With the HBCU football season only a few weeks away, expectations are high for reigning CIAA champion Bowie State and SIAC champion Albany State.
Both teams on Monday were ranked in the AFCA Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll.
Bowie State, looking to secure their fourth straight CIAA championship, begins the season as the eighth-ranked team in the country.
The Bulldogs finished the 2021 season with a 12-2 record including a 9-1 regular season. They went on to defeat Fayetteville State to claim their third straight CIAA title.
In the Division II Playoffs, Bowie State went on a historic run to advance to the Regional Final for the first time in school history.
Bowie will kick off its 2022 season on Sept. 3 against New Haven — ranked No. 16 in the preseason poll. This is one of only two matchups between two teams on the top 25 poll to start the season.
Meanwhile, the Golden Rams enter the 2022 season as the 18th-ranked team in the country.
Albany State finished the 2021 season with a 10-2 overall record and 9-1 in the regular season. The Golden Rams were among the top defensive teams in the country, pitching six shutouts, including a 31-0 win over Miles to claim the SIAC championship.
The Golden Rams will begin their quest for back-to-back conference championships on Sept.3 when they face Mississippi College.