By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Grand View (Iowa) tops the first regular season edition of the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Vikings, who are making their fourth-straight appearance at No. 1 and were one-of-two teams to hold its position from the preseason poll, received all 15 first-place votes and 340 points.
Grand View, which was idle this past weekend, is 2-0 on the young season with wins against NCAA Division I FCS Drake (Iowa), 45-22, on August 30 and Graceland (Iowa), 40-10, on Sept. 6. Quarterback Derek Fulton has again been a key to the Vikings’ success, ranking among the top 15 nationally in five offensive categories – total offense per game (390), passing yards per game (300), total offense (780), pass efficiency (169.1) and total passing (600). The Vikings return to the field Saturday when they host Marian (Ind.) at 2 p.m. CDT.
Morningside (Iowa) claims the No. 2 position with 327 points. The Mustangs (2-0), who have now been ranked among the top 5 in 27-straight polls, have outscored their opponents 139-33 through two games, including an 83-19 win at Great Plains Athletic Conference rival Nebraska Wesleyan on Sept. 13. Morningside set a program single-game record in the win against the Prairie Wolves, accumulating 729 total yards to break the team’s former mark of 712. The Mustangs have their 2014 home opener on Saturday against Dordt (Iowa).
Jumping two spots and garnering its highest ranking dating back to 1999 is No. 3 Baker (Kan.). The Wildcats, who claimed 314 points, are 2-0 with both wins coming against then-ranked opponents from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – then-No. 14 Ottawa (Kan.), 20-12, on Sept. 6 and then-No. 15 Sterling (Kan.), 31-30, on Sept. 13. This is the fourth-straight year that Baker has won its first two games to open the season. The Wildcats enter the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) portion of their schedule on Saturday when they travel to Evangel (Mo.).
Rounding out the top five this week are No. 4 Tabor (Kan.) and No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.). The Bluejays accrued 299 total points en route to its highest ranking since being No. 6 in the 2005 Postseason Coaches’ Poll on Jan. 18, 2006. Tabor enters the week with a 2-0 record, including a 27-17 win at then-No. 7 Missouri Valley last Saturday. The Bluejays showcase a defense that leads the NAIA in total defense per game (153.3), while ranking second in rush defense per game (25.0) and third in scoring defense per game (8.5).
Similar to Baker and Tabor, Rocky Mountain is making its first top five appearance since ranking No. 5 in the 1999 Preseason Poll on August 24, 1999. The Battlin’ Bears are one of four teams tied for the NAIA lead with a 3-0 record. Rocky Mountain faces arguably its toughest test of the season so far when it hosts No. 7 Carroll (Mont.) on Saturday.
Southern Oregon highlights the positive movement within the poll, vaulting 13 spots from No. 22 to No. 9. The Raiders are 3-0 on the season, including victories against two teams ranked in this week’s edition – Carroll, 38-35, on Sept. 6 and No. 25 Eastern Oregon, 35-31, on Sept. 13. This is Southern Oregon’s first top 10 ranking since holding the No. 5 position in the 2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Spring Top 25 Poll.
Other notable positive movement includes six spot jumps by No. 14 St. Francis (Ill.) and No. 15 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.).
No. 20 William Penn (Iowa) and Eastern Oregon are the newcomers this week. Both programs were ranked at some point during the 2013 season.
The Mid-States Football Association Midwest League, HAAC and the Frontier Conference boast the most teams among the Top 25 with four programs each.
The second regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 22.
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 fourth-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 183 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 170, Missouri Valley with 105, Morningside with 89 and Saint Xavier with 78 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 37-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (Sept. 15)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa) (15)||2-0||340|
|5||9||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||3-0||277|
|10||16||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||2-0||225|
|12||6||Saint Francis (Ind.)||1-1||195|
|14||20||St. Francis (Ill.)||2-0||179|
|19||18||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||2-1||83|
|20||NR||William Penn (Iowa)||2-1||81|
|22||24||Peru State (Neb.)||1-1||50|
|T25||17||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||0-1||24|
Others Receiving Votes: Oklahoma Baptist 19; Taylor (Ind.) 17; Midland (Neb.) 15; Robert Morris (Ill.) 12; Hastings (Neb.) 10; Bacone (Okla.) 9; Kentucky Christian 5; Sterling (Kan.) 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll (August 11)