By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) and the rest of the top-eight teams hold their positions for a second-straight week in the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs claimed 14-of-15 first-place votes and 340 points en route to the top-spot in the third regular-season edition.
Morningside, which has now been ranked among the top five in an NAIA-best 29-consecutive polls, was idle this past weekend. The Mustangs are 3-0 and look to remain unbeaten Saturday against Great Plains Athletic Conference Rival Midland (Neb.).
Baker (Kan.) checks in at No. 2 for the second-straight week with one first-place vote and 327 points. The Wildcats improved to 4-0 on the year with a dominant 41-0 win – their first shutout since blanking Culver-Stockton (Mo.), 39-0, on Oct. 12, 2013 – against Graceland (Iowa). Baker looks to continue its hot-start at Peru State (Neb.) on Saturday.
Rounding out the remainder of the top five is No. 3 Tabor (Kan.) with 313 points, No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) with 294 points and No. 5 Carroll (Mont.) with 283 points. Tabor (4-0) and Faulkner (5-0) both earned victories last Saturday to keep their unbeaten records intact, while Carroll had a bye. Faulkner’s win was the more notable of the two, as the Eagles downed then-No. 17 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 28-21, in the NAIA Football Game of the Week.
Considerable movement occurred outside of the top eight teams, highlighted by a seven-spot jump by No. 12 Robert Morris (Ill.). The Eagles, whose current ranking is the best in program history, enter the week with a 4-0 record, which includes a 27-24 win over No. 10 Saint Xavier (Ill.) on Sept. 20. Senior tailback Lamont Wims has been one of the keys for Robert Morris’ success this season, averaging 32.8 carries and 185.3 yards per game through four games.
In contrast to Robert Morris, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) slides the furthest within the Top 25, dropping from No. 10 to No. 18. The Battlin’ Bears have lost two-straight, including a 27-24 contest against No. 17 Eastern Oregon on Sept. 27.
A pair of teams out of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) join the Top 25 for the first time this season. No. 24 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) was last ranked No. 15 in the first 2013 regular season edition, but fell out of the rankings after starting the year 0-2. The Pioneers are 3-0, which is their best start since 2010.
No. 25 Evangel (Mo.), which was also ranked in 2013, is the other newcomer. The Crusaders are 3-1 with their only loss coming to Baker, 24-14, on Sept. 20.
The HAAC leads all conferences with five teams among the Top 25 – Baker, No. 9 Missouri Valley, No. 21 Benedictine (Kan.), MidAmerica Nazarene and Evangel.
The fourth regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Oct. 6.
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): Morningside (Iowa) is making its 11th appearance at No. 1 … Three teams have held the No. 1 ranking since the 2013 Preseason Poll: Morningside (Iowa), Cumberlands (Ky.) and Grand View (Iowa) … 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 185 … Following the Cougars in consecutive appearances are Carroll with 172, Missouri Valley with 107, Morningside with 90 and Saint Xavier with 80 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 39-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Overall, 32 teams have been ranked in 2014 … No. 24 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and No. 25 Evangel (Mo.) are making their first appearance since 2013 … No. 2 Baker (Kan.), No. 3 Tabor (Kan.) and No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) have never been ranked higher than their current position.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 3 (Sept. 29)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (14)||3-0||340|
|2||2||Baker (Kan.) (1)||4-0||327|
|8||8||Grand View (Iowa)||3-1||258|
|10||13||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||3-1||217|
|11||15||William Penn (Iowa)||4-1||211|
|T12||19||Robert Morris (Ill.)||4-0||171|
|15||9||Saint Francis (Ind.)||2-2||158|
|16||12||St. Francis (Ill.)||3-1||148|
|18||10||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||3-2||123|
|20||22||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||3-1||91|
|22||17||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||3-2||67|
|24||RV||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||3-0||35|
Others Receiving Votes: Valley City State (N.D.) 11; College of Idaho 9; Campbellsville (Ky.) 8; Oklahoma Baptist 6; Kentucky Christian 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll – No. 2 (Sept. 22)