Northwest Missouri State Finishes 2016 Season at No. 1
Northwest Missouri State used a dominating defense in freezing conditions to beat No. 2 North Alabama, 29-3, for their second straight NCAA Division II national championship. The Bearcats, who stayed at No. 1 in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 poll for the entire season, extended their win streak to a program record 30 straight. No. 2 North Alabama ends their season at 11-2 and appeared in the championship game for the first time since 1995. Shepherd (W.Va.), Grand Valley State (Mich.) and Ferris State (Mich.) round out the top five.
Ferris State made the biggest jump in the poll, moving up 10 places to finish at No. 5 coming off of their semifinal run in the playoffs. Florida Tech, Colorado Mesa and Assumption (Mass.) fell out of the final Top 25, making room for North Greenville (S.C.) and Tuskegee (Ala.). The Crusaders were unranked in the final regular season poll, but qualified for the playoffs and made a run to the quarterfinals, earning their No. 17 ranking. The Golden Tigers also made the playoffs after being unranked, but lost to North Greenville in the second round, earning a No. 20 final ranking.
2016 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll – December 19, 2016
|Rank||School (1st votes)||Rec.||Pts.||Prev.||Post-season||Head Coach|
|1.||Northwest Missouri St. (30)||15-0||750||1||D. No. 7 North Alabama, 29-3, in national championship||Adam Dorrel|
|2.||North Alabama||11-2||720||7||Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 29-3, in national championship||Bobby Wallace|
|3.||Shepherd (W.Va.)||13-1||675||3||Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 23-13, in semifinals||Monte Cater|
|4.||Grand Valley St. (Mich.)||12-1||631||2||Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 47-32, in quarterfinals||Matt Mitchell|
|5.||Ferris St. (Mich.)||12-3||629||15||Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 35-20, in semifinals||Tony Annese|
|6.||Harding (Ark.)||13-1||600||5||Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 35-0, in quarterfinals||Ronnie Huckeba|
|7.||California (Pa.)||11-1||577||6||Lost to No. 3 Shepherd (W.Va.), 41-30, in quarterfinals||Gary Dunn|
|8.||Sioux Falls (S.D.)||12-1||547||4||Lost to No. 5 Harding (Ark.), 27-24 OT, in second round||Jed Stugart|
|9.||Texas A&M-Commerce||10-2||457||8||Lost to No. 2 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 55-32, in second round||Colby Carthel|
|10.||Emporia St. (Kan.)||11-2||437||9||Lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri St., 44-13, in second round||Garin Higgins|
|11.||LIU-Post (N.Y.)||12-1||436||10||Lost to No. 3 Shepherd (W.Va.), 40-21, in second round||Bryan Collins|
|12.||Indiana (Pa.)||10-2||422||11||Lost to No. 6 California (Pa.), 44-23, in second round||Curt Cignetti|
|13.||North Carolina-Pembroke||10-2||400||12||Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 41-17, in second round||Shane Richardson|
|14.||Minnesota-Duluth||10-2||282||13||Lost to No. 9 Emporia St. (Kan.), 59-26, in first round||Curt Wiese|
|15.||Colorado School of Mines||10-3||276||21||Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 38-17, in second round||Gregg Brandon|
|16.||Newberry (S.C.)||10-2||219||14||Lost to Tuskegee (Ala.), 35-33, in first round||Todd Knight|
|17.||North Greenville (S.C.)||9-5||201||NR||Lost to No. 7 North Alabama, 38-0, in quarterfinals||Jeff Farrington|
|18.||Valdosta St. (Ga.)||8-3||199||19||Lost to No. 12 North Carolina-Pembroke, 24-21, in first round||Kerwin Bell|
|19.||Ashland (Ohio)||9-2||189||16||DNQ Playoffs||Lee Owens|
|20.||Tuskegee (Ala.)||9-3||162||NR||Lost to North Greenville (S.C.), 45-26, in second round||Willie Slater|
|21.||Central Missouri||9-3||158||20||Lost to No. 5 Harding (Ark.), 48-31, in first round||Jim Svoboda|
|22.||Southwest Baptist (Mo.)||10-2||148||17||Lost to No. 21 Colorado School of Mines, 63-35, in first round||Robert Clardy|
|23.||Fairmont St. (W.Va.)||10-2||136||18||Lost to No. 11 Indiana (Pa.), 62-13, in first round||Jason Woodman|
|24.||Midwestern St. (Texas)||8-3||110||22||Lost to No. 15 Ferris St. (Mich.), 65-34, in first round||Bill Maskill|
|25.||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||9-3||104||24t||Lost to No. 4 Sioux Falls (S.D.), 34-21, in first round||Victor Santa Cruz|
Dropped Out: Florida Tech (23), Colorado Mesa (24t), Assumption (Mass.) (25).
Others Receiving Votes: Colorado Mesa, 89; Florida Tech, 87; Assumption (Mass.), 55; Winston-Salem St. (N.C.), 34; Virginia St., 10; Texas A&M-Kingsville, 4; Edinboro (Pa.), 3; Notre Dame (Ohio), 2; Colorado St.-Pueblo, 1.