Jul 09, 2020 3:43 PM

Bearcats come in at no. 9 in College Football America Yearbook preseason Top 30

Posted Jul 09, 2020 3:43 PM

The Northwest Missouri State University Bearcat football team has been tabbed No. 9 in the 2020 College Football America Yearbook Division II preseason top 30.

Northwest returns 16 starters and 59 letterwinners from a season ago. The Bearcats are coming off a 12-2 mark, which saw the program reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 NCAA Division II playoffs.

Northwest has put together an MIAA-record 25 straight winning seasons dating back to the 1995 season. Northwest has competed in the NCAA Div. II playoffs 24 times overall, including an NCAA-record 16 consecutive appearances. Northwest has captured six NCAA Div. II national championships – the most national titles by any Division II program. Northwest won national championships in 1998, 1999, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Bearcat have played in the NCAA Div. II national championship game 10 times in the last 22 years. Northwest played for the crown in 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The Bearcats have claimed 30 MIAA titles overall, including winning at least a share of six of the last seven league crowns.

Fourth-year head coach Rich Wright (31-8 overall) joined elite company with H.F. Lawrence and Mel Tjeerdsma as the only head coaches in Northwest history to increase their win totals in each of their first three seasons. Wright guided Northwest to nine wins in 2017, 10 wins in 2018 and the Bearcats tallied 12 victories in 2019. H.F. Lawrence went from three wins in 1923 to six wins in 1924 to seven wins in 1925. Mel Tjeerdsma had zero wins in 1994 before upping his win total to six in 1995. Tjeerdsma then tallied 11 wins in 1996.

Minnesota State, which fell to West Florida in the national championship game, is No. 1 in the 2020 College Football America Yearbook Division II preseason Top 30. The Mavericks' only loss last season came to the Argonauts, as they fell, 48-40. Minnesota State, coached by Todd Hoffner, returns as the likely favorite in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

West Florida, which last season won its first national championship in just its fourth season as a varsity program, is No. 2. Valdosta State, Ferris State and Slippery Rock round out the Top 5. Valdosta State won the 2018 title, while Ferris State and Slippery Rock reached the national semifinals in 2019.

Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 6 Lenoir-Rhyne, No. 7 Notre Dame (OH), No. 8 Colorado Mines, No. 9 Northwest Missouri State and No. 10 Texas A&M-Commerce.

2020 College Football America Division II Preseason Top 30

1. Minnesota State

2. West Florida

3. Valdosta State

4. Ferris State

5. Slippery Rock

6. Lenoir-Rhyne

7. Notre Dame (OH)

8. Colorado Mines

9. Northwest Missouri State

10. Texas A&M-Commerce

11. CSU-Pueblo

12. Ouachita Baptist

13. Central Missouri

14. Indianapolis

15. Shepherd

16. Kutztown

17. Harding

18. Bowie State

19. Wingate

20. Indiana (PA)

21. Truman State

22. Henderson State

23. Sioux Falls

24. Missouri Western

25. Carson-Newman

26. West Chester

27. Lindenwood

28. Tiffin

29. Augustana (SD)

30. Miles

--- Northwest Athletics ---