Jackson State moves to top of ESPN Band of The Year for Nov.

The latest rankings for the ESPN Band of The Year HBCU band championship are in and the Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South has made the leap to no. 1.


The “Sonic Boom of the South” was ranked No. 4 in the September band rankings, and moved up to no. 3 in the October band rankings. HBCU Gameday received the exclusive Band of The Year rankings on Monday afternoon. Jackson State is ranked no. 1 in musicality and top three in drum major and auxiliary categories.

Another SWAC band comes in just behind Jackson State University as Prairie View A&M’s “Marching Storm ranked second in November.  The Marching Storm was ranked ninth in the September rankings and moved to no. 4 in October.

North Carolina A&T’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine, last month’s no. 1, was ranked third overall.

Tennessee State University’s ‘Aristocrat of Bands’ comes in at the no. 4 spot.  Its drum majors were ranked no. 1 for the month.

Rounding out the top five is Southern University’s Human Jukebox. SU’s auxiliary, which includes the Fabulous Dancin’ Dolls, was ranked no. 1 of the month.

A member of the South Carolina State University auxillary dances at North Carolina Central. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)
Southern University Dancing Dolls,
The Fabulous Dancing Dolls are a big part of Southern University’s November ranking.


10 Grambling State University “World Famed Tiger Marching Band”

9 South Carolina State University “Marching 101”

8 Texas Southern University “Ocean of Soul”

7 Norfolk State University “Spartan Legion”

6 Florida A&M “Marching 100”

5 Southern University “Human Jukebox”

4 Tennessee State University “Aristocrat of Bands” 

3 North Carolina A&T “Blue and Gold Marching Machine” 

2 Prairie View A&M University “Marching Storm”

1 Jackson State University “Sonic Boom of The South”

Performances are judged on an individual basis, with judges giving scores for specific areas only. Bands are encouraged to submit a performance to be judged monthly. The committee is co-chaired by Jackson State Director of Bands Emeritus, Professor Dowell Taylor, and Dr. Julian E. White, FAMU Director of Bands Emeritus.

A cumulative top five list will be posted later this week. The participating bands will be announced via HBCU Gameday on Nov. 28. The ESPN Band of The Year title will be determined Dec. 15 in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, GA with the show starting at 6 PM EST. It will be simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus. 

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