KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time this season, a new team ranks No. 1 as Cumberlands (Ky.) receives the top spot in the ninth regular-season edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Patriots – one of two remaining unbeaten teams – garnered their first-ever No. 1 ranking with 10 first-place votes and 311 total points.
The 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) 16-team field and first round pairings will be announced on Sunday at 3 p.m. CST via a live selection show on www.NAIA.org. The conference champions rated in the top 20 (including ties) in the Final Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, which will be announced on Sunday at 1 p.m., will automatically qualify for the FCS. The highest rated independent team – provided it is ranked in the top 20 – shall also automatically qualify. The remaining at-large berths will be awarded based on the final ranking.
Cumberlands clinched at least a share of the Mid-South Conference East Division crown last Saturday with a 38-0 win against Kentucky Christian. The Patriots travel to Bluefield (Va.) on Saturday to close out the regular-season. Cumberlands rests one-game in front of No. 14 Georgetown (Ky.) in the league standings and guaranteed itself the conference’s automatic berth with a 38-35 win in the two sides meeting on Oct. 19.
Climbing one spot to No. 2 is Grand View (Iowa) with four first-place votes and 305 points. The Vikings closed their regular season with a 10-0 record after knocking off Mid-States Football Association Midwest League (MSFAW) rival William Penn (Iowa), 25-17, last weekend. In addition to finishing the year unbeaten, Grand View clinched the MSFAW’s outright conference title – the programs third-straight – and an automatic berth in the FCS.
No. 3 Carroll (Mont.) and No. 4 Baker (Kan.) each jumped two places this week with 288 and 273 points, respectively. The Fighting Saints claimed its 14th Frontier Conference championship in the last 15 years with a 37-35 win over then-No. 7 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) last Saturday. Place-kicker Cojo Smith won the game for Carroll on a 38-yard field goal as time expired.
Baker – aided by then-No. 10 Missouri Valley knocking off then-No. 4 Benedictine (Kan.), 42-14, last Saturday – moved into a tie atop the Heart of America Athletic Conference standings with No. 7 Missouri Valley and No. 9 Benedictine after routing Graceland (Iowa), 40-16. The Wildcats have won seven-straight, but face a tough test Saturday when they close the regular season against No. 19 Peru State (Neb.).
Rounding out the top five this week is No. 5 Morningside (Iowa) with 267 points. The Mustangs, who previously spent nine-straight weeks at No. 1, dropped four places after losing at then-No. 19 Northwestern (Iowa), 38-28. Despite the loss, Morningside controls its own destiny and with a win Saturday against Doane (Neb.), would be the outright Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) champion.
Northwestern enjoyed the largest improvement within this week’s poll, vaulting six places to No. 13. The Red Raiders enter the NAIA’s final weekend with a 7-2 record and 6-2 mark in the GPAC – one game behind conference leader Morningside. Conversely, No. 17 St. Ambrose (Iowa) and Peru State each tumbled a poll-high six places after losing last weekend.
No. 22 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), No. 23 Cumberland (Tenn.) and No. 24 Langston (Okla.) joined the Top 25 this week. Cumberland and Langston were both ranked previously this season, while Dakota Wesleyan is receiving its first mention since Oct. 22, 2012.
Reinhardt (Ga.) (No. 20), Robert Morris (Ill.) (No. 24) and Southern Oregon (No. 25) dropped out of the rankings.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference – Baker, Missouri Valley, Benedictine and Peru State – and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – No. 8 Ottawa (Kan.), No. 12 Tabor (Kan.), No. 16 Sterling (Kan.) and No. 19 Friends (Kan.) – are tied for the most programs in the poll with four teams each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The final regular-season Top 25 will be announced Nov. 17 at 1 p.m CST.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Cumberlands’ (Ky.) No. 1 ranking marks the first time in program history the Patriots have topped the Coaches’ Poll … Cumberlands is the 10th team since 1999 to earn the No. 1 ranking … Two teams have ranked No. 1 in 2013 – Morningside (Iowa) and Cumberlands … No. 2 Grand View’s (Iowa) and No. 4 Baker (Kan.) both set program-best rankings in the ninth regular-season edition … Since 2000, only three programs have lasted the entire season ranked at No. 1 – Carroll (Mont.) (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 … Carroll leads all institutions with 57 all-time first-place rankings and is followed by former member Sioux Falls (55), Georgetown (25), Saint Xavier (14) and former member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) … Saint Francis boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 178 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 165, Missouri Valley with 100, Morningside with 84 and Saint Xavier with 73 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 32-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Forty-four teams have been ranked in the Coaches’ Poll this season.2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 9 (Nov. 11)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Cumberlands (Ky.) (10)||9-0||311|
|2||3||Grand View (Iowa) (4)||10-0||305|
|6||8||Saint Francis (Ind.)||7-2||250|
|11||7||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||8-3||190|
|15||17||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||8-2||159|
|T17||T20||St. Francis (Ill.)||7-3||119|
|T17||11||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||6-3||119|
|T19||13||Peru State (Neb.)||7-3||87|
|21||23||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||6-4||84|
|22||RV||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||7-3||66|
Others Receiving Votes: Reinhardt (Ga.) 11; Marian (Ind.) 11; Eastern Oregon 9; Ave Maria (Fla.) 9; Southern Oregon 3.