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Wayne Cavadi | | November 1, 2021

DII football Power 10 rankings: Ferris State remains on top heading into the final two weeks

How last year's lacrosse player of the year became Ferris State's QB1

Halloween has come and gone, but surprisingly there weren’t too many scary happenings for the top teams in DII football. Just one Power 10 team lost this week — which is frighteningly rare — but it was to No. 2 Valdosta State and did not affect West Georgia’s status too much.

That said, there are now two weeks left in the DII football regular season before the selection show. These rankings are providing more clarity than ever before of who the postseason favorites may be.

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First, your weekly disclaimer: These are my rankings, and mine alone. As with all our Power 10 rankings, we pair insight from coaches, SIDs and insiders with what the selection committee tends to look at come tournament time — strength of schedule, win-loss percentage and stats of that nature — to come up with a fair version of the top 10. You can expect the new Power 10 the next two Mondays as the season winds down to its close. 

As a reminder, we’ve added a bonus to the Power 10 report this season. When you read to the end of the Power 10 rankings, I pick three games to watch and make a prediction for each one. I need to try and shake the slump, as I went 1-2 for the second week in a row.

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The DII football Power 10 rankings (all games through Oct. 31)

No. 1 Ferris State | Previous: 1
Kickoff. Dominate. Repeat. That has been the Bulldogs’ key to success this season. Ferris State has the No. 2 total offense (518.6 yards per game) and scoring offense (46.0 points per game) and are winning games by an average of 21 points per contest. The final two teams of the Bulldogs’ schedule are a combined 5-13, so while there are no certainties in DII football, Ferris State seems close to a lock for its third-straight undefeated regular season.

FERRIS QB POWER: How Jared Bernhardt went from best in DI lacrosse to the DII football field

No. 2 Valdosta State | Previous: 2
Kudos to West Georgia for doing what no one else has done this season: Gave the Blazers a ballgame. Valdosta State won its tightest matchup of the season 36-34 over the Wolves. The Blazers’ offense has been one of the best, posting top-5 marks in total yards and points per game. As it was in Valdosta State's 2018 run to the title, if you give the Blazers the ball last, they are going to beat you.

No. 3 Harding | Previous: 3
Harding is seemingly getting better each week and this past Saturday’s 73-14 victory showed that. Three freshmen rushed for more than 100 yards each boosting Harding’s top rush offense in DII football to an astounding 395.1 yards per game. Pair that with the third-best scoring offense and you have a recipe for winning ball games — scoring points aplenty all while controlling the clock and keeping the opponents’ offense off the field.

No. 4 West Florida | Previous: 4
The Argos played a tightly contested first half against Mississippi College this past weekend, but as they have for the bulk of the season, completely dominated the second half. While Austin Reed has been a steady force, it seems each week a new star steps forward with a huge game. This week it was transfer Larry Rembert who had a career-high 184 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Mark your calendars — Valdosta State and West Florida will battle in a game for the ages the final Saturday of the season.   

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No. 5 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: 5
Wow. That was what we were left saying after the Bearcats’ dominating 66-13 victory over top-25 Nebraska-Kearney this past Saturday. Northwest Missouri State’s defense continues to impress, last week they held the MIAA’s top offense to just 13 points. In fact, the Bearcats D has yet to allow 20 points in a game this season. We said Al McKeller would be a gamechanger for the Bearcats this season and he showed that Saturday with four scores in the rout.

No. 6 Bowie State | Previous: 9
The Bulldogs have shown that once again the CIAA is Bowie State Country. They clinched their third-straight division title and will be playing for the CIAA championship in a couple weeks. This team has an incredible balance with a slew of offensive and defensive superstars that shine among DII football’s best. They are one of five teams still perfect in DII play this season.

No. 7 Grand Valley State | Previous: 8
The Lakers posted another victory that wasn’t exciting in the box score but shows why this team is dangerous — they find a way to win. Let’s not forget, their one loss was to No. 1 Ferris State by one score in a game that went down to the wire. Cade Peterson seems like the perfect quarterback to control the tempo and depth on this team and with a relatively easy schedule to close things out, we expect them to enter the playoffs a one-loss team.

REGIONAL RANKINGS: How the Super Regions break down

No. 8 West Georgia | Previous: 6
The Wolves have a pretty impressive resume. Their two losses were to nationally ranked teams, and they have a win against then-No. 1 West Florida. Add in a pair of shutouts by this defense and a solid field general in Harrison Frost and this is by and far the best two-loss team in the country. West Georgia has an off week to prepare for Delta State which is a team much better than its record suggests. A win should lock them into the postseason.   

No. 9 Cal (PA) | Previous: 7
The Vulcans are one of four undefeated teams left standing with Saturday’s 42-14 victory over Seton Hill. While they have an impressive victory over then-top-25 Indiana (PA), that is the only stiff competition the Vulcans have faced. This coming week, they battle Slippery Rock on the road and will show a lot of what to expect from them in the postseason. One thing we do know is quarterback Noah Mitchell is blossoming into a DII stud, which helps in the absence of a power running game.

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No. 10 Notre Dame (OH) | Previous: 10
This team makes scoring touchdowns look so easy. And you don’t know which way they are coming at you. Sometimes it is the two-headed backfield of Tyris Dickerson and Idris Lawrence, and other times Chris Brimm just goes off, as he did this past weekend throwing for 300 yards and five scores. The Falcons and the postseason are about as easy a preseason pick you can make, and it looks like they are trending that way once again.

Just missed: Augustana (SD), Bentley, Colorado School of Mines, Ouachita Baptist, Shepherd, Slippery Rock

3 games to watch: Week 10 breakdown, schedule and predictions

Last week: 1-2 (W: Valdosta State L: Colorado Mesa, Nebraska-Kearney) | Season: 16-9
What we said: See last week's predictions

Bentley at New Haven — Saturday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.
The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in DII football, still undefeated and winners of their last 13 dating back to 2019. They have an offense that scores more than 30 while putting up nearly 400 yards an outing. That earned the Falcons the No. 1 spot in the first regional rankings. New Haven is undefeated in NE10 play and sits just five spots behind Bentley in the regional rankings. The Chargers have the best defense in the NE10, so this will be an evenly matched contest with plenty on the line. Bentley has played a slightly tougher schedule thus far, but New Haven leads the series over the past decade with an 8-3 record. This one is as tough as it gets. Prediction: Bentley

Cal (PA) at Slippery Rock — Saturday Nov. 6 at 1p.m.
This is going to be a battle. The last time Cal beat Slippery Rock was 2016 on its own turf. Many of these matchups have been very close. On the one hand, Slippery Rock lost to the toughest team it has played this season and, sitting at the bottom of the tournament teams in Super Region One, have quite a bit to prove. Cal has the toughest D in the PSAC and one of the best in DII at that. The problem for Slippery Rock is that if this becomes a shootout, Cal has the offense to match The Rock’s, something most teams in the PSAC do not. I think this goes to overtime, and I may flip my choice as we learn more throughout the week. Prediction: Cal

Augustana (SD) at Minnesota Duluth — Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.
The Vikings are looking for that first-round bye in the DII football playoffs while Minnesota Duluth is fighting for its postseason life. It will be a tall order for the Bulldogs as the Vikings own the second-best scoring offense and defense in the NSIC. On the flip side, the Bulldogs have won the last three meetings against Augustana, but all three have been close. This may be the time for Kyle Saddler to show he is a true force under center and win a huge game in a playoff atmosphere. Prediction: Augustana (SD)

Six more to watch with postseason implications:

  • Colorado School of Mines at CSU Pueblo (Super Region Four)
  • Kutztown at West Chester (Super Region One)
  • Sioux Falls at Wayne State (NE) (Super Region Four)
  • Texas A&M-Commerce at Angelo State (Super Region Four)
  • Washburn at Pittsburg State (Super Region Three)
  • West Florida at West Alabama (Super Region Two)

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