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Top 25 - No. 1

September 12, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Saint Xavier (Ill.) boasts the No. 1-ranking in the first regular-season edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The top spot is the first in school history for the Cougars as they pushed past Carroll (Mont.), who had owned the top spot on the poll for the last three occurrences. With all 15 first-place votes and 340 total points, St. Xavier had been the second-ranked program in the last two polls.

St. Xavier was part of the theme this week, as it was one of the 23 ranked programs to shift positions. No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.) moved up two spots with 324 points. Third-ranked Morningside (Iowa) and No. 4 Marian (Ind.) both improved two positions. Defending national champion Carroll, who lost to unranked Eastern Oregon, 41-33, on Sept. 10, fell to the fifth spot. Three of the top-five teams belong to the Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division in St. Xavier, St. Francis and Marian.

Eastern Oregon made one of the biggest leaps after the upset of Carroll. The 41-33 triumph halted the Saints’ 44-game Frontier Conference win streak and 31-game home conference win streak. The No. 12-ranked Mountaineers garnered 201 total points.

Joining Eastern Oregon on the newcomers list is No. 17 Campbellsville (Ky.), No. 18 Langston (Okla.), No. 19 Bethany (Kan.), No. 20 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), No. 21 (tie) Shorter (Ga.), No. 21 (tie) Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), No. 23 Montana State-Northern and No. 24 (tie) St. Francis (Ill.).

Numerous teams got off to rugged starts to the season, therefore falling out of the Top 25 since the preseason poll. Slipping out of the poll are Dickinson State (N.D.) (No. 7), McPherson (Kan.) (No. 12), Northwestern Oklahoma State (No. 13), Cumberland (Tenn.) (No. 18), Webber International (Fla.) (No. 20), Kansas Wesleyan (No. 21), Baker (Kan.) (No. 22 (tie)) and Grand View (Iowa) (No. 25). Starting the year 0-3, Dickinson State snaps a 22-week stretch in the Top 25, which was the eighth-longest active streak.

The Frontier Conference and Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) both placed four teams apiece in the Top 25. Carroll, Eastern Oregon, Rocky Mountain and Montana State-Northern all hail from the Frontier Conference. Holding status in the GPAC is Morningside, No. 11 Midland (Neb.), No. 16 Northwestern (Iowa) and Dakota Wesleyan.

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Independents.

Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Saint Xavier (Ill.) becomes the first team since the 2006 season outside of Carroll (Mont.) and Sioux Falls (S.D.), which is a former NAIA member, to be ranked No. 1… No. 20 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) snaps the longest drought of being ranked as the Battlin’ Bears were last mentioned on Oct. 24, 2000 at No. 22… Carroll holds its lowest ranking since it tied for the fifth spot on Jan. 18, 2007 (2006 Postseason Top 25)… Since 1999, Carroll holds the most No. 1 rankings with 56; Sioux Falls had 55, while Georgetown (Ky.) has 23, Northwestern Oklahoma State 11 and Saint Francis (Ind.) and Azusa Pacific (Calif.) both have three apiece… Carroll has now been ranked in the top five in the last 80-straight polls dating back to Jan. 17, 2005 (2004 Postseason Top 25 Poll)… Saint Francis boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – 144 straight mentions… The last time Saint Francis was not mentioned in the Top 25 was Oct. 19, 1999… After Saint Francis, Carroll is the next team in line with 131-straight Top-25 rankings, followed by Northwestern (Iowa) at 72, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at 57 and Morningside (Iowa) at 50… Sioux Falls holds the record (since 1997 when both divisions merged) for consecutive No. 1 rankings at 26 straight polls, accomplished from Jan. 12, 2009 (2008 Postseason) through Nov. 14, 2010 (final regular season).

RANK LAST WEEK SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2011 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 2 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (15) 2-0 340
2 4 Saint Francis (Ind.) 1-0 324
3 5 Morningside (Iowa) 2-0 314
4 6 Marian (Ind.) 3-0 298
5 1 Carroll (Mont.) 1-1 279
6 8 William Penn (Iowa) 3-0 272
7 11 Missouri Valley 2-0 261
8 9 Georgetown (Ky.) 1-0 249
9 3 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 1-1 230
10 16 Cumberlands (Ky.) 2-0 217
11 17 Midland (Neb.) 2-0 207
12 RV Eastern Oregon 2-0 201
13 19 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) 2-0 195
14 T22 Benedictine (Kan.) 2-0 157
15 15 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 1-1 149
16 14 Northwestern (Iowa) 1-1 124
17 RV Campbellsville (Ky.) 2-0 114
18 RV Langston (Okla.) 2-0 99
19 NR Bethany (Kan.) 2-0 69
20 RV Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 2-1 57
T21 RV Shorter (Ga.) 1-0 54
T21 RV Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 2-0 54
23 NR Montana State-Northern 2-0 42
T24 10 Ottawa (Kan.) 1-2 36
T24 24 St. Francis (Ill.) 1-1 36

Others receiving votes: Baker (Kan.) 31; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 22; Valley City State (N.D.) 16; Evangel (Mo.) 14; Friends (Kan.) 13; Cumberland (Tenn.) 13; Doane (Neb.) 12; Menlo (Calif.) 11; Pikeville (Ky.) 6; Taylor (Ind.) 4; Northwestern Oklahoma State 1; Union (Ky.) 1; Grand View (Iowa) 1.