SEWARD, Neb. – Hoping to make a return to the national spotlight in 2016, the Concordia football program appeared just outside of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, released on Monday. The Bulldogs last appeared inside the top 25 in October of last year after jumping out to a 5-1 start (ranked No. 23 on Oct. 19, 2015).
In Monday’s poll, Concordia garnered a total of 18 points and was listed second among “others receiving votes.” Three GPAC squads were ranked in the top 25: No. 3 Morningside, No. 9 Doane and No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan. Head coach Vance Winter’s squad had not received any votes this past April in the NAIA’s spring poll. The Bulldogs gained steam thanks to a No. 3 ranking in the GPAC preseason coaches’ poll unveiled at last week’s conference media day.
During the 2013 season, Winter’s squad earned national rankings in six-straight polls on the strength of a 6-0 start. Concordia rose as high as No. 14 that season and finished the year with an overall record of 7-4. The 2013 team broke a rankings drought of more than 10 years for Concordia. During the GPAC era (2000-present), the Bulldogs have garnered a spot in the top 25 on 20 occasions.
Concordia spent nine-straight polls inside the top 25 in 2001 when it went on to share the GPAC title. That season head coach Courtney Meyer’s Bulldogs found themselves ranked as high as sixth before achieving a postseason placement of No. 7.