Upsets, new teams, and a record 100 years in the making; the Top 25 continues to shuffle in this week's DII football rankings
Oh, what a difference a week makes. Last week, three of Division II football's Top 10 fell, leading to a complete shakeup in the Top 25. This week, the Top 10 remain relatively the same, with all but one team dropping down the rankings.
RELATED: AFCA Poll
Fear not, there was still plenty of movement. Nineteen teams did the old Top 25 shuffle, with two new teams entering the madness that is the AFCA Poll. Let's break it down and examine five takeaways from the Week 7 DII rankings.
Win-streak meter: 37
FUN FACT: Northeastern State had never lost a home game played on October 14. The key word here is had.
The DII football steamroller otherwise known as Northwest Missouri State extended its streak to 37 straight games this past weekend. The Bearcats did it behind a balanced offensive attack, with quarterback Zach Martin tossing three touchdowns and running back Jordan Thompson punching two in on the ground.
Once again, the defense put up mind-numbing numbers. They held Northeastern to -22 yards rushing, allowing a mere 216 total yards on the game. The Bearcats are four games shy of history, the exact amount of games left on the regular season slate.
Wingate keeps climbing
After two big weeks of shakeups in the Top 25, much of the top half of the poll remained the same. That being said there weren't many ground-breaking jumps made this week. That being said, the Wingate Bulldogs sure knew how to make an impression on this week's voters.
The Bulldogs entered the Top 25 last week at No. 24. This week they squared off against a once-ranked, South Atlantic Conference rival Catawba. Trailing 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter, Wingate pitted its comeback, claiming victory on a field goal with zero ticks remaining on the clock. The victory helps Wingate tie for the second biggest jump of the week, climbing four spots to No. 20.
Also jumping four spots is Colorado Mesa. Back on track after suffering its lone lose to then-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo, the Mavericks have won their last two. Running back David Tann made sure there was no doubt this weekend, rushing for 206 yards and five touchdowns. Next up for CMU is the high-powered Adams State offense.
West Alabama however was the winners of the biggest jump of the week. With yet another decisive victory over a ranked Gulf South Conference opponent, the Tigers are a perfect 5-0 in the GSC. They have now defeated Delta State and West Georgia in consecutive weeks taking control of the GSC. They jumped five spots to No. 18.
A record 100 years in the making
Who thought Fort Hays would be in the Top 25 at the start of the season? Better yet, who thought they would be 7-0 and No. 8 more than halfway through?
With its 37-20 victory over Washburn this weekend, Fort Hays has cemented itself as a legitimate Top 10 threat. Running back Kenneth Iheme has become a true DII superstar, with 528 total yards over the past three weeks. Fort Hays State is 7-0 for the first time in 100 years. John F. Kennedy, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dean Martin were all born that year just to put it in perspective. The Tigers next three opponents (Missouri Western, Emporia State and Northwest Missouri) are all over .500. They have a date with destiny on November 4 as they could play spoiler to the Bearcats record-setting run.
Trojans join the party with a bang
Virginia State, who received votes last week, had a prime opportunity to make some noise hosting the then-No. 14 Bowie State Bulldogs. They did just that, and then some. Quarterback Cordelral Cook totaled 334 yards and five touchdowns while running back Trenton Cannon tacked on 234 yards and a touchdown of his own. The Trojans dominated, putting up 596 yards of total offense, winning 47-35 to remain undefeated on the season, and enter the polls at No. 21 this week.
Eastern New Mexico won't wow you on the stat sheets. But what they will do is win. The Greyhounds have won four in a row and now at 6-1, they joined the Top 25 at No. 24. It's the first time since the 2003 season that ENMU can say it is part of the DII football rankings. Running back Kamal Cass has become on of the best in DII football, recording another 100-yard performance this past weekend. While they can't afford to look ahead, the Greyhounds close the season against Midwestern State in a game that could decide their postseason fate.
Weekly fun with numbers:
153-13 - Combined record of the Top 25.
7 - Number of teams that are a perfect 7-0.
12 - Ranked teams that remain undefeated through Week 7, down two from last week.
2 - No. 10 Texas A&M-Commerce joins No. 7 Grand Valley State as the only Top 10 teams with a loss.
22-3 - Win-loss record of the new Top 25 this past weekend. Of the three losses, Bowie State suffered the most, dropping nine spots to No. 23. Slippery Rock followed, falling eight spots to No. 17 after its loss to No. 3 Indiana (Pa) and Southeastern Oklahoma State fell six spots to No. 25 after falling to Henderson State at home. Colorado State-Pueblo and West Georiga were knocked from the Top 25 altogether, the former in upset fashion, the latter in a Top 25 matchup.
6 - Number of teams that remained the same this week. The top four -- Northwest Missouri State, Shepherd, IUP and Minnesota State -- remained unchanged. No. 7 Grand Valley State and No. 8 Fort Hays also stood pat. That gives 76 percent of this week's DII football poll a new look.
32-0 - Combined record of the new Top 5. No. 1 Northwest Missouri State, No. 3 IUP, No. 4 Minnesota State are all 7-0, while No. 2 Shepherd (6-0) and No. 5 Midwestern State (5-0) round out the bunch.
1 - There is only one Top 25 matchup this coming weekend. No. 12 Ferris State hosts No. 7 Grand Valley State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown.
There's a new sheriff taking over the Top 25. The Lone Star Conference not only has two Top 10 teams (No. 5 Midwestern State and No. 10 Texas A&M-Commerce) but welcomed ENMU to the mix this week. The MIAA, despite only having two teams represented, also dominate the Top 10 with the No. 1 Bearcats and No. 8 Tigers looming large.
|Conference||Teams in Top 25|
|NSIC||3 (Sioux Falls, Minnesota State, Winona State)|
|LSC||3 (Midwestern State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Eastern New Mexico State)|
|GLIAC||3 (Grand Valley State, Ferris State, Ashland)|
|GSC||2 (Delta State, West Alabama)|
|MIAA||2 (NWMSU, Fort Hays State)|
|GNAC||2 (Central Washington, Humboldt State)|
|PSAC||2 (IUP, Slippery Rock)|
|CIAA||2 (Virginia State, Bowie State)|
|RMAC||1 (Colorado Mesa)|
|GAC||1 (Southeastern Oklahoma State)|