KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the third time in program history, Marian (Ind.) owns the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Knights, who last claimed top billing in the 2011 Final Poll (Nov. 13), received 11 first-place votes and 312 points to claim the top spot. Previous No. 1 Saint Xavier (Ill.) fell to No. 6 following a loss against then-No. 10 Saint Francis (Ind.).
Marian is 4-0 on the season, including a pair of victories against then-ranked opponents - then-No. 11 Bethel (Tenn.), 31-7, on Sept. 1 and then-No. 15 Grand View (Iowa), 31-20, on Sept. 22. Much of the Knights success has been predicated on a defense that leads the NAIA in pass defense per game (100.3 yards) and total defense per game (163.3 yards), while ranking second in scoring defense per game (7.5 points).
No. 2 Georgetown (Ky.) notched three first-place votes and 304 total points to earn its highest ranking since claiming the second spot in the Sept. 9, 2003 poll. The Tigers are 5-0 on the season and gave head coach Bill Cronin his 150th career victory with a 63-21 win against Bethel (Tenn.) last Saturday.
Similarly to Georgetown, Missouri Valley moved up one position to No. 3 with 285 points, while Morningside claimed 283 points en route to the No. 4 position. No. 5 William Penn (Iowa) rounds out the top five with 256 points. The Statesmen were last ranked in the top-five on Oct. 3, 2011.
Nineteen of the remaining 20 teams moved at least one position, most notably a five-spot slip by Saint Xavier. This week's No. 6 ranking marks the first time the Cougars have been rated outside the top five since Nov. 2, 2009. Saint Francis, who upset Saint Xavier, 25-13, last Saturday, moved to No. 7.
In addition to Saint Francis, five programs enjoyed improvements of at least three spots: No. 9 Cumberlands (Ky.), No. 11 Northwestern (Iowa), No. 13 Montana Tech, No. 14 Grand View (Iowa) and No. 20 Kansas Wesleyan. No. 14 Eastern Oregon experienced the worst fall with a 10-spot slide after suffering a 16-3 setback against unranked Montana Western.
No. 21 Hastings (Neb.) is the lone newcomer this week. The Broncos are 4-0 following a 40-30 victory against then-No. 22 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) in the NAIA Game of the Week. Conversely, Valley City State (N.D.) (No. 21) fell from the poll.
The Great Plains Athletic Conference lands five teams in the Top 25 to lead all conferences. The Mid-States Football Association Midwest League and Heart of America Athletic Conference are tied for second with four teams, respectively. Nine conferences/independents are represented in this week's Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2012 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here. The next Top 25 will be announced on Oct. 8.
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NOTES: Marian‘s (Ind.) No. 1 ranking marks the third time the Knights have received the top spot since the program was established in 2006 ... The Knights were last ranked No. 1 in the 2011 Final Poll (Nov. 13) ... Previous No. 1 Saint Xavier's (Ill.) No. 6 ranking marks the first time the Cougars have been left out of the top five since Nov. 2, 2009 ... Georgetown's No. 2 ranking is its highest mark since Sept. 9, 2003 ... No. 21 Hastings (Neb.) is ranked for the first time since Oct. 4, 2010 ... Carroll's (Mont.) No. 12 ranking on Sept. 10 marked the first time the Fighting Saints have been ranked outside the top 10 since Nov. 2, 2004 ... Additionally, Carroll had a 91-straight top-five rating streak end ... No. 13 is the highest ranking for Montana Tech since being No. 20 in the Nov. 5, 2007 poll ... Faulkner's No. 25 ranking on Sept. 24 was the first-ever Top 25 mention for the Eagles ... Carroll leads all institutions with 56 first-place rankings and is followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (23), Saint Xavier (14) and former NAIA member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) ... Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches' Top 25 Poll with 160 ... Following Saint Francis among consecutive appearances is Carroll with 145, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with 71, Morningside (Iowa) with 63 and Saint Xavier with 50 ... Since 2000, only three programs have lasted the entire season ranked at No. 1 - Carroll (2003, 2005), Sioux Falls (2009), Georgetown (2001).2012 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 4 (Oct. 1)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Marian (Ind.) (11)||4-0||312|
|2||3||Georgetown (Ky.) (3)||5-0||304|
|5||7||William Penn (Iowa)||5-0||256|
|6||1||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||4-1||250|
|7||10||Saint Francis (Ind.)||4-1||240|
|10||11||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||3-1||213|
|14||18||Grand View (Iowa)||4-2||153|
|15||17||St. Francis (Ill.)||4-2||140|
|16||9||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||3-1||137|
Others receiving votes: Evangel (Mo.) 12; Robert Morris (Ill.) 9; Friends (Kan.) 3; McPherson (Kan.) 3.