Southern University and Langston University are leading the pack in the first ESPN Band of the Year rankings, per returns released by HBCU Gameday exclusively. In the Division II/NAIA rankings, Langston University is ranked number one due to being first in Auxillery rankings and top five in Drum Major performance (3rd), Musicality (3rd), Percussion (2nd), and Drill/Marching/Maneuvering (2nd).  Southern University, ranked first amongst Division I bands, is ranked number one due to being first in Musicality and top five in Auxillery (3rd), Drum Major performance (4th), and Drill/Marching/Maneuvering (2nd).

Performances are evaluated individually, with judges assigning scores for specific criteria. Bands are encouraged to submit monthly performances for evaluation. In late October, the top 15 will be narrowed down to the top 10 in each division. The November ranking will reveal the top five in each division.

The final ranking will determine the top two teams in each division, competing for the ESPN Band of The Year title on December 15 in Atlanta, GA's Mercedes-Benz Dome. The show will begin at 6 PM EST and will be simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus.

The list of the overall band rankings is below. To see an in-depth breakdown, visit

Division I Overall ESPN Band of the Year rankings

  1. Southern University “Human Jukebox”
  2. NC A&T “Blue and Gold Marching Machine”
  3. Bethune-Cookman University “Marching Wildcats”
  4. Jackson State University “Sonic Boom of the South”
  5. Norfolk State University “Spartan Legion”
  6. FAMU “Marching 100”
  7. Tennessee State “Aristocrat of Bands”
  8. Grambling State “World Famed”
  9. PVAMU “Marching Storm”
  10. South Carolina State “Marching 101”
  11. Alabama State “Marching Hornets”
  12. Hampton University “Marching Force”
  13. Texas Southern “Ocean of Soul”
  14. Howard University “Showtime”
  15. UAPB “The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South”

Division II/NAIA Overall ESPN Band of the Year rankings

  1. Langston University
  2. Florida Memorial
  3. Virginia State
  4. Fort Valley State
  5. Central State
  6. Elizabeth City
  7. Savannah State
  8. Tuskegee University
  9. Benedict College
  10. Winston-Salem State
  11. Miles College
  12. Fayetteville State
  13. Clark Atlanta
  14. Albany State
  15. Edward Waters