Special to the Journal
The Albany State University Golden Rams will open their 2011 football season on top of the Heritage Sports Radio Network Preseason Division II poll.
The defending SBN Black College national and SIAC champions received 17 of 20 first-place votes in the weekly poll that ranks HBCU Division I FCS and NCAA Division II teams. Albany State recorded 195 points, 16 more than the Shaw University Bears, who received 179 total points and three first-place votes.
ASU, which ended last season on top of the Division II poll, and Shaw are followed in this year’s rankings by Tuskegee University with 160 points, St. Augustine’s with 123 points, Fort Valley State University with 108 points and Winston Salem State University with 105 points. Rounding out the bottom four were Morehouse College with 78 points, Virginia State University with 54 points, Elizabeth City State University with 49 points and Bowie State University with 34 points.
Defending MEAC co-champions Bethune Cookman received 10 first-place votes for the Division I poll, followed by South Carolina State University, Florida A&M University and Jackson State University.
The Golden Rams, who captured the 2010 SBN Black College National Championship and the SIAC championship title, will open the 2011 season on Saturday, Sept. 3, in a non-conference matchup against the Division I Savannah State University Tigers in the Annual Music City Classic. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Henderson Stadium in Macon, Ga.