KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the fifth-straight week, the top four teams remain unchanged in the NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday. Marian (Ind.) continued its reign as the top-ranked team with 13 first-place votes and 314 points after improving to 8-0 with a 34-7 non-conference win over Menlo (Calif.) on Oct. 27. The Knights face arguably their toughest test of the season when they travel to No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) on Saturday.
No. 2 Georgetown, who has idle last week, claimed the remaining first-place vote and 302 points, while No. 3 Missouri Valley received 286 points after knocking off Peru State (Neb.), 67-13, last Saturday. Fourth-ranked Morningside, who downed Dordt (Iowa), 41-0, to claim at least a share of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) title, rounds out the quartet with 283 points. The group's five-consecutive weeks is the longest such stretch for four teams since former-NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.), Carroll (Mont.), former-NAIA member Lindenwood (Mo.) and Saint Francis (Ind.) held Nos. 1 - 4 for eight-straight polls in 2009 (April 20 - Oct. 19).
Saint Xavier claimed the No. 5 position for the second week in a row with 262 points. Since their loss against sixth-ranked Saint Francis (Ind.) on Sept. 29, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 154-48, including a 54-10 victory against Concordia (Mich.) last weekend.
Previously No. 6 Carroll fell the hardest of the ranked teams this week. The Fighting Saints slipped 10 spots to No. 16 - their lowest ranking since being No. 16 on Nov. 12, 2000 - following a 52-49 loss against then-No. 19 Southern Oregon in the NAIA Football Game of the Week. Conversely, the Raiders leapfrogged five positions to No. 14, which is the first top 15 rating for Southern Oregon since Sept. 23, 2003.
No. 21 Bethel (Tenn.), No. 23 Kansas Wesleyan and No. 24 Doane (Neb.) jump back into the poll this week. Bethel, the current Mid-South Conference West Division leader with a 4-0 record in the league, was last ranked No. 11 (tied) in the August 6 preseason poll, while Kansas Wesleyan and Doane last sported a national mention in the Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 editions, respectively.
Three teams dropped out of the Top 25: St. Francis (Ill.) (No. 17), Cumberland (Tenn.) (No. 20) and Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) (No. 25). St. Francis' fall snaps a streak of 22-consecutive mentions for the Fighting Saints.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference leads all conferences with five teams in the Top 25 (Missouri Valley, No. 12 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 13 Baker (Kan.), No. 15 Evangel (Mo.), No. 18 Benedictine (Kan.)), while the GPAC is second with four programs. Nine conferences/independents are represented in this week's Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2012 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here. The next Top 25 will be announced on Nov. 5.
For more information on NAIA football, click here.
NOTES: Marian's (Ind.) No. 1 ranking marks the seventh time - fifth-straight - the Knights have received the top spot since the program was established in 2006 ... The top four remained unchanged for the fifth-straight week, marking the longest stretch since former-NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.), Carroll (Mont.), former-NAIA member Lindenwood (Mo.) and Saint Francis (Ind.) held Nos. 1 - 4 for eight-straight polls in 2009 (April 20, 2009 - Oct. 19, 2009) ... Marian, No. 2 Georgetown (Ky.), No. 3 Missouri Valley, No. 4 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) have been ranked in the top 10 in every poll this season ... Carroll's No. 16 ranking is the lowest for the Fighting Saints since they were No. 16 on Nov. 12, 2000 ... Southern Oregon's No. 14 rating is the first top 15 ranking for the Raiders since Sept. 23, 2003 (No. 13) ... Carroll's No. 12 ranking on Sept. 10 marked the first time the Fighting Saints were ranked outside the top 10 since Nov. 2, 2004 ... Additionally, Carroll had a 91-straight top-five rating streak end ...Carroll leads all institutions with 56 first-place rankings and is followed by Sioux Falls (55), Georgetown (23), Saint Xavier (14) and former NAIA member Northwestern Oklahoma State (11) ... No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the longest consecutive stretch of being named in the Coaches' Top 25 Poll with 164 ... Following Saint Francis among consecutive appearances is Carroll with 149, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with 75, Morningside with 67 and Saint Xavier with 54 ... Since 2000, only three programs have lasted the entire season ranked at No. 1 - Carroll (2003, 2005), Sioux Falls (2009), Georgetown (2001) ... St. Francis' (Ill.) fall from the Top 25 snaps a streak of 22-straight mentions for the Fighting Saints.2012 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 8 (Oct. 29)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Marian (Ind.) (13)||8-0||314|
|2||2||Georgetown (Ky.) (1)||8-0||302|
|5||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||7-1||262|
|6||7||Saint Francis (Ind.)||6-2||243|
|9||9||Grand View (Iowa)||7-2||217|
|10||11||William Penn (Iowa)||8-1||214|
|11||12||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||7-1||200|
|12||13||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||6-2||196|
|22||22||Robert Morris (Ill.)||8-1||59|
Others receiving votes: Cumberland (Tenn.) 23; Bacone (Okla.) 10; St. Francis (Ill.) 4; Kentucky Christian 3.