Despite winning its last six games and finishing the spring season as one of two unbeaten programs in the country, Alabama A&M seemingly has been unable to establish its place in FCS circles.
As of Monday, the Bulldogs were nowhere to be found in the FCS Coaches or STATS Perform FCS Top 25 poll.
AAMU, which is currently the reigning Black College Football national championship, did receive 56 and 17 votes, respectively in each poll.
The news did not sit well with Bulldogs coach Connell Maynor, who suggested Monday during the SWAC coaches media availability the team being on a bye week likely contributed to its place in the poll.
“That’s what happens when you’re an HBCU,” he said. “When you don’t play, you drop. If you’re one of them (FCS ranked opponent), you don’t drop. That’s where it is.”
Alabama A&M is ranked No. 2 in the recently released Ultimate HBCU Sports Football Poll and No. 1 in various other Black college polls.
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“When they (voters) do give us the respect and put us in there, we have to continue to win and keep trying to move up,” said Maynor. “If we don’t play, they’ll drop you out.”
Maynor went on to explain the predicament reminded him of a situation in 2013 when as head coach at Winston Salem State — lost out on a favorable seed in the NCAA Division II playoffs after the CIAA championship game was canceled following a pregame fight involving players from the Rams and Virginia State.
Winston-Salem State drew a No. 4 seed instead of a possible No. 2 seed as a result. It is a hard lesson that continues to shape his conviction that HBCUs need to establish success against non-conference opponents.
“We had won the region two years in a row. The third year, we were No. 1 in the region, and we don’t play in the championship game because we got in a fight and they (voters) dropped us down,” he said. “That’s why it’s important when we play outside the conference to have a good showing and to win football games, to show them that we can play with them and we can beat them.”