St. Xavier earned all 15 first-place votes and 340 total points. Behind a school-best 14-1 record, the Cougars became the first program since Carroll in 2002 to win the national title in their first championship game appearance. Hailing from the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast Division, St. Xavier ends the year with 29-straight top-five rankings.
National runner-up Carroll gathered 326 total points to lock down the No. 2 position. Marian (Ind.), who was ranked No. 1 in the final two regular-season polls, drops down to third with 315 points. No. 4 Georgetown (Ky.) and No. 5 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) round out the top five with 300 and 283 points, respectively.
St. Xavier made the biggest improvement by vaulting up four positions. Azusa Pacific and No. 8 St. Francis (Ill.) both made three-spot jumps. Conversely, No. 16 Valley City State (N.D.) tumbled the farthest sliding down four slots.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and MSFA Midwest lead all conferences and independents with four teams apiece in the Top 25. The HAAC places No.6 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 10 Missouri Valley, No. 13 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 21 Baker (Kan.) in the ranking. Representing the MSFA Midwest is No. 8 St. Francis, No. 15 William Penn (Iowa), No. 18 Grand View (Iowa) and No. 22 St. Ambrose (Iowa).
The 2012 Spring Top 25 Poll is scheduled to be announced on April 18.
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 fourth different team to hold the No. 1 postseason ranking since this installment began in 2000... There were no newcomers in this poll compared to the final-regular season edition on Nov. 13... There were 41 different teams ranked in 2011, with 14 of those being listed in each poll... No. 6 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) has been ranked in the top 10 for the last 32-straight polls... Carroll (Mont.) leads all institutions with 56 first-place rankings and is followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (Ky.) (23) and Northwestern Oklahoma State (11)... Carroll extended its streak of consecutive top-five appearances with 90... No. 7 Saint Francis (Ind.) leads the NAIA with 154-straight mentions in the Top 25... Following Saint Francis among consecutive appearances is Carroll with 140, MidAmerica Nazarene with 66, No. 9 Morningside (Iowa) with 59 and St. Xavier with 46.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2011 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.) (15)||14-1||340|
|5||8||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||9-3||283|
|6||4||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||10-3||279|
|7||9||Saint Francis (Ind.)||9-3||262|
|8||11||St. Francis (Ill.)||11-3||252|
|12||14||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||9-3||181|
|15||16||William Penn (Iowa)||9-2||152|
|16||12||Valley City State (N.D.)||9-2||149|
|18||18||Grand View (Iowa)||8-4||131|
|22||22||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||7-3||73|
Others receiving votes: Bethany (Kan.) 5; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 3.