Contenders For Black College Football Championship

The Black College National Championship has been a point of contention in recent years. Many feel that the mythical title, awarded by the Sheridan Broadcasting network is obsolete since HBCUs play at the FCS, Division II and NAIA levels. Still, the championship has been a tradition for nearly 100 years. Below is a breakdown of the contenders.

Candidate: Bethune-Cookman (10-3, MEAC Champs)

// Why They Should Get It

Bethune-Cookman came into the season with great expectations, and a target on their back. The Wildcats responded with a great start, winning eight of their first nine games. The only loss they suffered was to Florida State, who will be playing for an FBS Championship next month. They beat two playoff teams, Tennessee State and South Carolina State, as well as FBS opponent Florida International.

Why They Shouldn’t Get It

BCU looked like world-beaters until it traveled to Norfolk State. The Spartans dominated the first three quarters and led 27-7 before BCU scored 17 fourth quarter points to finish with a 27-24 loss. NSU finished ninth place in the MEAC. That, coupled with its playoff loss and Tennessee State’s win complicates what looked like a pretty sure thing.

Southern (9-4, SWAC) 

Why They Should Get It

The Jags won seven of their last eight games, including the the Bayou Classic and the SWAC Championship. They also excelled in close games, winning four overtime games, including the SWAC title game against Jackson State.

Why They Shouldn’t Get It 

Southern won the conference generally regarded as one of, if not the worst, in the FCS. And they were blown out in both their out of conference games.

Tennessee State (10-4)

Why They Should Win

// The Tigers play in arguably the toughest conference of any HBCU team, the OVC. After dropping its opener to Bethune-Cookman with a freshman quarterback, TSU went on to win its next seven games. The Tigers did all of this without having a bye week until the final week of the regular season. After gaining an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs, TSU became the first HBCU to win an FCS playoff game since 1999.

Why They Shouldn’t Win

Tennessee State lost head-to-head to Bethune-Cookman. TSU struggled against elite teams, including a 44-0 loss to Eastern Kentucky and a 51-10 blowout against Eastern Illinois in the second round of the playoffs. And even though the win against Butler was better than any HBCU has done at the Division I level in quite a while, it came against Butler, a non-scholarship FCS school.

Winston-Salem State (10-2, CIAA South Champs)

Why They Should Get It

The two-time defending Black College National Champs, Winston-Salem State came into the season with high expectations. WSSU rebounded from its opening game loss to UNC-Pembroke by winning ten straight, never dropping out of the Division II rankings. WSSU won its third-straight CIAA South crown, and went undefeated against HBCUs for the third straight season. Both of its losses came against teams who made the Division II playoffs.

Why They Shouldn’t Get It

While a 10-2 record and a playoff win is something most HBCUs would be thrilled with, at WSSU it feels like a let down. The Rams advanced to the national semifinals and championship game in the past two years, and with over two dozen Division I transfers, it was loaded with talent on paper. The Rams said throughout the season that their goal was to win the national championship, and they didn’t do it.

Who was the best black college football team this season? Vote in our poll. 

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