By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) begins the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. Grand View, which was the unanimous top-team with 15 first-place votes and 340 points, finished the 2013 season with a program-best 14-0 record.
The Vikings, led by 2013 AFCA-NAIA Coach of the Year Mike Woodley, are predicted to claim at least a share of their fourth-straight Mid-States Football Association Midwest (MSFAW) League title. Grand View is captained by junior quarterback and 2013 Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game Derek Fulton. Last season, Fulton ranked among the top 10 nationally in total offense (4,158), total passing (3,451), pass efficiency (157.9) and total offense per game (297).
National semifinalist Carroll (Mont.) checks in at No. 2 with 322 points. The Fighting Saints, who fell to defending national runner-up Cumberlands (Ky.), 34-27, in overtime, return three key members of their 2013 squad in running back Dustin Rinker, linebacker Sean Blomquist and defensive back James Dowgin. All three were named All-Americans last season.
No. 3 Morningside (Iowa), which has reached at least the semifinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series the last two seasons, received 308 points. The Mustangs were tabbed to win their fourth-straight Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) title by the league’s coaches at their annual conference media day on August 7.
Cumberlands and Baker (Kan.) round out the top 5 with 306 and 285 points, respectively.
The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – No. 8 Tabor (Kan.), No. 14 Ottawa (Kan.), No. 15 Sterling (Kan.) and No. 19 Friends (Kan.) – and the Heart of America Athletic Conference – Baker, No. 7 Missouri Valley, No. 11 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 24 Peru State (Neb.) – boast the most teams amongst the Top 25 with four programs each. Four other leagues – MSFAW, Frontier Conference, GPAC and the Mid-South Conference East Division – have three ranked teams.
No new teams joined the Top 25 poll from the spring edition.
The first regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 15.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
For more information on NAIA football, please click here.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999): Grand View (Iowa) is making its third-straight appearance at No. 1 … Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2013 – Grand View, Cumberlands (Ky.) and Morningside (Iowa) … There were 45 different programs ranked in 2013 … Thirteen teams were ranked in all 13 polls … Carroll (Mont.) leads all institutions with 57 all-time first-place rankings and is followed by former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (Ky.) (25), Saint Xavier (Ill.) (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 182 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 169, Missouri Valley with 104, Morningside with 88 and Saint Xavier with 77 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 36-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011.2014 NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll (August 11)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa) (15)||14-0||340|
|6||6||Saint Francis (Ind.)||9-3||278|
|9||10||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||9-4||226|
|16||T16||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||7-4||147|
|17||T16||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||7-4||130|
|18||18||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||8-3||123|
|20||20||St. Francis (Ill.)||7-4||88|
|21||21||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||8-3||72|
|24||23||Peru State (Neb.)||7-4||42|
Others Receiving Votes: Eastern Oregon 17; Reinhardt (Ga.) 13; Siena Heights (Mich.) 5.
^ Top 25 ranking from 2014 Spring Top 25 Poll