By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — National runner-up Morningside (Iowa) begins the 2013 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the 2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. Morningside, who tallied 280 points despite receiving just four first-place votes, finished the 2012 season with a program-best 13-1 record.
The Mustangs, led by 2012 AFCA Coach of the Year, Steve Ryan, are predicted to win their third-straight Great Plains Athletic Conference title. Wide receivers Kyle Schuck and Travis Hantleman, and the backfield tandem of Josh Gaedke and Joel McCabe, headline a Morningside offense that returns nine starters from a year ago.
Defending national champion Marian (Ind.), who handed Morningside its only loss in the 57th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship, collected eight first-place votes and 267 points to earn a share of the No. 2 position. National semifinalist Missouri Valley shares the No. 2 ranking with Marian after receiving the remaining first-place vote and 267 points. Marian has now been ranked among the top five teams for 26-straight polls, dating back to Poll 1 of the 2011 season.
National semifinalist Saint Xavier (Ill.) and St. Francis (Ind.) round out the top 5 with 260 and 239 points, respectively.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference with five—Missouri Valley, No. 10 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 15 Baker (Kan.), No. 22 Evangel (Mo.) and No. 24 Benedictine (Kan.)—and the Mid-State Football Association Midwest with four— Saint Xavier, No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa), No. 16 William Penn (Iowa) and No. 19 Grand View (Iowa)—boast the most teams amongst the Top 25.
There was significant movement in the poll with No. 12 Carroll (Mont.) making the biggest improvement —a six-spot jump. No. 14 Southern Oregon fell the furthest, dropping nine positions after being ranked No. 5 in the Spring 2013 Poll.
No. 21 Belhaven (Miss.) of the Mid-South Conference West and No. 23 Langston (Okla.) of the Central States Football League were newcomers to the poll, replacing Valley City State (N.D.) and Robert Morris (Ill.) who both dropped out of the top 25. Belhaven was last ranked in Poll 4 of the 2004 season and Langston was last ranked in 2012 Preseason Poll.
The first regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 16.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Independents. For the entire 2013 Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes: Morningside’s No. 1 ranking marks the first time the Mustangs have earned the top spot in a Top 25 poll… Saint Xavier, last year’s preseason No. 1, finished the year at No. 4 and begins 2013 at No. 4 as well … Since 2000, only three programs have lasted the entire season ranked at No. 1 - Carroll (2003, 2005), former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (2009) and Georgetown (Ky.) (2001) … Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: Marian, Saint Xavier and Georgetown … Marian, Morningside , Missouri Valley, Saint Xavier and Georgetown were ranked in the top 10 in every 2012 poll and each begins 2013 ranked in the top 10 … Carroll leads all institutions with 57 first-place rankings and is followed by Sioux Falls (55), Georgetown (25), Saint Xavier (14) and former member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) … No. 5 Saint Francis boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 169 … Following Saint Francis in consecutive appearances is Carroll with 156, Missouri Valley with 91, MidAmerica Nazarene with 82, Morningside with 75 and Saint Xavier with 64.
|RANK||LAST TIME*||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Morningside (Iowa) (4)||13-1||280|
|2||1||Marian (Ind.) (8)||12-1||267|
|2||3||Missouri Valley (1)||12-1||267|
|4||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||11-2||260|
|5||6||Saint Francis (Ind.)||9-3||239|
|10||12||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||8-3||176|
|11||10||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||9-2||170|
|16||15||William Penn (Iowa)||9-3||129|
|19||17||Grand View (Iowa)||8-3||88|
Others receiving votes: St. Francis (Ill.) 17; Robert Morris (Ill.) 16; Bacone (Okla.) 16; Valley City State (N.D.) 15; Friends (Kan.) 9; Kentucky Christian 9; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 3; Nebraska Wesleyan 3
* Top 25 ranking from 2013 Spring Top 25 on April 15.