HBCU Coaches Poll: North Carolina A&T leads preseason rankings

PHILADELPHIA, PA. — After a 2015 season which saw the North Carolina A&T Aggies finish as BOXTOROW national champions and win the inaugural Celebration Bowl 41-34 over Alcorn State, it’s no surprise the Aggies sit atop the preseason BOXTOROW Coaches poll.

MEAC co-championships Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central – North Carolina A&T was MEAC co-champions as well – follow at No. 2 and No. 4, with Alcorn State sandwiched between them at No. 3.

Each is expected to also contend for the HBCU national championship and a spot in the Celebration Bowl – that pits the MEAC champion against the SWAC champion – taking place Dec. 17 in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.

Like last year the Celebration Bowl will open the bowl season and will be televised on ABC.

Although Grambling and Prairie View A&M are No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, both teams are also expected to challenge. GSU is the defending SWAC Western Division champion, while PVAMU finished second last year, its only conference loss coming at the hands of the Tigers. The Panthers were 8-2 in Willie Simmons’ first year as head coach.

Delaware State and Jackson State kick off the 2016 HBCU football season on Thursday, September 3; DSU is on the road against Delaware and JSU is at UNLV.

In its eighth season, the BOXTOROW HBCU FCS coaches poll is administered by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and is voted on by the HBCU Football Championship Subdivision coaches.

2016 BOXTOROW FCS HBCU Preseason Football Coaches Poll

No. Team W-L Pts. 2015 Final Poll
1. North Carolina A&T (15) 10-2 184 1
2. Bethune-Cookman (2) 9-2 161 3
3. Alcorn State (1) 9-4 140 2
4. North Carolina Central 8-3 124 5
5. Grambling State 9-3 114 4
6. Prairie View A&M 8-2 97 6
7. South Carolina State 7-4 77 7
8. Alabama State 6-5 47 10
9. Southern 6-4 45 8
10. Hampton (1) 6-5 32 9

Other receiving votes: Tennessee State (4-6) 11, Norfolk State (4-7) 8,
Morgan State (4-6) 3, Jackson State (3-8) 1.

(1st place votes in parentheses)