NAIA Postseason Qualifiers if the Season Ended Today

The NAIA Championship Series has expanded to 20 teams this year. That means we will see a few more teams make it into the postseason while several new teams can make a case for how they were snubbed. Every conference champion, regardless of ranking, will make it to the NAIA postseason. This has long been an argument for some conferences that seem to beat each other up throughout the regular season and end up just outside the ranking needed to make it to postseason play.

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Around the NAIAtion for September 30th

Review, Preview and Picks for 9/30/23

Well, I was shocked last week. No. 2 Grand View defeated Missouri Valley 70-7. Reread that please. Both teams were 3-0 coming into this game and MoVal had me thinking, “hey. . .maybe?” Needless to say Grand View wowed a lot of people this weekend with this statement victory on the road.

GV QB Jackson Waring was a perfect 12-12 for 251 yards and three TD passes to lead the Vikings. RBs Beau Flander and Dalten Van Pelt each ran for 70+ yards in the victory. Perhaps more impressive was the Grand View defense who limited MoVal to 178 total yards while forcing four INTs. I’ve said it from the start of the year, Grand View has something to prove this year and each week it seems like this team takes another step forward. Next week Grand View hosts Central Methodist. . .good luck Eagles.

Speaking of turnovers, they derailed No. 12 Georgetown this week against Reinhardt. The Tigers had four INTs and a fumble in their road loss to Reinhardt. Also hidden in the stats were 282 total yards for the Tigers. With 3:59 left in the 3rd, Braylon Jones of RU had 80 yd fumble recovery to turn the tide in this game.

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NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 for September 25th

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Northwestern (Iowa), the reigning National Champions, once again have a firm grasp on all 18 first-place votes in the newest NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Rating presented by FirstDown PlayBook. The next five teams remain unchanged as Grand View (Iowa), Morningside (Iowa), Indiana Wesleyan, Marian (Ind.) and Bethel (Tenn.) are second through sixth, respectively.

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Weekend NAIA Football Recap: Big Wins and Surprises

No. 2 Grand View Makes a Statement:
In a highly anticipated clash, No. 2 Grand View took on Missouri Valley, both teams entering the game with unblemished 3-0 records. The matchup had fans wondering if Missouri Valley could pull off an upset, but Grand View left no room for doubt. They delivered a jaw-dropping performance on the road, routing Missouri Valley 70-7. Grand View’s QB Jackson Waring was a perfect 12-12 for 251 yards, adding three TD passes to lead the way. Running backs Beau Flander and Dalten Van Pelt each contributed with over 70 rushing yards. What truly stood out was Grand View’s defense, limiting Missouri Valley to a mere 178 total yards while forcing four interceptions. Grand View continues to prove their mettle each week, with an eye on their next challenge against Central Methodist.

No. 1 Northwestern (Iowa) Soars:
No. 1 Northwestern (Iowa) dominated their game against Mount Mary, securing a resounding 42-0 victory. Jalyn Gramstad, a strong contender for NAIA Player of the Year, had an exceptional performance. He threw for 397 yards, rushed for an additional 22, and recorded a total of five touchdowns (four through the air and one on the ground).

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Around the NAIAtion Week 4: Chip’s Picks, Recaps and What to Expect for September 23rd.

The best game in the NAIA last week will spawn the best game in the NAIA this week. We’re moving into the season of the cream rising to the top and the top teams separating themselves from the pack.

Last weekend I had my eyes on RV Missouri Valley at No. 25 Graceland. This game had all the makings of an early season test for both squads. MoVal prevailed 49-42 by going on an 8 play, 90 yard drive in the final minutes of the game to secure the victory with 15 seconds left. MoVal jumped out to a 14-0 lead and stayed ahead of the Yellow Jackets until the 3:34 mark of the 4th quarter when Graceland knotted things at 42. Even though the Vikings gave up 42 points, they limited Graceland’s offense to 281 yards of total offense. MoVal RB Jeremiah Bryant carried the ball 23 times for 126 yards and four touchdowns for the Vikes while the Yellow Jackets were unable to move the ball on the ground, finishing with -11 yards rushing. MoVal WR Khaleel Dampier had 8 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns to add to the Vikings offense. The games don’t get any smaller for the Vikings this week as they take on one of the best in the NAIA, No. 2 Grand View. Both squads are undefeated with something to prove.

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Around the NAIAtion Week 3: Chip’s Picks, Recaps and Why This Week is Tough.

I’m a coward. That’s the best way to describe it. If anyone looked at my predictions or every bet I’ve ever put on college football they could probably say one of two things and be accurate.

He’s a coward.

He’s an idiot.

Last week I predicted that Benedictine at Graceland would be one of the biggest games of the week in the NAIA. I also went so far as to say “this game has upset written all over it.” But what did I do? Not pick the upset and look like a coward.

Graceland is not playing like cowards. They knocked off previous NAIA Top 10 Benedictine 37-35 in Lamoni, Iowa Saturday night. The Yellowjackets are now 3-0 behind one of the most high powered offenses in the NAIA. GU trailed 35-28 with 7:45 remaining before punching in another touchdown and kicking a game winning FG with 13 seconds left in the game. What’s interesting is GU kicker Alex Tuyo had a chance to tie the game at 35 when the XP failed and Benedictine retained the lead. On the ensuring drive, Benedictine couldn’t move the ball and was forced to punt. Graceland took over at their own 14 with 2:10 left to play and went 59 yards to set up the game winning kick.

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NAIA Football: Around the NAIAtion Week 2

Football is HERE! Everyone is playing, teams are getting upset and we’ve already got questions on what’s going to happen this year. We’ve finally gotten a look at all of the NAIA and we can start making some estimations on what to see this coming season. We’ve also seen our first baseball/football score of the season with William Penn beating Missouri Baptist, 6-2!

As I do every week, let’s take a look at what happened last weekend and give some predictions for what’s to come this week.

No. 1 Northwestern (Iowa) defeated GPAC conference foe Concordia, 48-35. NWC led 21-7 at the half before Concordia made it interesting by putting up 21 points in the 3rd quarter. Northwestern still led 35-28 going into the fourth before pulling out the victory. NWC QB Jalyn Gramstad was 20-25 for 227 yards and three scores through the air while adding 91 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Konner McQuillan pounded out 252 yards on the ground on 19 carries for two scores as well. Michael Story had 11 catches for 159 yards for the Red Raiders. Concordia QB DJ McGarvie was 33-53 for 413 yards and three scores. I’m gonna be honest, the No. 1 team in the country played this game much closer than I thought they would.

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NAIA Football: Around the NAIAtion Week 1

Aug 31st and Sept 2nd Game Predictions

While it wasn’t a full slate a of games it was still enough to quench your long overdue NAIA football thirst as Week 0 provided some nice games to check out. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now and I still don’t understand why we insist on calling it Week 0 instead of Week 1. Start counting to 10 in your head right now. . .did you start 1, 2, 3 or 0, 1, 2? Sorry, I guess at this point I’m just an old guy yelling at clouds.

Each week I plan on providing at least one article looking at NAIA football as whole. AKA an “Around the Nation” blog that gives you a quick overview of what to expect that week. In our case, it’s “Around the NAIAtion.”

See what I did there? Clever? Not at all. Annoying to see in print? Absolutely.

WEEK 0 Review and Highlights:
Probably the most interesting win of the weekend was one not on anyone’s national radar. Graceland defeated Doane 42-17. Neither team is seen as a national power at this point but Graceland is casting a slight “blip” on the far outside. Like most who covered NAIA football for years, I saw the hiring of Pat Ross at Graceland and thought two things; No. 1 Pat wouldn’t take a job he didn’t think he could win at. No. 2 If the administration commits to the program the Yellow Jackets could be scary.

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NAIA Football Week 0 Recap

NAIA Week 0 is in the book and man it feels good to have college football back. Sure it wasn’t a full slate of games but that doesn’t mean it didn’t lack drama. It also doesn’t mean there weren’t some real shitty games. Here’s the high level “what you need to care about” from this weekend’s slate

Morningside defeats Benedictine, 20-17: We knew there would be questions at the QB position for both teams coming into this game. We also knew these two teams could be considered for national title implications later in the season. In the end, the result was what I expected but the manner of the result was not. Morningside turned the ball over 5 times in a road game. That almost never results in a victory. Is it a testament to this team’s ability to never say die? Or did they just get lucky and Benedictine couldn’t capitalize? Too early to tell. QB Lennx Brown of Morningside had 246 total yards in this game and scored from 12 yards out to put the Mustangs up for good.

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The 2023 Version of NAIA Football Arrives. Chip’s Picks for Week 1. (Or is it Week 0? I dunno.)

#7 Benedictine College hosts #4 Morningside College in the biggest NAIA game of the week. (I stole this photo from BC’s website. Thanks Josh)

NAIA FOOTBALL IS HERE! Thursday, August 24th will be the 124th meeting for the Paint Bucket in Valley City, N.D as the University of Jamestown Jimmies travel to Valley City State University to kickoff the 2023 NAIA season.

Honestly, I can’t think of a better game to represent the start of the season. We’ve got a storied rivalry, playing for a traveling trophy, on a Thursday night when no one else is playing college football. Sure, there are some scrimmages and a few more games on the slate this Saturday. . .but this game truly represents what NAIA football is all about. VCSU HC Dennis McCulloch is entering his 30th year with VCSU while UJ’s Brian Mistro begins his 5th season. Mistro is an NAIA alum, playing for UJ in the mid 2000’s under Tom Dosch when the Jimmies were making the playoffs.

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