By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Carroll (Mont.) closes the 2014 regular season as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Sunday. The Fighting Saints, who received 13 first-place votes and 339 total points, have now been ranked atop the poll a NAIA-best 58 times since 1999.
The 2014 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) 16-team field and first round pairings will be announced today at 5 p.m. CST via a live selection show on www.NAIANetwork.com.
Carroll, which was last ranked No. 1 in the 2011 Preseason Poll, moved to 9-1 on the year and won its 14th Frontier Conference title under the direction of head coach Mike Van Diest with a 69-12 victory against College of Idaho on Saturday. The Fighting Saints have won nine-straight since falling to conference rival Southern Oregon, 38-35, in their season opener on Sept. 6. Carroll last entered the FCS as the top-ranked team in 2008.
Moving up one-spot to No. 2 is defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) with two first-place votes and 328 points. The Vikings won their second-straight outright – fourth all-time – Mid-States Association Midwest League (MSFAW) championship with a 25-19 victory against then-No. 16 William Penn (Iowa) on Nov. 8. Grand View closed the regular season yesterday with a dominant 56-7 win against Siena Heights (Mich.).
Saint Xavier (Ill.) checks in at No. 3 with 309 points. The Cougars (8-2) finished second to Grand View in the MSFAW standings due to a head-to-head loss on Oct. 4. Since that defeat, Saint Xavier has won five-straight, including a 36-6 thrashing of Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in its regular-season finale.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Morningside (Iowa) with 298 points and No. 5 Missouri Valley with 279 points. The Mustangs, who spent the last eight weeks at No. 1, lost its regular season finale at Doane (Neb.), 49-48, on Nov. 15. Prior to the loss, Morningside was the only remaining unbeaten team in the NAIA and had been ranked atop the Top 25 in 16 of the last 22 editions.
Missouri Valley jumped two spots from the ninth edition of the Coaches’ Poll after downing then-No. 12 Baker (Kan.) 27-24 to claim at least a share of its fourth-straight Heart of America Athletic Conference championship. The Vikings share the title with No. 9 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), which jumped into the top 10 for the first time since the 2013 Preseason Poll (August 12).
Sixteen teams moved at least one spot in a positive direction in this week’s poll, highlighted by three-spot jumps by Saint Xavier, No. 20 Robert Morris (Ill.) and No. 21 Friends (Kan.). On the opposite end of the spectrum, No. 18 Baker and No. 24 Tabor (Kan.) slipped six places each for the hardest fall among the Top 25.
No. 22 Doane and No. 25 Benedictine (Kan.) are this week’s newcomers. The Tigers, fueled by the previously mentioned win against Morningside, are ranked for the first time since Oct. 7, 2013. Doane won seven of their last eight to close the season with a 7-3 record.
Benedictine is back after falling out of the Top 25 last week.
Five conferences are tied with three representatives in this week’s edition.
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): Carroll is making its 58th all-time No. 1 ranking and first since the 2011 Preseason Poll on August 8, 2011 … Three teams have held the No. 1 ranking this season: Grand View (Iowa), Morningside (Iowa) and Carroll … Former-member Sioux Falls (S.D.) is second all-time with 55 top billings, followed by Georgetown (Ky.) (25), Morningside (17) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) … With the streak of Saint Francis (Ind.) snapped on Oct. 13 at 186-straight Top 25 rankings, Carroll now owns the active lead with 179, Missouri Valley with 114, Morningside with 97 and Saint Xavier with 87 … Morningside holds the longest streak of top 10 rankings, having been ranked among the top 10 teams for 46-straight polls dating back to Sept. 19, 2011 … Overall, 38 teams have been ranked in 2014 … On Oct. 6, No. 14 Valley City State (N.D.) became the first team from the North Star Athletic Association to crack the Top 25 … No. 23 Webber International (Fla.) is the first team from The Sun Conference to receive Top 25 mention … Carroll, Grand View and Morningside have been ranked among the top-10 in every edition this season … The Association of Independent Institutions is the only league not to have a team ranked at some point in the Top 25 this season.2014 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (Nov. 16)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Carroll (Mont.) (13)||9-1||339|
|2||3||Grand View (Iowa) (2)||9-1||328|
|3||6||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||8-2||309|
|6||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||9-2||275|
|9||11||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||9-1||237|
|14||15||Valley City State (N.D.)||9-1||167|
|19||21||William Penn (Iowa)||7-4||105|
|20||23||Robert Morris (Ill.)||8-3||87|
|23||25||Webber International (Fla.)||7-3||49|
Others Receiving Votes: Oklahoma Baptist 14; Montana Western 4; Sterling (Kan.) 4
^ 2014 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll – No. 9 (Nov. 10)