The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) released its 2010 Preseason Football Top 25 Poll this week. As expected, Lindenwood will enter the year ranked second in the nation.
The Lions received three of a possible 14 first-place votes in the poll and had 328 points. The defending national champion, University of Sioux Falls, had 11 first-place votes and six more points than the Lions. Rounding out the top five are Carroll College, Saint Xavier University, and Morningside College.
Among other HAAC schools, MidAmerica Nazarene University was No. 6, Missouri Valley College was No. 10, Baker University was No. 24, and Benedictine College was receiving votes.
Lindenwood reached the national championship game last year for the first time in school history, falling to powerhouse Sioux Falls 25-22. The Lions were led by an offense which scored 744 points, which ranked in the top 10 for all levels in college football history.
Missouri Valley went 8-3. The Vikings are coming off their third appearance in the Football Championship Series in the last four years. They ranked first in the NAIA in rushing defense (48.9 yapg) and third in total defense (225.5 yapg). Senior quarterback Chris White, who was in the Top 25 nationally in several passing categories, returns this year after going for 2,436 passing yards and 24 touchdowns with a 142.8 passing efficiency.