By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the third time in four weeks, the top-five programs hold their positions in the eighth installment of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. No. 1 Morningside (Iowa), in the top spot for the ninth-straight time, is followed by No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.), No. 3 Grand View (Iowa), No. 4 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 5 Carroll (Mont.).
With all 14 first-place votes and 314 points, the Mustangs are the unanimous top pick for the eighth-consecutive poll. With two more regular-season polls remaining, Morningside is looking to become the first team since 2009 to hit 10-straight No. 1 rankings. The Mustangs (8-0) had their toughest test last time out on Nov. 2, but prevailed, 48-31, at then-No. 25 Concordia (Neb.) despite a 24-14 hole midway through the second quarter. The victory sewed up at least a share of the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular-season championship. Morningside travels to No. 19 Northwestern (Iowa) on Saturday.
For the sixth-straight time, Cumberlands checks in at the No. 2 position with 300 points. The Patriots ran their record to 8-0 for the first time since 1988 with a 70-17 rout of Campbellsville (Ky.) last Saturday. Cumberlands is leading the Mid-South Conference East Division by 1.0 games with two contests remaining.
No. 3 Grand View maintained its ranking after a 70-14 thrashing of Waldorf (Iowa) last Saturday. The Vikings, who picked up 292 points, are one of two teams (Benedictine) to have reached nine victories this year in the NAIA. Grand View holds a one-game lead in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League with one game left on the schedule -- the Vikings hold the tie-breaker against the second-place team, St. Ambrose (Iowa).
The fourth and final undefeated team in the NAIA, Benedictine, locks in the fourth ranking with 278 points. On Saturday, the Ravens take their 9-0 record into a top-two showdown in the Heart of America Athletic Conference against No. 10 Missouri Valley.
No. 5 Carroll (Mont.) solidified its top-five ranking after a 48-30 victory over then-No. 20 Southern Oregon last Saturday. The Fighting Saints, who picked up 266 points, stopped a five-game Southern Oregon win streak and now own sole possession of first place in the Frontier Conference.
No. 12 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 20 St. Francis (Ill.) enjoyed the largest improvement within the Top 25 with a three-spot jump. Conversely, No. 23 Saint Xavier (Ill.) tumbles down from a No. 14 ranking last week -- the Cougars dropped a 65-30 road decision at then-No. 13 St. Ambrose.
Robert Morris (Ill.) earned the No. 24 ranking with 33 points as the only newcomer this week. The Eagles sat out with a bye on Saturday, but their Oct. 26 win against then-No. 4 Saint Francis (Ind.) has propelled them to their first ranking since Sept. 30 (No. 23).
Concordia (Neb.) (No. 25) was pushed out this week after a 48-31 loss at the hands of top-ranked Morningside on Saturday. The Bulldogs are out of the Top 25 for the first time in six weeks after a three-game losing streak.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference – Benedictine, No. 6 Baker (Kan.), No. 10 Missouri Valley, and No. 13 Peru State (Neb.) – and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – No. 9 Ottawa (Kan.), No. 14 (tie) Tabor (Kan.), No. 16 Friends (Kan.) and No. 18 Sterling (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 ninth regular-season Top 25 will be announced Nov. 11.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Four teams continue their perfect seasons: No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) (8-0), No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) (8-0), No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) (9-0) and No. 4 Benedictine (Kan.) (9-0)... Morningside’s No. 1 ranking marks the ninth time in history the Mustangs have earned the top spot in the poll, all occurring this season — they are now tied with Marian (Ind.) for sixth on the all-time list … The No. 23 ranking for Saint Xavier (Ill.) is the lowest since Nov. 16, 2008 when the Cougars were 24th... No. 20 (tie) Reinhardt (Ga.), which is in its first season of existence, received its highest all-time ranking (No. 19) on Oct. 21 after joining the poll for the first time a week prior … Baker’s (Kan.) No. 6 ranking ties its highest dating back to 1999 … No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) both tied a program-best ranking in the seventh regular-season edition … Morningside, Cumberlands and Grand View have made up the top three for five-consecutive weeks … 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 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 177 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 164, Missouri Valley with 99, Morningside with 83 and Saint Xavier with 72 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 31-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Forty-three teams have been ranked in the Coaches’ Poll this season.
2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 8 (Nov. 4)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (14)||8-0||314|
|3||3||Grand View (Iowa)||9-0||292|
|7||8||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||7-2||239|
|8||10||Saint Francis (Ind.)||6-2||228|
|11||13||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||6-2||199|
|13||9||Peru State (Neb.)||7-2||151|
|17||18||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||7-2||136|
|T20||23||St. Francis (Ill.)||6-3||72|
|23||14||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||5-4||38|
|24||RV||Robert Morris (Ill.)||6-3||33|
Others Receiving Votes: Trinity International (Ill.) 10; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 9; Concordia (Neb.) 6.