The 1978 Florida A&M Rattlers, 12-1, FCS National Champions
There have been many legendary teams in HBCU history. The 1975 Jackson State Tigers featured three future NFL Hall of Famers (Walter Payton, Jackie Slater, and Robert Brazile). FAMU won 11 consecutive SIAC titles from 1952 to 1962. Eddie Robinson had many great teams at Grambling.
However, none of those teams could say they won a National Title. The 1978 Florida A&M Rattlers are the only HBCU team to win a non-black National Title when they won the Division 1-AA (FCS) National Championship.
Fifth-year head coach Rudy Hubbard led the Rattlers. FAMU defeated rival Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic and then defeated Grambling State in the Florida Classic to earn a place in the FCS playoffs.
Florida A&M defeated Jackson State and the University of Massachusetts in the Championship game, the Pioneer Bowl in Witchita, Kansas.
That season, the Rattlers were members of the SIAC, a Division II conference. FAMU was granted Division I status after an appeal. Their application was initially denied after a committee ruled the university did not meet scheduling requirements for football and basketball.
The Rattlers would join the MEAC the following season. Running back, Ike Williams led the team in rushing, Albert Chester led the team in passing, and Chris Douglas led the team in receiving. Their kicker, Vince Coleman, would be a multi-time All-Star baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals.
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