The American Football Coaches Association released its annual preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll for Division II football.
Last season's national champion, Pittsburg State (Kansas) begins 2012 where it ended 2011—in the No. 1 spot. The Gorillas earned 21 out of 30 possible first-place votes, and finished with 720 points.
Minnesota-Duluth was the only other program to receive more than one first-place vote, receiving five to begin the season in the No. 2 spot.
Will a preseason top-10 team win the 2012 Division II Football National Championship?
The other first-place vote-getters were No. 3 Northwest Missouri State, No. 4 Midwestern State (Texas), No. 5 and 2011 runners-up Wayne State (Michigan), and No. 9 Winston-Salem State (North Carolina).
Both No. 7 Grand Valley State (Michigan) and No. 8 Valdosta State (Georgia) begin the season in the top 10 despite finishing 2011 unranked, ending the two longest Top 25 streaks in Division II.
Week 1 will feature three Top-25 vs. Top-25 games. No. 24 West Texas A&M travels to No. 6 Colorado State-Pueblo on August 30, No. 17 Hillsdale (Michigan) visits No. 11 California (Pennsylvania) on August 30, and No. 22 Albany State (Georgia) hosts No. 23 North Greenville (South Carolina) on September 1.
|Rank||School (1st votes)||2011 Rec.||Pts.||2011 Rank*||Season Opener||Head Coach|
|1.||Pittsburg St. (Kan.) (21)||13-1||720||1||Aug. 30 at Northeastern St. (Okla.)||Tim Beck|
|2.||Minnesota-Duluth (5)||11-3||661||6||Aug. 30 at Southwest Minnesota St.||Bob Nielson|
|3.||Northwest Missouri St. (1)||11-3||613||5||Aug. 30 vs. East Central (Okla.)||Adam Dorrel|
|4.||Midwestern St. (Texas) (1)||10-1||582||7||Sept. 8 at Tarleton St. (Texas)||Bill Maskill|
|5.||Wayne St. (Mich.) (1)||12-4||502||2||Sept. 8 at Ashland (Ohio)||Paul Winters|
|6.||Colorado St.-Pueblo||11-1||481||9||Aug. 30 vs. No. 24 West Texas A&M||John Wristen|
|7.||Grand Valley St. (Mich.)||8-3||473||NR||Sept. 1 at Western Oregon||Matt Mitchell|
|8.||Valdosta St. (Ga.)||6-4||415||NR||Sept. 1 at Saginaw Valley St. (Mich.)||David Dean|
|9.||Winston-Salem St. (N.C.) (1)||13-1||386||3||Sept. 1 vs. North Carolina-Pembroke||Connell Maynor|
|10.||Abilene Christian (Texas)||8-3||367||16||Sept. 1 vs. McMurry (Texas)||Ken Collums|
|11.||California (Pa.)||10-3||347||15||Aug. 30 vs. No. 17 Hillsdale (Mich.)||Mike Kellar|
|12.||Kutztown (Pa.)||11-2||329||13||Aug. 30 vs. St. Anselm (N.H.)||Raymond Monica|
|13.||New Haven (Conn.)||11-2||322||8||Sept. 1 vs. Merrimack (Mass.)||Peter Rossomando|
|14.||Delta St. (Miss.)||11-3||290||4||Sept. 1 vs. Fort Valley St. (Ga.)||Jamey Chadwell|
|15.||West Alabama||8-4||274||23||Sept. 1 at Clark Atlanta (Ga.)||Will Hall|
|16.||St. Cloud State (Minn.)||9-3||266||17||Aug. 30 vs. Sioux Falls (S.D.)||Scott Underwood|
|17.||Hillsdale (Mich.)||8-3||228||NR||Aug. 30 at No. 11 California (Pa.)||Keith Otterbein|
|18.||Missouri Western St.||9-3||218||18||Aug. 30 vs. Central Missouri||Jerry Partridge|
|19.||Shepherd (W.Va.)||9-2||199||22||Sept. 1 at Shippensburg (Pa.)||Monte Cater|
|20.||Washburn (Kan.)||10-3||187||11||Aug. 30 vs. Nebraska-Kearney||Craig Schurig|
|21.||Humboldt St. (Calif.)||9-1||183||20||Aug. 30 vs. Colorado Mesa||Rob Smith|
|22.||Albany St. (Ga.)||8-4||149||NR||Sept. 1 vs. No. 23 North Greenville (S.C.)||Mike White|
|23.||North Greenville (S.C.)||11-3||139||12||Sept. 1 at No. 22 Albany St. (Ga.)||Carroll McCray|
|24.||West Texas A&M||8-3||132||25||Aug. 30 at No. 6 Colorado St.-Pueblo||Don Carthel|
|25.||Bloomsburg (Pa.)||9-2||129||21||Aug. 31 at Stonehill (Mass.)||Danny Hale|
*– Ranking in final AFCA Division II Poll of 2011
Others Receiving Votes: Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.), 128; North Alabama, 128; Nebraska-Kearney, 122; Saginaw Valley St. (Mich.), 100; Ouachita Baptist (Ark.), 96; Central Missouri, 72; Indianapolis (Ind.), 70; Mars Hill (N.C.), 57; Indiana (Pa.), 49; North Carolina-Pembroke, 47; Elizabeth City St. (N.C.), 44; Minnesota St.-Mankato, 41; Colorado School of Mines, 40; East Central (Okla.), 33; Texas A&M-Kingsville, 32; Slippery Rock (Pa.), 18; Miles (Ala.), 15; Concord (W.Va.), 9; Tarleton St. (Texas), 9; West Georgia, 9; Morehouse (Ga.), 7; Ashland (Ohio), 6; Michigan Tech, 6; Southern Connecticut St., 6; Central Washington, 4; Henderson St. (Ark.), 3; Assumption (Mass.), 2; West Virginia Wesleyan, 2; Azusa Pacific, 1; Carson-Newman (Tenn.), 1; Harding (Ark.), 1.