Wednesday, August 22, 2007


WACO, TEX.-- Defending national champion Grand Valley State opens the season at No. 1 in the 2007 preseason American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll.

Grand Valley State received 25 of a possible 28 first place votes and will look to win their fifth national title in six years in 2007. Last year’s runner-up, Northwest Missouri State, received two first place votes and begins the season where it finished last year, at No. 2. North Dakota slides in at No. 3 and received the final first place vote. No. 4 North Alabama begins defense of its Gulf South Conference title on Sept. 8 versus Tusculum while No. 5 Chadron State opens its season against No. 25 Washburn this coming Saturday.

Valdosta State opens the season at the same spot it did last year, at No. 6. Pittsburg State enters this year’s poll at No. 7 after finishing 15th last season, while Shepherd starts exactly where it left last year, at No. 8. No. 9 Bloomsburg will look to get a step further in the playoffs in 2007 after losing in the semifinals last season. No. 10 South Dakota looks to supplant preseason favorite North Dakota as the top team in the North Central Conference.

Abilene Christian begins 2007 at No. 11 after finishing 10th in 2006. No. 12 Delta State will look to improve on their semifinal appearance and No. 3 ranking from last season. No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha starts its season on September 1 against instate rival Nebraska-Kearney. No. 14 Northwood and No. 15 Carson-Newman will look to improve on identical 8-3 records from last season.

Newberry starts defense of its South Atlantic Conference title as the 16th ranked team in the Division II Coaches’ Poll. West Chester finished last season at No. 24 with a 9-4 record, but begins 2007 at No. 17. Southeastern Oklahoma State was unranked at the end of the 2006 season, but starts this year at No. 18. No. 19 Bemidji State is the preseason favorite in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference while No. 20 Albany State is once again the favorite in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Elizabeth City State and California start 2007 tied at No. 21. Midwestern State is looking to improve on their 10-3 mark from a year ago and starts the season at No. 23, while conference rival West Texas A&M comes in at one spot below at No. 24. Washburn was unranked at the end of the 2006 season, but begins this year in the final spot of the Coaches’ Top 25 poll.

Conference Breakdown: The Lone Star Conference (Abilene Christian, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Midwestern State, West Texas A&M) has the most representatives in the preseason AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll with four. Other conferences represented include: Gulf South-3 (North Alabama, Valdosta State, Delta State); MIAA-3 (Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State, Washburn); North Central-3 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha); Pennsylvania State Athletic-3 (Bloomsburg, West Chester, California (Pa.)); Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic-2 (Grand Valley State, Northwood); South Atlantic-2 (Carson-Newman, Newberry); Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association-1 (Elizabeth City State); Northern Sun Intercollegiate-1 (Bemidji State); Rocky Mountain Athletic-1 (Chadron State); Southern Intercollegiate-1 (Albany State); West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Shepherd).

The Poll

The AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll follows the same format as the Division I-A and Division III polls. A Division II Board of Coaches made up of 28 AFCA-member head coaches from NCAA Division II schools around the country will vote each Sunday for the top 25 teams in the division. All Division II football-playing conferences are represented on the voting board, as well as independent schools. The poll will be released on Tuesdays during the regular season, see the results at

Poll Points

Forty-three schools spent at least one week ranked in the 2006 AFCA Coaches’ Poll ... Thirteen schools were ranked in the Top 25 all 14 weeks the poll was released in 2006 (Grand Valley St., Northwest Missouri St., North Alabama, North Dakota, Valdosta St., Bloomsburg, Pittsburg St., West Texas A&M, Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota, Shepherd, Winona St., Northwood) ... Eventual 2006 national champion Grand Valley State was ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the 2006 season ... Since the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 debuted in 2000, Grand Valley State has been ranked No. 1 for 56 weeks, including their top ranking in this year’s preseason poll ... The other six schools which have appeared No. 1 in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 poll are Northwest Missouri State (12 weeks), Valdosta State (nine), Delta State (seven), Pittsburg State (four), Saginaw Valley State (three) and North Dakota (one) ... Pittsburg State is the only school to have appeared in every Top 25 poll since it was first released in 2000.