Grand View, Baker & Benedictine Ranked in 2021 NAIA Preseason Poll
The Heart of America Athletic Conference featured three teams in the 2021 NAIA Coaches' Preseason Top 25 poll announced this week, as Grand View will begin the season ranked No. 5, Baker comes in ranked No. 7 and Benedictine will enter 2021 ranked No. 17.
The Vikings went 7-1 in 2020 and captured the Heart North conference championship and advanced to the NAIA FCS Quarterfinals, falling to the eventual NAIA National Runner-up, Northwestern (Iowa), 27-24.
The Viking defense was stellar in 2020, as they ranked No. 1 in the country in total yards given up per game at 202. They also allowed just 11.5 points per game, ranking second nationally.
Offensively, Grand View ranked No. 3 in the NAIA in scoring per game at 45.5 and ran for 221 yards per game, which came in 11th nationally.
Baker also went 7-1 in 2020 and advanced to the NAIA FCS Quarterfinals, its sixth-straight appearance in the NAIA FCS.
The Wildcats went 6-0 in the regular season and captured its sixth-straight Heart South Championship.
The Baker defense was a force as well in 2020, allowing just 252 yards per game, ranking No. 6 nationally. The Wildcats also averaged 40.3 points per game offensively, ranking 10th in the country.
Benedictine went 8-2 overall in 2020, but 1-0 with new head coach Joel Osborn, as he took over for legendary head coach Larry Wilcox during the spring portion of the 2020 season, a 48-0 victory over Hastings College.
The Raven defense allowed just 64.1 rushing yards per game last season, which was No. 2 in the country and offensively ran for 1,788 yards, ranking No. 12 in the NAIA.
Grand View and Benedictine will match up on September 4 in Atchison Kansas, while the Ravens will travel to Baldwin City, Kansas to face Baker on October 30. Baker and Grand View will face off on September 11 Des Moines, Iowa.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences. Each conference is given one rater for every four schools in the league.
The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 for second-place and so on through the list.
The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low rating) is removed and the team's ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appear on. Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered "receiving votes."
For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.
To view the full Top 25 Preseason poll, please click here.