The Best Football Team You've Never Heard of

Samantha Cooke@sportycookieCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2008

Everyone talks about Division I Football, the Bowl Championship Series, College GameDay, and the Michigans and Ohio States of Division I Football.  Many people don't even acknowledge any other division besides DI-A.

What most people don't know is that Division II holds a treasure of a school.  They have a school with a winning percentage that only trails Michigan, Notre Dame, and Georgia Southern.  This school has four National Championships in the past six seasons.  They also hold the NCAA Division II record for longest consecutive winning streak at 39 games.

Do you know what school this is?  I'll give you some clues.  A former coach of this school currently coaches a DI-A school.  Since 2000, this school has a winning percentage of .907.  The school is located in Allendale, Michigan.

Give up?  It's Grand Valley State University, and they are currently the most successful Division II program in college football.  The former coach, Brian Kelly, currently coaches at the University of Cincinnati.

It's easy to argue that their success comes from playing in Division II, and that if they played in Division I, they would get killed.  Yes, with their current team, they probably would. 

Division I football coaches can offer up to 85 scholarships for their team.  Division II can only offer 36 total scholarships, so they usually split scholarships, and most teammates do not receive full rides.  This hurts the recruiting process.  Why would someone play DII ball when they can get a full scholarship from a DI-AA or DI-A school? 

The talent at Division II schools does not measure up to the talent at Division I schools.  DII schools also do not have the proper equipment and weight programs to bulk up their athletes like a DI school can.

That being said, Grand Valley's success is impressive.  They have the highest winning percentage with .947 since 2001, surpassing teams such as USC, Texas, and Ohio State. 

They have numerous All-Americans, a runner-up to the Harlon Hill Trophy (given to the DII college football player of the year), a two-time Gene Upshaw Award Winner (given to the DII top defensive lineman), and several coaching accolades.

Grand Valley State University won football National Championships in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006.  Unlike Division I, GVSU has to play several teams en route to the National Title game during the playoffs. 

This year, the Lakers are currently ranked number one.  They have compiled a 7-0 record and outscored opponents 292-60.  They are led by a senior class that has an overall record of 47-1.  They also have a strong junior class, led by quarterback Brad Iciek and linebacker Gary Anderson, and a strong sophomore class led by running back James Berezik and D-Lineman Danny Richard.

Look for the Lakers in the upcoming weeks.  They host Ashland this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7 pm.  Then they go on the road to Northern Michigan and Wayne State.  Depending on their ranking, they may have a playoff game starting on Nov. 15 or get a bye and play the following week.

The Lakers are one of nine undefeated teams in the Top 25.  Watch for the Lakers to contend for the National Title again this season.

Whether you want to admit it or not, this team is currently the most impressive team in the country.  They are doing what no one else at any level has done in the past decade.  This is the greatest current college football team, and most of the country has no idea that they exist. 

Everyone needs to take a step back from the controversy and unfair rankings and National Championships in Division I Football and watch Grand Valley play one game.  You will see a team with speed both on offense and defense, a coach with passion, and a whole group of guys who play for the love of the game and not the scholarships they receive. 

Grand Valley State University Lakers: the greatest football team you have never heard of.