The last time South Carolina State won an HBCU national championship was 2009. Bowie State has never won one. This time, it was the Bulldogs’ winning the crown. Actually, two different Bulldogs.

The 2021 HBCU college football season is complete and two teams have been named HBCU national champions. The South Carolina State Bulldogs, who defeated Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl, finished No. 1 in the BOXTOROW Coaches Poll, while the Bowie State Bulldogs finished atop the Media Poll. This was the first time since 2012 that the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Polls had different champions.

South Carolina State went undefeated in conference play on its way to the MEAC championship and the 31-10 victory over the Tigers in the Celebration Bowl on Saturday.

“This is a special one for me, being able to win the 2021 Celebration Bowl with an HBCU national championship,” said South Carolina State head football coach Buddy Pough, who is in his 20th season at the helm. “All that we had to endure as a team and university, nothing is more special than finishing strong as champions.”

Bowie State had its best season ever, finishing 12-2 and winning its third straight CIAA championship. BSU also finished in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

“This is a great honor that we will cherish,” said Bowie State head football coach Damon Wilson, who just completed his 13th season as head coach. “Our coaches and players did an outstanding job this year, representing our university and conference (CIAA).”

The vote in both polls was extremely close. In the coaches poll, South Carolina State received 13 of 18 first place votes. Jackson State finished No. 2, receiving three first place votes. Florida A&M received two first place votes and finished No. 3, while Prairie View A&M and Alabama A&M rounded out the top five.

In the media poll, the Bulldogs received eight first place votes, with South Carolina State receiving more first place votes (9), but gaining five less points. Jackson State received one first place vote and finished No. 3, one point behind SCSU. FAMU and Albany State rounded out the top five.

The BOXTOROW HBCU FCS coaches and media polls are administered by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW. The coaches poll, in its 12th year is voted on by the HBCU Football Championship Subdivision coaches and the media poll, in its 14th year, is voted on by media members around the country who cover HBCU football.

2021 BOXTOROW HBCU Football Coaches Poll
Final
(Records through December 18, 2021)

No.TeamW-LPtsLast Week
1South Carolina State State (13)7-51725
2Jackson State (3)11-21621
3Florida A&M (2)9-31482
4Prairie View A&M7-51184
5Alabama A&M7-31173
6Alcorn State6-5836
7North Carolina Central6-5767
8Norfolk State6-5548
9North Carolina A&T5-6289
10 Tennessee State5-62010

Others receiving votes: Hampton (5-6) 5, Mississippi Valley State (4-7) 4, Southern (4-7) 4.
(1st place votes in parentheses)

2021 BOXTOROW HBCU Football Media Poll
Final
(Records through December 18, 2021)

No.TeamW-LPtsLast Week
1Bowie State (8)12-21552
2South Carolina State (9)7-515010
3Jackson State (1)11-21491
4Florida A&M9-31414
5Albany State10-21084
6Prairie View A&M7-5875
7Alabama A&M7-3746
8Savannah State8-2557
9Alcorn State6-5288
10Fayetteville State8-2229

Others receiving votes: North Carolina Central (6-5) 6, Langston (7-3) 4, Tennessee State (5-6) 4, Norfolk State (6-5) 2, Kentucky State (7-4) 2, Southern (4-7) 2.
(1st place votes in parentheses)

BOXTOROW National Football Champions (Coaches) Year-by-Year
2021 South Carolina State
2019 North Carolina A&T
2018 North Carolina A&T
2017 North Carolina A&T
2016 Grambling
2015 North Carolina A&T
2014 Alcorn State
2013 Bethune-Cookman
2012 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
2011 Norfolk State
2010 Bethune-Cookman
2009 South Carolina State

BOXTOROW National Football Champions (Media) Year-by-Year
2021 Bowie State
2019 North Carolina A&T
2018 North Carolina A&T
2017 North Carolina A&T
2016 Grambling
2015 North Carolina A&T
2014 Alcorn State
2013 Bethune-Cookman
2012 Winston-Salem State
2011 Winston-Salem State
2010 Bethune-Cookman
2009 South Carolina State
2008 Grambling
2007 Tuskegee

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