The Case for Dordt
Friday, April 9, 2021
- They should be ranked higher. The official NAIA Football FirstDown PlayBook Top 25 Poll has them at #17 in the latest poll. The unofficial NAIAFBALL poll has them at a better position in their latest poll: #12. The people associated with this poll have a clearer and more thorough understanding of the entire NAIA football landscape than the coaches being polled. The coaches have enough to worry about in their own conference and who their next opponent is without having to engage in the national perspective.
- They have a larger body of work. Many of the teams Dordt is fighting a spot with have far fewer games played. Dordt has played 10 games. #10 Marian will have played 6 games and finish at either 5-1 or 4-2. The team they play this weekend—#11 St Francis—will have played just 4 games and finish at either 2-2 or 3-1. #16 Georgetown has played just 6 games and is 5-1.
- They have momentum. Dordt has outscored their opponents 189-0 in their last 13 quarters of play. They have put their dynamic RPO offense on display all year, only getting more and more efficient as they season went on. They have taken care of business especially when they needed to—down the stretch.
- They have demonstrated desire. While many teams sitting in possible or likely positions for the playoff picture have cautiously backed away from official competition in the spring, Dordt has welcomed and eagerly sought out games with any and all competitors—starting from the top. When no other teams accepted the challenge, the Defenders drove 11 hours each way to take on OPSU.
The 12 conference winners get an automatic bid into the playoffs. Here is how that stands right now.
Frontier Conference - #6 College of Idaho, #21 Eastern Oregon, or Carroll College
Great Plains Athletic Conference - #1 Morningside
Heart of America Athletic Conference North - #2 Grand View
Heart of America Athletic Conference South - #8 Baker
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference - #15 Bethel
Mid-South Conference Appalachian - #9 Reinhardt
Mid-South Conference Bluegrass - #3 Lindsey Wilson
Mid-South Conference Sun - #4 Keiser
Mid-States Football Mideast - #5 Concordia (MI)
Mid-States Football Midwest - #13 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)
North Star Athletic Association - #12 Dickinson State
Sooner Athletic Conference - #14 Arizona Christian
That means there's 4 at-large bids. Here are the top teams vying for those spots:
#7 Northwestern (8-1)
#10 Marian (4-1, play St. Francis Saturday)
#11 St Francis (2-1, play Marian Saturday)
#16 Georgetown (5-1)
#17 Dordt (8-2)
#18 Benedictine (7-2, play Hastings Saturday)
#19 Avila (8-1)
#20 Roosevelt (5-1, play (RV) St. Ambrose Saturday)
#21 Eastern Oregon (2-1, play MSU-Northern Saturday)