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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | November 12, 2019

College football rankings: How the DII top 25 fare before the bracket is filled

DII football plays of the week

The top two teams in DII football showed their muscle this past weekend and hung on in a pair of tightly-contested top 25 battles. Valdosta State and Ferris State remain at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively — as the two have all season — heading into the final weekend of the 2019 season.

WEEK 10 RECAP: Schedule, scores | Best stats and performances from the Super Regions

Before we break down the latest AFCA poll, here's a look at the top 25:

Rank School Record Points Previous
1 Valdosta State (28) 9-0 772 1
2 Ferris State (1) 10-0 742 2
3 Tarleton State (2) 10-0 710 3
4 Minnesota State 10-0 685 4
5 Ouachita Baptist 10-0 626 5
6 Lenoir-Rhyne 10-0 614 7
7 Colorado School of Mines 10-0 590 8
8 Slippery Rock 10-0 552 9
9 Central Missouri 10-0 522 10
10 Colorado St.-Pueblo 9-1 434 11
11 Bowie State 10-0 426 13
12 Northwest Missouri State 9-1 419 12
13 Kutztown 10-0 418 15
14 Harding 9-1 371 16
15 Notre Dame (OH) 9-1 318 6
16 Indianapolis 8-1 315 17
17 Wingate 9-1 289 18
18 Indiana (Pa.) 9-1 272 19
19 Grand Valley State 8-2 219 14
20 Henderson State 9-1 216 22
21 Tiffin 8-1 147 25
22 West Florida 7-2 130 20
23 Texas A&M-Commerce 7-2 119 24
24 West Chester 8-2 43 NR
25 Truman State 8-2 33 23

Top 5 hold strong in DII football top 25

Valdosta State had a tough matchup with Gulf South Conference rival and then-No. 20 West Florida. Despite jumping out to a very comfortable 20-0 lead at the half, the Blazers had to fight for the victory as the Argos made it a game. Valdosta State won 26-21 and held on to the No. 1 spot.

Ferris State also had its hands full with then-No. 14 Grand Valley State. It was a defensive struggle early on after a scoreless first quarter, but the Lakers took a 9-0 lead in the second thanks to a fumble return for a touchdown. Quarterback Travis Russell led the Bulldogs back, scoring 21 straight points before the Lakers could answer. The Bulldogs and Blazers are looking like the two teams that played in the championship game last year once again.

Tarleton State, Minnesota State, and Ouachita Baptist held at Nos. 3-5 respectively. The Mavericks barely eked out a win against regionally-ranked Sioux Falls, but Nate Gunn scored six touchdowns to give them the big 42-39 win. 

The big change in the top 10 sees Notre Dame (OH) falling to No. 15 after the stunning upset in overtime to Glenville State. That allowed CSU-Pueblo to get back into the top 10 where the ThunderWolves began the season. 

DII football top 25: Risers, fallers, and newcomers

Last week, we welcomed Tiffin to the top 25. This week, the Dragons are the biggest risers, jumping four spots to No. 21. Tiffin has won seven in a row since an early-season loss to Saginaw Valley State and has a huge Great Midwest Athletic Conference matchup against Findlay this week that could see them rise again with a win.

CSU-Pueblo only jumped one spot, but it was a big one, back into the top 10 for the first time since its loss to Colorado School of Mines. Bowie State, Kutztown, Harding and Henderson State all jumped two spots.

Notre Dame (OH) dropped the most, falling nine spots to No. 15 after that upset in overtime. Grand Valley State fell five spots after losing the Anchor Bone Classic, but remain a top 20 team. West Florida and Truman State both dropped two spots after losses to top 25 competition and Angelo State fell from the poll after being upset in overtime by Eastern New Mexico.

The only newcomer is hardly that at all. West Chester jumps right back into the poll after its one-week hiatus. The Golden Rams are back at No. 24 this week.

UNDEFEATED TRACKERS: Which teams will enter the bracket with a perfect record?

Top 25 Week 11 matchups

There are quite a few matchups that will shake up the final regional rankings before the selection show at 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 17 right here on NCAA.com.

The Battle of the Ravine, one of college football's most-played and unusual rivalries, will be one of two games featured on the DII football showcase on Saturday. No. 20 Henderson State will walk across the street to take on No. 5 Ouachita Baptist in a classic Great American Conference showdown.

RIVALRIES: The most-played rivalries in DII football history 

The other game in the DII football showcase is essentially a playoff game. No. 9 Central Missouri hits the road and puts its undefeated season on the line against No. 12 Northwest Missouri State in a pivotal Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association showdown. 

Slippery Rock and Kutztown will meet in the PSAC championship game. Both teams are a perfect 10-0 and this could very well determine who gets the No. 1 seed and more importantly a first-round bye in Super Region One.

No. 11 Bowie State will face off against Fayetteville State in the CIAA championship game. Though the Broncos are outside the top 25, they can certainly mix it up in Super Region Two with a win. 

Angelo State will have a quick chance at redemption, hosting No. 23 Texas A&M-Commerce. The Rams fell to Eastern New Mexico on Saturday, missing the game-tying field goal in overtime to give the Greyhounds the win. The Lions have two losses, both to the hands of Super Region Four teams. This would go a long way in securing a top 7 seed next Sunday. 

West Virginia State has been in the Super Region One rankings in each of the first two weeks. A big showdown against Notre Dame (OH) would allow them to play spoiler while the Falcons are looking to bounce back very quickly before Selection Sunday.

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