By Dr. J. Kenyatta Cavil and guest Jasmine Oliver
Inside the HBCU Huddle Columnist
College Sporting News
The Tennessee State Tigers (8-3) finished the season as Dr. Cavil’s 2012 HBCU Major Division Football Champions. While the No. 1 Tigers ended the season losing three of the last four games, all three games were road games, including the last conference road game against the non-HBCU Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (8-3) which finished tied for second in the OVC as that loss prevented TSU from earning a NCAA FCS playoff berth. The Tennessee State Tigers’ resume included three impressive wins over top-ranked HBCU football programs. This includes a 40-13 home victory over No. 2 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions, a 24-22 road victory over No. 3 Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (8-3) and a 38-12 neutral site victory over rival and No. 4 Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic.
The No. 2 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (10-2) completed their championship campaign with a victory over the No. 4 Jackson State Tigers (7-5) in the SWAC Championship Game, 24-21 in overtime. The Golden Lions won the game in comeback fashion after trailing by 14 points twice in the first half. The comeback included several big plays, including a sack fumble that led to a 73-yard fumble return by linebacker Bill Ross with four seconds left in the first half. UAPB also struck paydirt late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Benjamin Anderson connected with freshman wideout Willie Young for a 95-yard score which led to a 21-21 tie with two minutes left in the game. The Golden Lions blocked a JSU field goal in overtime and capped off their first SWAC Championship since 1966 with a 26-yard field goal.
The remaining teams in the poll remained the same from last week as their seasons are all complete. The North Carolina A&T State Aggies (7-4) come in at No. 5 followed by the No. 6 Alabama State Hornets (7-4), No. 7 Alabama A&M Bulldogs (7-4), No. 8 Howard Bison (7-4), and No. 9 North Carolina Central Eagles (6-5). The Delaware State Hornets close out the year ranked 10th in Week 15, which is the final week of Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Major Football Top 10 Poll Rankings.
Dr. Cavil's HBCU Major Division Football Top 10 Final Poll Rankings, with name of institution, record in parentheses, first-place votes, total points, previous week ranking, last week opponent and next week opponent:
Name-Record-1PV-Points-PWR-Last Game-Next Game-(Season Complete)
1. #-Tennessee State Tigers-(8-3)-(5)-101-1-(Season Complete)
2. @-Arkansas at P. B. Golden Lions-(10-2)-(4)-100-3-(Season Complete)
3. %-Bethune-Cookman Wildcats-(9-3)-(3)-99-2-(Season Complete)
4. &-Jackson State Tigers-(7-5)-91-4-(Season Complete)
5. N. C. A&T State Aggies-(7-4)-59-5-(Season Complete)
6. Alabama State Hornets-(7-4)-57-6-(Season Complete)
7. Alabama A & M Bulldogs-(7-4)-55-7-(Season Complete)
8. Howard Bison-(7-4)-32-8-(Season Complete)
9. N. C. Central Eagles-(6-5)-25-9-(Season Complete)
10. Delaware State Hornets-(6-5)-17-10-(Season Complete)
Dropped Out: N/A
Receiving Votes: N/A
PWR = Previous Week Ranking, 1PV = 1st Place Votes, LG = Last Game
# = Dr. Cavil's 2012 HBCU Football Major Division National Champion
@ = 2012 SWAC Champion
% = 2012 MEAC Champion
& = 2012 SWAC Eastern Division Champion
Listen to Dr. Cavil’s “HBCU Sports Top 10 Countdown” show on KCOH 1430AM radio (www.kcohradio.com) announcing Dr. Cavil’s Top 10 Major Division weekly poll rankings at 6:00 p.m. and Dr. Cavil’s “Inside the HBCU Sports Lab” with Ryan McGinty and Mike Washington from 9-10:00 p.m. every Sunday also on KCOH.