The HBCU football season begins Saturday night with the Alabama State Hornets and Howard Bisons taking on the 2022 Cricket Wireless MEAC/SWAC Challenge at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Before the splendor, magnificence and excitement of the game began, national media members of the HBCU-Pro Sports Media Association voted for their 2022 football preseason rankings.
Last season, Jackson State (11-2, SWAC Champion) and Bowie State (12-2, CIAA Champion) dominated the 2021 regular season in the Major and Mid-Major divisions. Today, HPSMA voters will begin a new season that ranks these teams above HBCU football.
The JSU Tigers and head coach Deion Sanders will kick off their highly anticipated 2022 campaign against the FAMU Rattlers and head coach Willie Simmons at the Orange Blossom Classic on September 4.
Last season’s winner, Jackson State University, represented SWAC at the 2021 Celebration Bowl against the MEAC Champions at South Carolina State University running the conference table. However, Buddypuff’s Bulldogs beat the Tigers 31-10 to win the 2021 HBCU Football his National Championship.
Can Florida A&M take revenge on JSU and control SWAC by lifting the 2022 SWAC Championship Trophy?
In the mid-major division, it’s somewhat surprising that Bowie came in first after longtime head coach Damon Wilson stepped down to accept the position for Morgan State. Voters are confident that new head coach Kyle Jackson will remain the Bulldogs’ top earner.
The Albany State Golden Rams (10-2) won the 2021 SIAC Championship, ultimately losing to the West Georgia Wolves in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Will 2022 finally be the year of the CIAA for the Fayetteville State Broncos, a challenge for No. 1 certification after losing to Bowie for four straight seasons in the conference championship game?
The major division included the SWAC and MEAC 2021 Celebration Bowl fighters and FCS playoff contenders claiming the top positions in the rankings. The 2022 HBCU-Pro Sports Media Association Preseason Rankings open with the Jackson State Tigers at his number one spot. In second place are the Florida A&M Rattlers and the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
Voters believe Sanders and his JSU team will top the field, repeat as SWAC champions, and return to the 2022 Celebration Bowl.
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The North Carolina A&T Aggies and Tennessee State Tigers were the other programs that received the top votes in the poll.
The Southern Jaguars, Alcorn State Braves, Alabama A&M Bulldogs, Norfolk State Spartans and North Carolina Central Eagles rounded out the top 10 teams.
Prairie View A&M and Grambling State also received votes.
mid major division
The Mid-Major Division had some familiar names battling it out for the top dollar in the polls. You got 1 first place vote.
On the other hand, Bowie keeps the first place with 3 first place votes. However, Giardina coached his Golden Rams against the Bulldogs, where he earned his 1st of 8 votes and earned him 2nd place in the rankings.
Fayetteville, Miles, Savannah State, and Tuskegee received first place votes from members of the Association.
Miles, Fayetteville, Savannah, Langston, Virginia Union, Morehouse and Tuskegee complete the rankings, with Kentucky and Virginia tied for 10th.
Fort Valley State, Shaw, Winston-Salem and Allen also received member votes.
2022 Preseason Rankings
1. Jackson 156 (9)
T2. Florida A&M 136 (3)
T2. South Carolina 136 (3)
4. North Carolina A&T State 98 (1)
5. Alabama A&M 64
6. Alcorn Province 63
7. Southern 55
8. Tennessee 47 (1)
9. Norfolk 46
10. North Carolina Central 42
Other teams receiving votes: Prairie View A&M 30, Grambling State 25
(1st place vote in brackets)
1. Bowie State 130 (4)
2. Albany 126 (8)
3. Fayetteville 121 (1)
4. Miles 71 (2)
5. Savannah 69 (1)
6. Langston 60
7. Virginia Union 59
8. Morehouse 48
9. Tuskegee 38 (1)
T10. Kentucky 35
T10. Virginia 35
Other teams receiving votes: Fort Valley State 30, Shaw 29, Winston-Salem State 21, Allen 20
(1st place vote in brackets)