WACO, TEX.– Losses by North Alabama and West Texas A&M caused a shakeup in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll this week. Grand Valley State still sits No. 1 for a third straight week, earning 23 of a possible 26 first place votes after a 34-10 win over Findlay.
Abilene Christian is the new No. 2 team this week. The Wildcats beat then-No. 4 West Texas A&M, 52-35, and earned the final three first place votes. Northwest Missouri State moves into the third spot after the Bearcats dominated Fort Hays State, 56-7, and moved its record to 7-1. No. 4 Bloomsburg is 8-0 on the season after a 43-7 win over Cheyney. Delta State rounds out the new Top 5. The Statesmen upset then-No. 2 North Alabama, 34-28, to take sole possession of first place in the Gulf South Conference.
California (Pa.) and Minnesota-Duluth tied for the sixth spot this week. The Vulcans beat Gannon, 42-24, while the Bulldogs handed St. Cloud State a 38-21 loss. North Alabama fell six places to No. 8 after its loss to Delta State. Valdosta State beat Harding, 21-13, and moved up one spot to No. 9, as did Central Washington, who moved to No. 10 after a 34-14 win over Humboldt State.
West Texas A&M tumbled seven places to No. 11 after its loss to Abilene Christian. Tuskegee handed then-No. 20 Albany State a 33-20 loss and stays in the 12th position. For the second week in a row, Chadron State and Pittsburg State are tied at No. 13. The Eagles beat Fort Lewis, 48-7, while the Gorillas defeated then-No. 22 Nebraska-Omaha, 35-28. Edinboro jumped up a spot to No. 15 after a 35-14 win over Slippery Rock.
Tarleton State is up to No. 16 after handily defeating Eastern New Mexico, 42-21. Carson-Newman dominated Lenoir-Rhyne, 62-21, and rose one spot to No. 17, while Central Missouri jumped three places to No. 18 after a 47-14 victory over Missouri Southern State. American International made the biggest move in the poll, moving from No. 24 to No. 19 after a 42-20 win over Pace. Wingate fell five places to No. 20 after its 32-21 loss to Newberry.
Indiana (Pa.) beat Mercyhurst, 42-10, and jumped two places to No. 21, while West Virginia State moved up three spots to No. 22 after a 34-24 win over West Liberty State. Ashland, West Chester and Midwestern State all re-enter the poll this week. No. 23 Ashland beat Saginaw Valley State, 31-28. West Chester handed Shippensburg a 25-7 loss and Midwestern State defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville, 38-16.
Conference Breakdown: Pennsylvania State Athletic-5 (Bloomsburg, California (Pa.), Edinboro, Indiana (Pa.), West Chester); Lone Star-4 (Abilene Christian, West Texas A&M, Tarleton St., Midwestern St.); Gulf South-3 (Delta St., North Alabama, Valdosta St.); MIAA-3 (Northwest Missouri St., Pittsburg St., Central Missouri); South Atlantic-2 (Carson-Newman, Wingate); Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic-2 (Grand Valley St., Ashland); Great Northwest Athletic-1 (Central Washington); Northeast 10-1 (American International); Northern Sun Intercollegiate-1 (Minnesota-Duluth); Rocky Mountain Athletic-1 (Chadron St.); Southern Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Tuskegee); West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (West Virginia St.).
Three games featuring teams ranked in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll highlight this weekend’s action. The first Top 25 match-up has No. 1 Grand Valley State hosting No. 23 Ashland. The Lakers have won 11 straight against the Eagles with Ashland’s last victory coming in 1993, 29-14. The second match-up sees No. 16 Tarleton State traveling to No. 2 Abilene Christian. ACU is playing its second straight ranked opponent as it tries to get a stranglehold on the Lone Star Conference South Division. The Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings with Tarleton State, including a 70-63 shootout last season. The final Top 25 match-up has No. 8 North Alabama hosting No. 9 Valdosta State. UNA holds the series advantage over the Blazers, 15-13-1, but Valdosta State won last year’s meeting, 27-24.