By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The top five teams remained unchanged, as No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) tops the eighth regular season edition of the 2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. The Mustangs were the unanimous pick, garnering all 15 first-place votes and 340 total points en route to its seventh-straight top billing.
Morningside, which has topped the Coaches’ Poll in 16 of the last 22 editions and has made 34-straight top five mentions, improved to 8-0 with a 44-21 win against Concordia (Neb.) last Saturday. The Mustangs were led by running back Brandon Wegher, who finished the contest with 258 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Morningside faces arguably its toughest test of the season Saturday when it hosts No. 7 Northwestern (Iowa). The two teams are currently tied atop the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings with 7-0 records. The winner will be in the driver’s seat for the conference title and a potential automatic berth into the 2014 NAIA Football Championship Series.
Carroll (Mont.) garnered 327 points to claim the No. 2 ranking for a second-straight week and third time this season. The Fighting Saints have rattled off seven-straight wins, including a 55-13 thrashing of Montana State-Northern last Saturday, en route to a 7-1 record. Carroll hosts Rocky Mountain (Mont.) on Saturday.
No. 3 Grand View (313 points), No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) (293 points) and No. 5 Southern Oregon (289 points) round out the top five for another week. The Vikings (7-1) and Faulkner (8-1) can lock up outright championships in their respective leagues with wins on Saturday.
Grand View, which secured at least a share of its fourth-straight Mid-States Football Association Midwest League title with a 53-24 win at St. Ambrose (Iowa) on Oct. 25, travels to No. 16 William Penn (Iowa) on Saturday.
Faulkner faces its fourth ranked opponent of the season on Saturday at No. 25 Campbellsville – the only newcomer to the poll this week. The Eagles shared the Mid-South Conference West Division title with Reinhardt (Ga.) in 2013.
Eight programs moved a poll-high two places this week, while three teams saw a significant drop in the poll. Cumberland (Tenn.) fell the farthest of the three schools, dropping seven spots after a 49-14 loss at Bethel (Tenn.) on Nov. 1. Other significant negative movement came from No. 13 Baker (Kan.), which fell six spots, and No. 24 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), which fell five places. Both teams lost to unranked opponents over the weekend.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference leads all leagues with four ranked schools – No. 9 Missouri Valley, No. 12 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Baker and No. 20 Benedictine (Kan.).
The ninth regular season Top 25 Poll will be announced Nov. 10.
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 16th all-time appearance at No. 1 … The Mustangs have held the No. 1 ranking in 16 of the last 22 Coaches’ Polls … 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), Morningside and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (14) … With the streak of Saint Francis (Ind.) snapped on Oct. 13 at 186-straight Top 25 rankings, Carroll now owns the active lead with 177, Missouri Valley with 112, Morningside with 95 and Saint Xavier with 85 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 44-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Overall, 34 teams have been ranked in 2014 … On Oct. 6, No. 15 Valley City State (N.D.) became the first team from the North Star Athletic Association to crack the Top 25 … Carroll, Faulkner (Ala.), Grand View and Morningside have been ranked among the top-10 in every edition this season … The Association of Independent Institutions and The Sun Conference are the only leagues not to have a team ranked at some point in the Top 25 this season.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 8 (Nov. 3)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (15)||8-0||340|
|3||3||Grand View (Iowa)||7-1||313|
|8||9||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||6-2||253|
|10||11||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||7-2||222|
|12||14||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||7-1||192|
|15||17||Valley City State (N.D.)||8-1||151|
|16||16||William Penn (Iowa)||6-3||145|
|17||18||Robert Morris (Ill.)||7-2||130|
|24||19||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||6-3||27|
Others Receiving Votes: Siena Heights (Mich.) 15; Reinhardt (Ga.) 10; Webber International (Fla.) 7.
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll – No. 7 (Oct. 27)