A month into the college football season and we know about as much about HBCU football as we did when it started. At the FCS level, Tennessee State and Bethune-Cookman are the teams to beat, while Winston-Salem State remains the standard in the Division II ranks.
Despite that relative stability at the top of the heap, there has still been an element of surprise thus far.
Over in the SWAC, the biggest surprise has been Texas Southern. At 4-0, TSU has already matched its combined win total from 2012 and 2013 and is just two touchdowns shy of scoring more points than they did all of last year. At the other end of the spectrum, Prairie View has been a disappointment from the start of the season. Despite having some of the most explosive offensive players in the conference, PVAM is averaging just 25 points per game while giving up nearly 40 per game.
Over in the MEAC, the Morgan State Bears are the feel-good story of the year so far. After spending last season with a lame-duck coach and losing a player over the summer, not much was expected of the Bears and their new coach, Lee Hull. Morgan nearly pulled off a huge upset in the opener, taking Eastern Michigan down to the wire before losing a close game. MSU would put up a similarly good fight against Holy Cross before stringing together back-to-back wins against rivals Bowie State and Howard, whom they defeated this past weekend in a close game at the New York Urban League Football Classic.
Elsewhere in the MEAC, North Carolina A&T could make a strong case that it has been the best team in the MEAC so far. Time will tell, as A&T's 4-0 start last season wasn't enough to get them to the FCS playoffs, but you get the feeling this might be their year to take back the conference crown.
At the D2 level, Winston-Salem State made it through a tough out-of-conference schedule with a record of 2-1, falling to national power Valdosta State 22-17 in Georgia. Its second win came against Tuskegee, who entered the season nationally-ranked but now find themselves at 1-2 after losing to WSSU and archrival Alabama A&M. Despite WSSU's national ranking, however, it still trails Livingstone in the CIAA South as the Blue Bears have gotten off to a 3-0 start, the program's best since 1994.
Despite every thing we think we know now, by the time the season ends in November, every thing could be flipped and turned upside down. Enjoy the ride!
Don't forget to check out the HBCU Football Report with Steven Gaither of HBCU Gameday on TSL Sports Talk every Thursday from 3-5pm EST.