KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Marian (Ind.), who claimed its first-ever national crown on Dec. 13, received the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Football Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Knights defeated Morningside (Iowa), 30-27, in overtime at the 57th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship game held at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. Marian previously held the top-spot for five-straight weeks earlier this season from Oct. 1 - 29.
Marian claimed all 14 first-place votes and 314 total points. In just its sixth year of existence, the Knights finished the season 12-1 and are the second-straight team to win the national title in their first championship game.
National runner-up Morningside gathered 302 points to lock down the No. 2 position. Missouri Valley, who reached the semifinals of the 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) before falling to Marian, 20-17, on Dec. 1, dropped to third with 290 points. Saint Xavier remained at No. 4 with 278 points, while Southern Oregon jumped five spots to fifth with 252 points, respectively.
Bethel (Tenn.) made the largest improvement within the poll, leaping nine spots from No. 18 to No. 9. Bethel's 45-44 first round victory over then-No. 1 Georgetown (Ky.) marked the first time the top-ranked team in the final Top 25 Poll had fallen in the first round of the FCS, dating back to 1999. The top-10 rating is the first for the Wildcats since they were No. 6 on April 6, 2008. Georgetown tumbled a poll-high seven places to No. 8 with the loss.
No new teams joined the Top 25 this week.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference leads all conferences with five teams in the Top 25 (Missouri Valley, No. 11 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 14 Baker (Kan.), No. 22 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 23 Evangel (Mo.)), while five other conferences are tied for second with three teams each. 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 2013 NAIA Football Coaches' Spring Top 25 Poll will be announced on April 15.
For more information on NAIA football, click here.
NOTES (all information dates back to 1999): Marian (Ind.) becomes the fifth different team to hold the No. 1 postseason ranking since the installment began in 2000 ... There are no newcomers in this poll compared to the final-regular season edition on Nov. 11 ... There were 41 different teams ranked in 2012 with 16 of those teams being listed in each poll ... Three teams have held the No. 1 ranking this season - Marian, Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Georgetown (Ky.) ... Marian, No. 2 Morningside (Iowa), No. 3 Missouri Valley, No. 4 Saint Xavier and No. 8 Georgetown have been ranked in the top 10 in every poll this season ... Carroll (Mont.) leads all institutions with 57 first-place rankings and is followed by former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (25), Saint Xavier (14) and former NAIA member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) ... No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches' Top 25 Poll with 167 ... Following Saint Francis in consecutive appearances is Carroll with 152, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with 78, Morningside with 70 and Saint Xavier with 56 ... 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 - Postseason (Dec. 18)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Marian (Ind.) (14)||12-1||314|
|4||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||12-2||278|
|6||6||Saint Francis (Ind.)||9-3||247|
|10||8||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||9-2||198|
|11||9||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||8-3||186|
|15||13||William Penn (Iowa)||9-3||155|
|17||16||Grand View (Iowa)||8-3||119|
|24||24||Valley City State (N.D.)||7-3||36|
Others receiving votes: Robert Morris (Ill) 12; Nebraska Wesleyan 5.