KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Union College jumped up three spots in the latest 2008 NAIA Football Top 25 Coaches' Poll and landed at No. 15, the NAIA announced Monday.
The Bulldogs (8-2 overall, 5-1 Mid-South Conference East) garnered 189 total points to land securely as the 15th-ranked team. Ottawa (Kan.) University received 203 points to come in at No. 14, while Baker (Kan.) University received 169 points to drop from 15th to 16th.
Six teams remain undefeated and Carroll (Mont.) is No. 1 for the 12th straight time in the ninth regular-season NAIA Top 25 Poll. The Fighting Saints won last Saturday, 28-7 over Eastern Oregon, and recorded their 26th straight win dating back to last year. Carroll earned all 18 possible first-place votes and 418 total points. The Saints now prepare for the 2008 Football Championship Series, which begins Nov. 22, as their regular season is complete with an 11-0 record. The 12 straight No. 1’s for Carroll is the longest consecutive stretch since Sioux Falls (S.D.) had the lock on No. 1 for 14 straight polls dating from the end of the 2006 season through the 2007 final regular season poll.
The Top 6 stays unchanged and all teams boast a perfect record heading into the final regular season weekend. Interestingly enough, no more than four programs total have finished the regular season with an unblemished record in 13 years. The last time that more than four teams had a perfect record was the 1995 regular season.
All season long, Sioux Falls has taken the No. 2 position and this week is no different. The Cougars held 401 total points in the poll after blowing out Dordt (Iowa) 34-2 over the weekend. USF squares off with another undefeated team, No. 4 Morningside (Iowa) on Saturday (Nov. 15) in Sioux Falls, S.D. Both schools are fighting for the outright Great Plains Athletic Conference Championship.
St. Francis (Ind.) earned the No. 3 position amassing 387 points and staying 9-0 on the year. The Cougars travel to No. 18 St. Xavier (Ill.) this weekend. No. 5 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), who took down then-No. 15 Baker (Kan.) in double overtime, finished with 357 points this week. The final undefeated team, No. 6 Friends (Kan.), won on the road at then-No. 23 Bethel (Kan.) and retained its hold as the conference leader in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
No. 24 Montana State-Northern and No. 25 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) both jumped into the Top 25 this week. MSU-Northern took down Montana Tech 35-3 and improved to 7-3 on the year. Meanwhile, Dakota Wesleyan shocked then-No. 12 Northwestern (Iowa) at home with a 17-6 victory.
There are a couple of other Top 25 games on the schedule this weekend. No. 12 Missouri Valley is at No. 7 Lindenwood (Mo.) as both teams look up at conference leader MidAmerica Nazarene. No. 23 Ohio Dominican visits No. 13 Malone (Ohio) and one national record is in jeopardy of being broken. ODU quarterback Cris Reisert, who set two NAIA career passing records last week, needs 317 yards to break the all-time national total offense yards total of 13,979.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The 10th and final regular season Top 25 poll will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 16 by 1 p.m. CST. The official field for the 2008 Football Championship Series, along with the pairings, will be announced by 5 p.m. CST on Nov. 16.
8. University of the Cumberlands
15. Union College
22. UVA-Wise Cavaliers