BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Star Athletic Association football head coaches had selected Dickinson State (N.D.) as the unanimous favorite to win the league title for the seventh consecutive year; the conference preseason poll was announced Monday by the conference office. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the preseason poll.
Last season, Dickinson State won their sixth straight North Star football conference title by going undefeated 9-0 record. The Blue Hawks collected six first-place votes and 36 points. DiSU qualified for the NAIA Football Championships Series (FCS), falling to eventual national runner-up Northwestern (Iowa) in the opening round.
Dickinson State was ranked No. 11 in the final NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 national poll last spring.
In the poll, Valley City State (N.D.) picked up its final first-place vote, recording 31 points. The Vikings received recognition in the final NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 national poll after going 5-2 record in the league.
Waldorf (Iowa) was third with 25 points, followed by Dakota State (S.D.) fourth with 22 points. Mayville State (N.D.) finished fifth with 14 points, while Presentation (S.D.) was sixth with 11 points.
Iowa Wesleyan, located in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, joins the North Star Athletic Association as an associate member in the football conference. The Tigers placed seventh in the coaches preseason poll with eight points.
To earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Football Playoffs, a team needs to be in the ‘Top 20′ in the national poll and win the conference title. The NAIA FCS playoffs are set for Nov. 20 with the opening round games, followed by the quarterfinals round on Nov. 27 and the semifinals round on Dec. 4. The NAIA FCS championship game is set for Dec. 18, with the location to be announced later.
The North Star football season gets underway on Sept. 18 with Waldorf visiting Valley City State, Dickinson State traveling to Mayville State, and Dakota State hosting Presentation. Each team is scheduled to play a total of eight league games, while Iowa Wesleyan is scheduled to play a total of six NSAA conference contests.
IWU is set to make their North Star Athletic Association debut at home versus Valley City State on Sept. 25.
Below are the complete results of the 2020 NSAA Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll:
|2021 North Star Athletic Association Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll|
|Rank||The school (1st place votes in parenthesis)||Points|
|1||Dickinson State (N.D.) (6)||36|
|2||Valley City State (N.D.) (1)||31|
|4||Dakota State (S.D.)||22|
|5||Mayville State (N.D.)||14|