WACO, TEXAS--Grand Valley State started the season at No. 1, and that is how they finished up the regular season portion of the schedule. The Lakers are the unanimous No. 1 team in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll after handing Northern Michigan a 44-14 loss and moving its record to 10-0.
No. 2 Chadron State blanked Adams State, 58-0, winning its second straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha claimed the North Central Conference outright with a 59-21 win over then-No. 16 Central Washington. No. 4 West Texas A&M beat then-No. 13 Tarleton State, 39-14, to take home its third straight Lone Star Conference title. Northwest Missouri State stayed in the fifth position after dominating Missouri Southern State, 49-14.
No. 6 California (Pa.) is 11-0 after a 30-9 win over Shippensburg. No. 7 North Dakota snapped South Dakota’s 23-game home winning streak with a 31-27 victory. No. 8 Valdosta State beat West Georgia, 35-10, moving its record to 9-1, as did No. 9 Delta State after a dominating, 51-14 win over Arkansas-Monticello. North Alabama rounds out the Top 10 after handing West Alabama a 49-20 loss and moving its record to 9-1.
No. 11 Carson-Newman ended its season on a high note, beating Tusculum, 63-24. No. 12 Catawba beat Lenoir-Rhyne, 45-0, and earned a trip to the playoffs where they will face Albany State. No. 13 Tuskegee is 10-0 after a 72-3 win over George Mason. No. 14 Shepherd was idle, and has a first-round bye in the playoffs. Abilene Christian beat then-No. 19 Midwestern State, 42-41, and jumped two spots to No. 15.
No. 16 West Chester moved up four spots in this week’s poll after handing Cheyney a 35-13 loss. Mesa State also jumped four spots, from No. 21 to No. 17, after its 30-7 win over New Mexico Highlands. No. 18 Newberry ended its season with a 17-6 decision over Brevard, while No. 19 Winona State earned a spot in the playoffs after beating Wayne State (Neb.), 59-34. Tarleton State fell seven spots to No. 20 after ending its season with a loss to No. 4 West Texas A&M.
Central Washington lost to No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha and tumbled to No. 21 in the poll. Ashland jumps into the poll for the first time this season at No. 22. The Eagles are 8-1 after a 62-7 rout of Gannon. Indiana (Pa.) lost to Bloomsburg, 41-35, and fell five spots to No. 23, as did Midwestern State, who fell from No. 19 to No. 24 after its loss to No. 15 Abilene Christian. Washburn jumps back into the poll at No. 25 after the Ichabods beat Southwest Baptist, 37-14, and moved its record to 8-3.
Conference Breakdown: Lone Star-4 (West Texas A&M, Tarleton St., Abilene Christian, Midwestern St.); Gulf South-3 (Valdosta St., Delta St., North Alabama); North Central-3 (Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, Central Washington); Pennsylvania State Athletic-3 (California (Pa.), West Chester, Indiana (Pa.)); South Atlantic-3 (Carson-Newman, Catawba, Newberry); Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic-2 (Grand Valley St., Ashland); MIAA-2 (Northwest Missouri St., Washburn); Rocky Mountain Athletic-2 (Chadron St., Mesa St.); Northern Sun Intercollegiate-1 (Winona St.); Southern Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Tuskegee); West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Shepherd).
Five games featuring teams ranked in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll highlight the first weekend of playoff action. The first match-up pits No. 4 West Texas A&M vs. No. 25 Washburn. The Buffs are making their third straight postseason appearance while Washburn is making its second appearance in three years.
No. 7 North Dakota plays host to No. 19 Winona State in the second Top 25 match-up. The Fighting Sioux are 5-0 against Winona State, including a 49-2 decision at the
Alerus Center last season.
The third match-up sees No. 15 Abilene Christian hosting No. 17 Mesa State. It will be ACU’s first time to host a playoff game since 1977. Mesa State is making its third Division II playoff appearance under head coach Joe Ramunno.
The fourth match-up has familiar foes as No. 23 Indiana (Pa.) travels to No. 16 West Chester. These Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rivals have faced each other 15 times with Indiana holding the series advantage at 9-6. West Chester won the last meeting, 30-20, in 2005. The final match-up has No. 22 Ashland traveling to No. 21 Central Washington. Ashland is making its first appearance in the playoffs since 1997 while Central Washington is making its second Division II playoff appearance.
Grand Valley State enters the playoffs with a Division II record 38-game winning streak. The Lakers’ 38 straight wins is also the longest active winning streak in college football.