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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | October 17, 2022

Southern's SWAC West wins boost the Jaguars in Week 8's HBCU football power rankings

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Who should be the No. 2 team in HBCU football? Southern or North Carolina Central? That's the debate of Week 8, but I have the answer in this week's HBCU football power rankings.

These will be done weekly throughout the regular season, as I sort each HBCU football team at the FCS level based on their performances. Nicknamed The Road to Atlanta, the weekly power rankings lead to the annual meeting of HBCU football's two best teams at this year's Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

The Road to Atlanta: Week 8 HBCU Football Power Rankings

1. Jackson State | SWAC | 6-0 (5-0) | Prev: 1

Jackson State won another SWAC game dominantly. The Tigers have an average margin of victory of 34.5 points this season.

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2. Southern | SWAC | 4-2 (3-1) | Prev: 4

Southern has now won three straight games, all against SWAC West opponents. With wins over highly-ranked HBCUs Prairie View A&M and Alcorn State, the Jaguars move in front of North Carolina Central for the second spot. Those wins allow Southern to control its own destiny in the SWAC West entering the homestretch of the season. 

3. North Carolina Central | MEAC | 5-1 (1-0) | Prev: 3

North Carolina Central bounced back from its bye week in dominant fashion, blowing out Morgan State on Thursday night. Quarterback Davius Richard scored six touchdowns, asserting himself as one of HBCU football's best players.

4. Alcorn State | SWAC | 3-3 (2-1) | Prev: 2

Alcorn State's loss to Southern saw its rushing attack held in check as the Braves failed to find the endzone on the ground. However, Alcorn State only dropped two spots since the loss came to another highly-ranked team.

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5. Florida A&M | SWAC | 5-2 (3-1) | Prev: 5

Florida A&M has now won five straight games. However, the Rattlers need Jackson State to lose two conference games for any shot at the SWAC Championship. 

6. Prairie View A&M | SWAC | 3-3 (3-1) | Prev: 6

Prairie View A&M had a bye week.

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7. Hampton | CAA | 4-2 (1-2) | Prev: 7

Hampton picked up its first CAA conference win, needing overtime to defeat Albany. Quarterback Malcolm Mays impressed, throwing four touchdowns in the win.

8. Delaware State | MEAC | 4-2 (1-0) | Prev: 9

Delaware State won its first MEAC game of 2022, spoiling Norfolk State's homecoming. The Hornets swap a spot with North Carolina A&T because they now have multiple FCS wins.

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9. North Carolina A&T | Big South | 3-3 (1-0) | Prev: 8

North Carolina A&T handled its business against Edward Waters, a Division II school.

10. South Carolina State | MEAC | 2-4 (0-0) | Prev: 10

South Carolina State avoided a trap game against Virginia University of Lynchburg, but a big test looms with North Carolina Central coming to town.

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11. Alabama State | SWAC | 4-3 (2-2) | Prev: 11

Alabama State started quarterback Myles Crawley in its win against Mississippi Valley State. The Hornets have two solid options under center that have shown the ability to get the job done.

12. Alabama A&M | SWAC | 3-4 (3-1) | Prev: 13

Alabama A&M won a close game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bulldogs have now won three straight games.

13. Texas Southern | SWAC | 2-4 (2-1) | Prev: 12

Texas Southern had a bye week.

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14. Tennessee State | OVC | 2-4 (1-0) | Prev: 15

Draylen Ellis looked like the Week 1 Draylen Ellis against Tennessee Tech, showing off his dual-threat ability in Tennessee State's win. If the Tigers can stay healthy, they could make a run up the OVC standings.

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15. Morgan State | MEAC | 2-4 (0-2) | Prev: 14

Morgan State's offense struggled on national TV. The Bears will need to rediscover the momentum it had during their two-game win streak if they want to make a run in the MEAC.

16. Howard | MEAC | 1-5 (0-0) | Prev: 16

Howard fought hard for much of its game against Harvard, even though the Bison were without typical starting quarterback Quinton Williams. MEAC play is up next for Howard.

17. Bethune-Cookman | SWAC | 1-5 (1-2) | Prev: 17

Bethune-Cookman struggled against Jackson State. Hopefully, the Wildcats can return to their home practice field sooner rather than later to regroup for the final stretch of the season.

18. Norfolk State | MEAC | 1-6 (1-1) | Prev: 18

After opening MEAC play with a win, Norfolk State couldn't use its homecoming-crowd advantage to remain undefeated in conference play.

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19. Grambling State | SWAC | 1-6 (0-4) | Prev: 19

Grambling State got its "Gs" back on its helmets, but couldn't get a W. 

20. Arkansas-Pine Bluff | SWAC | 2-5 (0-4) | Prev: 20

The Golden Lions have now lost five straight games.

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21. Mississippi Valley State | SWAC | 0-7 (0-4) | Prev: 21

A rough season continued for Mississippi Valley State, but there were signs of progress in a 24-9 loss.

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