Bulldogs move into top 20 in final regular-season coaches' poll

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 14, 2016 in Football

NAIA coaches’ top 25 poll

SEWARD, Neb. – After capping the 2016 season with a come-from-behind 31-28 win over Hastings, the Concordia University football team moved up three spots in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released on Sunday. Concordia landed at No. 18 after holding steady at No. 21 the previous three weeks.

One more poll will be released this season after the NAIA Football Championship Series concludes. The Bulldogs will almost assuredly be inside the top 25 when the postseason rating is unveiled on Dec. 20. Concordia has not finished a season with a national ranking since the co-GPAC championship 2001 squad checked in at No. 7 in that season’s final poll.

Head coach Vance Winter’s squad has been a regular in the national poll this season, garnering rankings in eight of the 11 top-25 polls released in 2016. The Bulldogs vaulted to 16th in the ranking after beginning this season at 3-0.

The highest ranking achieved during Winter’s eight-year tenure was 14th following a 6-0 start to the 2013 season. Concordia has found itself ranked in the national poll 16 times during Winter’s reign. The year prior to Winter’s promotion to head coach, the Bulldogs won just one game.

The 2016 Bulldogs polished off an undefeated home season for the first time since 2000. Concordia toppled University of Saint Mary (Kan.), Northwestern, Briar Cliff, No. 22 Midland and Hastings this season inside Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs also won road games over Ottawa University (Kan.) and Dordt.

2016 Concordia rankings
Aug. 8 – RV
Sept. 12 – 20th
Sept. 19 – 16th
Sept. 26 – 21st
Oct. 3 – RV
Oct. 10 – 24th
Oct. 17 – NR
Oct. 24 – 21st
Oct. 31 – 21st
Nov. 7 – 21st
Nov. 13 – 18th