Northwestern Ranked Second in NAIA Preseason Coaches' Poll

August 03, 2021 8:51am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) released their 2021 Preseason Coaches' Poll Monday, August 2. The Red Raiders check in at No. 2 after making a run to the NAIA Championship game a season ago.

Northwestern was one of two teams to garner 400+ points in the preseason poll, tallying 402 points. Defending national champions Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) claimed the top spot in the preseason poll and received 18 first-place votes and garnered 418 points.

The Red Raiders are coming off an extremely special 2020 season that was altered by Covid-19. Playing a strict nine-game Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) league schedule in the fall, the Raiders went 8-1. Dropping their first game of the season to top-ranked Morningside, 41-35, Northwestern won the next eight games in a row.

Due to the pandemic, the NAIA playoffs wouldn't take place until the spring, giving the then red hot Raiders four full months off before the First Round of the NAIA playoffs would commence. Opening up the playoffs with a 31-7 victory over No. 10 Dickinson State, the Raiders were set to square off with another NAIA powerhouse within the State of Iowa borders in No. 2-ranked Grand View. Northwestern left Des Moines with a narrow 27-24 victory which set up the rematch with No. 1 Morningside. This time the Raiders would win when it mattered most squeaking out a 44-41 shootout victory in Sioux City to advance to the national championship game.

Northwestern opens the season against the Saints of Presentation College (S.D.) who hail from the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) in Aberdeen, S.D. on August 28. GPAC play commences for the Raiders on September 4 as Northwestern is set to play host to Hastings. The game will celebrate the senior class as well as marking the first home contest of the season.

The 2021 preseason polls saw two other GPAC institutions crack the top-30, including Morningside, who came in at No. 3 and Dordt who is ranked No. 14 to begin the 2021 season. The coveted contests between the two preseason ranked GPAC members are set at the latter half of the Raiders' schedule. Dordt comes to town October 30, with Morningside set to visit Orange City the following weekend, November 6. Both kickoffs are scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

2021 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Preseason (August 2)

RANK  SCHOOL                 [1ST PLACE VOTES]          FINAL POINTS

1  Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)        [18]   11-0                               418

2  Northwestern (Iowa)                 11-2                               402

3  Morningside (Iowa)                   10-1                               386

4  Keiser (Fla.)                               9-1                                366

5  Grand View (Iowa)                     7-1                                356

6  Concordia (Mich.)                      6-1                                338

7  Baker (Kan.)                              7-1                                317

8  Reinhardt (Ga.)                          9-1                                310

9  Marian (Ind.)                              5-2                                286

10 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)                 8-1                               279

11  Dickinson State (N.D.)             9-1                               244

12 Bethel (Kan.)                            9-2                               232

13 Georgetown (Ky.)                     6-2                               220

14 Dordt (Iowa)                             8-3                               188

15 Arizona Christian                      9-2                               184

16 Saint Francis (Ind.)                   2-2                               180

17 Benedictine (Kan.)                    8-2                               174

18 Eastern Oregon                        3-1                                143

19 College of Idaho                       3-1                                131

20 Roosevelt (Ill.)                          6-1                                 110

21 Avila (Mo.)                                8-1                                 90

22 Southeastern (Fla.)                  8-1                                 53

23 Ottawa (Ariz.)                           4-1                                 44

24 Kansas Wesleyan                    8-2                                  43

25 Southwestern (Kan.)                7-2                                  37

Receiving Votes: Montana Western 30, Carroll (Mont.) 24, Valley City State (N.D.) 14, Saint Xavier (Ill.) 5