North Carolina A&T, the premier program in HBCU football in the Celebration Bowl era, begins the 2018 season in a familiar position, atop the BOXTOROW HBCU FCS coaches poll.
It’s where the Aggies ended the 2017 season after going undefeated and winning their second Celebration Bowl and HBCU national championship in three seasons. 20 of 21 coaches voted the Aggies No. 1.
N.C. A&T has a new coach this year as Sam Washington takes over the program following Rod Broadway’s retirement in January. Washington has been an assistant under Broadway the last 11 years.
Other familiar names are expected to challenge the Aggies for supremacy in 2018. Grambling, who fell to A&T in last year’s Celebration Bowl but won the title and HBCU national championship in 2016, opens at No. 2.
Alcorn State has won the last four SWAC Eastern Division titles and starts the year off at No. 3.
The remaining top five teams had solid 2017 seasons. Howard, which opened 2017 with a 43-40 victory over FBS opponent UNLV and finished the season with a 7-4 record which tied for second place in the MEAC, opens at No. 4. No. 5 Bethune-Cookman also finished 2017 tied for second in the MEAC.
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.