SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel football team begins the 2018 season receiving votes in the first NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll released by the organization on Monday.
The Crusaders finished the 2017 season ranked No. 25 and shared the Heart South Division Championship after a 4-1 record in conference play. Evangel shared the title with Baker who also was 4-1 in league play and is one of three Heart of America teams ranked in the top 25 at No. 9.
Following Baker is No. 10 Grand View as Benedictine begins the season ranked No. 12. Two-time defending national champion Saint Francis (Ind.) was the unanimous No. 1 selection.
Evangel opens the 2018 college football season against No. 23 Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Thursday, August 23. The Crusaders and SAGU will kick off at Tiger Stadium in Ozark at 6 p.m. in front of a national audience on ESPN3. The game will be one of the first college football games at any level to kick off the 2018 season that Thursday night.
2018 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Preseason (August 6, 2018)
|RANK||PREVIOUS||SCHOOL (1st PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (16)||14-0||366|
|5||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||11-1||310|
|6||6||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||10-2||296|
|10||11||Grand View (Iowa)||9-3||231|
|13||14||Dickinson State (N.D.)||9-2||178|
|20||NR||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||6-5||75|
|25||23||Dakota State (S.D.)||8-3||44|
Dropped from the Top 25: Oklahoma Panhandle State, Evangel (Mo.)
Others Receiving Votes: Montana Tech (44), Evangel (Mo.) (17), Oklahoma Panhandle State (15), St. Francis (Ill.) (12), College of Idaho (10), William Penn (Iowa) (10), Missouri Valley (9), Midland (Neb.) (8), Bluefield (Va.) 3
op 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 1999)
- For the second consecutive season, the Cougars lead the National Rankings after coming off their second National Title in as many years
- Saint Francis is 2-3 All-Time in the National Championship game.
- Arizona Christian and Rocky Mountain (Mont.) are new to the preseason poll. Neither received votes in the post-season edition back on Dec. 19, 2017. While the Phoenix were featured several times a season ago in the ranking, this is the first time since Oct. 3, 2016 that the Battlin' Bears have been featured.
- Carroll (Mont.) owns the most No. 1 rankings with 57, followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (25), Marian (22) and Morningside (20).
- Morningside holds the longest active streak with 125-straight Top 25 mentions.
- 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.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAtheltics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on their favorite team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.
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