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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | November 16, 2021

Ferris State tops the final DII football Power 10 rankings of the regular season

2021 DII Football: 2021 Selection Show

Welcome to the DII football postseason. Eleven weeks are in the books, the bracket is set and 28 teams remain in the quest for the 2021 DII football national championship.

2021 DII FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: News, updates, scores and bracket from the tournament

In a year that often saw the unimaginable become reality, six of the preseason Power 10 teams somehow still find themselves in the mix at regular season’s end. Current No. 1 Ferris State began the season at No. 3 while West Florida entered as preseason No. 1. Northwest Missouri State, Colorado School of Mines, Valdosta State and Notre Dame (OH) all held strong throughout the season. 

WEEK 11 RECAP: West Florida tops Valdosta State in final weekend of DII regular season

Remember, 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. This is the last Power 10 you will see until the conclusion of the tournament.

I also finished 16-15 in my predictions this season. I almost always picked a top-25 showdown — often a Power-10 battle — so with the way this season unfolded, I am perfectly content coming out on top. I will have some tourney predictions before first kick as well. 

LOOK BACK: The NCAA.com preseason Power 10AFCA preseason poll takeaways 

The DII football Power 10 rankings (all games through Nov. 13)

No. 1 Ferris State | Previous: 1
The Bulldogs enter the playoffs as the only overall undefeated team in DII football. That speaks volumes after seeing upset upon upset in this crazy return to DII football. Ferris State has the second-best scoring offense in DII and has become semifinals regulars of late. Don’t expect the Bulldogs to take the bye week easy — they will come out ready to go.

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

No. 2 West Florida | Previous: 4
The Argos got over another hump this past Saturday. They finally defeated Valdosta State in the regular season to claim their first-ever Gulf South Conference title. West Florida has been a powerhouse all season long and now get to host games in the postseason after running through a nationally ranked field unseeded and on the road last time out.

No. 3 Valdosta State | Previous: 2
Make no mistake. One loss does not change the fact that the Blazers are one of the very best in the country. That loss coming to the defending national champs tells you everything you need to know — Valdosta State went 9-1 against the toughest schedule in DII football. Ivory Durham is playing his best football and I think I speak for us all in saying we hope to see a West Florida vs. Valdosta State sequel this season.

No. 4 Harding | Previous: 3
It was just another Saturday at the office for the Bison. Cole Chancey ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-0 victory. And that is what you need to know about how Harding is playing right now. It has DII football’s top rushing offense with 403.0 yards per game and has won its last nine games by an average of 36.7 points per game — including two wins over nationally ranked teams.  

TOURNEY FAQ: The essential guide to the DII football championship

No. 5 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: 5
I sound like a broken record alert: Al McKeller is good, and this defense is bananas. McKeller enters the tournament with 400 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in his last three games. When he can control the tempo and you have DII’s second-best scoring defense — trailing only Albany State (GA) with a stingy 9.3 points per game — you have a recipe for playoff success. 

No. 6 Bowie State | Previous: 6
Kudos to Bowie State for being the only other team to go perfect on its DII schedule. The Bulldogs lone loss came on opening day to FCS Delaware State and they went on to show that the CIAA is still theirs. They won their third-straight conference title this past Saturday and are rolling into the playoffs with an exciting blend of offensive and defensive playmakers clicking. 

No. 7 Grand Valley State | Previous: 7
The Lakers have been nothing short of impressive. Grand Valley State missed a few tournaments, and you can just see the Lakers came out with something to prove this season. They scored 41.6 points per game — ninth best in DII — against the ninth-toughest schedule in the division. Simply put, they haven’t just been playing well, but have been doing it against stiff competition. 

REGIONAL RANKINGS: Super Region breakdown 

No. 8 Notre Dame (OH) | Previous: 9
The Falcons did what the Falcons do this season. They won the MEC — again — behind a steady stable of running backs — again — all while scoring nearly 40 points per game… again. This team has a lot of the pieces on the field that has made it to the semifinals and quarterfinals the past two tournaments and in a relatively wide-open Super Region One, they are one to watch. 

No. 9 Colorado School of Mines | Previous: 10
The Orediggers were your 2021 co-RMAC champions, an impressive feat with the rise of Western Colorado and Colorado Mesa in the national spotlight. Michael Zeman is the focal point of this offense, who seems like a guarantee for 100 yards and a touchdown on a weekly basis. Super Region Four is loaded, so having the first-round bye to see how things pan out is a tremendous advantage.

No. 10 (tie) West Georgia, previously 8 and Kutztown, previously “just missed”
West Georgia finished 8-2 this season after entering the season as an afterthought in its own conference’s preseason poll. There is a lot to like about this offense that seems to give you just enough to win ball games — especially when it handed West Florida its lone loss of the season.

Kutztown simply went out and did what it had to do. The Golden Bears beat Indiana (PA) when it was nationally ranked, beat Shepherd — which has the best offense in DII — defeated Shippensburg who was in the Super Region One rankings and took care of nationally and regionally ranked Slippery Rock in the PSAC championship game. Any questions?

Just missed: New Haven, Shepherd

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