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Stan Becton | | September 25, 2023

North Carolina Central, Florida A&M lead Week 5's HBCU football power rankings

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It's time for Week 5's HBCU football power rankings after some interesting results last week. Here's how the latest rankings look from NCAA Digital's Stan Becton.

These will be done weekly throughout the regular season, sorting 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.

Check out the rankings below.

The Road to Atlanta: Week 5 HBCU football power rankings

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

No Davius Richard? No problem for North Carolina Central as backup quarterback Walker Harris had a record-setting day with five touchdown passes in the Circle City Classic. That showing without Richard keeps the Eagles atop the rankings with Florida A&M surging.

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2. Florida A&M | SWAC | 3-1 (2-0) | Prev: 2

Florida A&M has firm control of the SWAC East after a win over Alabama A&M. Now, the Rattlers have to avoid a classic trap game against Mississippi Valley State.

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3. Tennessee State | Big South-OVC | 2-1 (1-0) | Prev: 3

Tennessee State had a bye last week, but the Tigers remain in first place in the Big South-OVC. 

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

Jackson State won a hard-fought defensive battle against Bethune-Cookman. It's impressive that the Tigers found a way to win while only passing for 88 yards.

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5. Hampton | CAA | 2-1 (0-0) | Prev: 5

Hampton had a bye last week before heading into CAA play. The Pirates went 2-1 against nonconference HBCUs to start the season.

6. Prairie View A&M | SWAC | 2-2 (2-0) | Prev: 8

Prairie View A&M should be everyone's favorite in the SWAC West, now at 2-0 in the division. 

7. Morgan State | MEAC | 1-3 (0-0) | Prev: 7

Morgan State took surging CAA team Albany to double overtime, before ultimately falling short. Offensive struggles remain with the Bears, but the defense has proven they can contend with anyone.

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8. Alcorn State | SWAC | 1-3 (0-1) | Prev: 6

Alcorn State lost to Prairie View A&M in a key divisional battle. The Braves can't afford many more losses in conference play if they want to keep their championship hopes alive.

9. Howard | MEAC | 1-2 (0-0) | Prev: 9

Howard had a bye last week and will look to bounce back from a late-game collapse to Hampton in its last outing.

10. Alabama A&M | SWAC | 2-2 (1-1) | Prev: 13

Alabama A&M might have found its quarterback in Quincy Casey after he threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns. If the offense can keep performing like it did in Week 4, the Bulldogs could rise in these rankings.

11. Alabama State | SWAC | 1-2 (0-1) | Prev: 10

Alabama State has now lost back-to-back games, one to a DII opponent and one to the SWAC East division favorite. The Hornets need to right the ship, or this season could go downhill fast.

12. Southern | SWAC | 1-2 (1-0) | Prev: 11

Southern had a bye last week and stayed behind Alabama State because of a head-to-head loss.

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13. Grambling State | SWAC | 2-2 (1-0) | Prev: 16

Grambling State started SWAC play with a win and now enter the State Fair Classic on a two-game win streak.

14. North Carolina A&T | CAA | 0-3 (0-1) | Prev: 14

North Carolina A&T had a bye last week, but is in dire need of a win.

15. Norfolk State | MEAC | 2-2 (0-0) | Prev: 17

Two CAA wins for Norfolk State have the Spartans on the rise, but a season-opening DII loss limits how high NSU can go. 

16. South Carolina State | MEAC | 1-3 (0-0) | Prev: 19

South Carolina State picked up their first win of the season against The Citadel. The Bulldogs are 1-1 against FCS competition.

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18. Texas Southern | SWAC | 0-4 (0-2) | Prev: 12

Texas Southern fell to 0-2 after losing to Grambling State without quarterback Andrew Body. Until Body gets healthy, things are looking rocky for the Tigers.

17. Bethune-Cookman | SWAC | 1-3 (0-1) | Prev: 15

Bethune-Cookman nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the HBCU football season, pushing Jackson State to the wire. They couldn't do it, but the Wildcats have some strong building blocks from that game.

19. Arkansas-Pine Bluff | SWAC | 1-3 (0-1) | Prev: 18

Arkansas-Pine Bluff fell short in a competitive Thursday night game against Alabama A&M. The Golden Lions are still searching for that first FCS win.

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20. Delaware State | MEAC | 0-4 (0-0) | Prev: 20

Delaware State lost to an FBS opponent last week. They'll stay put near the bottom of the rankings.

21. Mississippi Valley State | SWAC | 0-3 (0-0) | Prev: 21

Mississippi Valley State lost to a North Carolina Central team with its backup quarterback, after opening the season with two DII losses. Things won't get any easier for the Delta Devils with Florida A&M coming to town.

🏆: HBCU football championship history


Week 5 HBCU Power Rankings
1 North Carolina Central
2 Florida A&M
3 Tennessee State
4 Jackson State
5 Hampton
6 Prairie View A&M
7 Morgan State
8 Alcorn State
9 Howard
10 Alabama A&M
11 Alabama State
12 Southern
13 Grambling State
14 North Carolina A&T
15 Norfolk State
16 South Carolina State
17 Texas Southern
18 Bethune-Cookman
19 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
20 Delaware State
21 Mississippi Valley State

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