The Northwest Missouri State University Bearcat football team has been tabbed No. 9 in the 2020 College Football America Yearbook Division II preseason top 30. Northwest returns 16 starters and 59 letterwinners from a season ago. The Bearcats are coming off a 12-2 mark, which saw the program reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 NCAA Division II playoffs.

Northwest has put together an MIAA-record 25 straight winning seasons dating back to the 1995 season. Northwest has competed in the NCAA Div. II playoffs 24 times overall, including an NCAA-record 16 consecutive appearances. Northwest has captured six NCAA Div. II national championships – the most national titles by any Division II program. Northwest won national championships in 1998, 1999, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Bearcat have played in the NCAA Div. II national championship game 10 times in the last 22 years. Northwest played for the crown in 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Central Missouri Mules Football came in ranked 13th in the nation in their top-30 poll. The Mules went 11-2 last year advancing to the Division II Playoffs. They won their 13th MIAA Championship in team history and the first since 2003. For the fourth time in school history, the Mules won 10 or more games in a single-season. They hosted the first round of the NCAA Playoffs, a 37-27 win over Indianapolis.