 4. Prairie View A&M 9-1 121 4 5. Florida A&M 9-3 104 7 6. Southern 6-4 70 8 7. Tennessee State 8-4 61 6 8. Shaw 8-3 43 10 9. Albany State 7-4 38 9 10. Jackson State 7-4 30 NR (First place votes in parentheses) Others receiving votes: Bethune-Cookman (8-3) 21, Langston (10-2) 14, Fayetteville State (8-2) 4, Elizabeth City State (7-4) 2, West Virginia State (7-3) 1.