2019 Five Year Power Rankings

September 4th, 2019 6:00am

2019 Five Year Power Rankings

2019 D2Football Preseason Power Rankings

One of the most popular topics on the message board every year is a discussion about which conference is best. It spurs debate and many different perspectives. That gave us the motivation to delve into the sort of topics that come up on the board such as best conference, best program, best facilities, etc.

Using those topics as inspiration, we will be compiling list of the best of Division II and updating them yearly.

Brad Corpe joins D2Football.com as a contributor this year has the will to provide his opinion on the best and worst in Division II.

Our first countdown of the year will be a five year power ranking. In addition to his own opinion, these are the factors which helped support Corpe’s list:

1. National Championships
2. Playoff appearances and playoff wins
3. Conference Titles
4. Overall W-L Record
5. Other Requirements:
a. Must be full D2 member for every year.
b. Post season bowl games not included.
c. NFL Draft picks and major individual awards may be used as small tiebreaker between equal teams.

Here are the best teams of the last five years:

 

20. Slippery Rock
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2018) (4-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 2 (2014, 2015)
Overall Record: 47-15
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary What does two conference titles and three playoff appearances earn you? The 20th spot in our 5 year power rankings. The 2018 seven seed from Super Region 1 fell in the Regional championship in a close affair with Notre Dame College.
19. IUP
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017) (4-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 1 (2017)
Overall Record: 46-14
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary After three straight playoff qualifying seasons and a much-hyped beginning to the 2018 season, IUP dropped a couple of heartbreakers to two playoff teams, and a 3rd loss in the final week of the season to fall out of the playoff picture.
 
18. Fort Hays
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 2 (2017, 2018) (0-2 Record)
Conference Titles: 2 (2017, 2018)
Overall Record: 43-14
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 1 (Nathan Shepherd, 2018 Round 3/72 Overall)

Summary Our 18th ranked team comes from the MIAA and receives the 18th spot based on two very strong years the last two seasons. Both playoff appearances ended quickly however, and the Tigers are looking to learn from those tough lessons in 2019.
 
17. Tuskegee
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016) (3-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
Overall Record: 42-16
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary Another team that put together a great three-year run from 2014-2016, The Golden Tigers are looking to get back to their level of consistency that boosted them to the 17th spot on our list.
 
16. Ouachita Baptist
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2017, 2018) (1-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2017, 2018)
Overall Record: 45-13
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary After winning their first 12 games, including the first playoff win in school history, the Tigers hosted, and were knocked out by Ferris State in the regional title game. Ouachita looks to be in the thick of the GAC race with Harding and Southern Arkansas in the 2019 season.
 
15. Ashland
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 2 (2015, 2017) (2-1 Record)
Conference Titles: 2 (2015, 2017)
Overall Record: 44-11
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary The first of three GLIAC teams on our list comes in at #15. This two-time playoff qualifier and two-time GLIAC Champion has been a model of consistency under Al Owens. A very young squad battled through the 2018 season, but returns a lot in 2019, looking to knock off GLIAC mainstays Grand Valley and Ferris State.
 
14. Indianapolis
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2017, 2018) (1-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 4 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Overall Record: 46-12
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary Continuing to benefit from their move from the GLIAC to the GLVC, Indy ranks #14 on this list. A four-time GLVC champion, and three-time playoff qualifier, the Hounds won their first playoff game of this five year span in 2018 vs Fort Hays.
 
13. Colorado School of Mines
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018) (1-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018)
Overall Record: 45-14
Harlon Hill Winners: 1 (Justin Dvorak, 2016)
NFL Players: 0

Summary The home of the 2016 Harlon Hill winner, Colorado School of the Mines has won three RMAC titles and qualified for the playoffs in those same years. The Orediggers were able to knock off perennial power CSU-Pueblo in 2018. Unfortunately for the Orediggers, Pueblo won the second matchup in the first round of the playoffs.
 
12. Midwestern State
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017) (1-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 1 (2017)
Overall Record: 42-12
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary Two Points. That’s the difference between an undefeated season with a fourth playoff appearance and a 10-0 season in 2018 for the Mustangs. Replacing Layton Rabb at quarterback won’t be easy, but a program does not garner the 12th spot in these rankings if it does not show overall consistency.
 
11. Grand Valley
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2018) (4-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 1 (2017)
Overall Record: 48-14
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 1 (Matt Judon, 2016 Round 5/146 Overall)

Summary The all-time winningest program in D2 checks in at #11. The Lakers have qualified for the postseason in three of the five seasons and won the GLIAC in 2017. If you follow D2 Football, you know Lakers are always going to be competing for league and national championships.
 
10. Minnesota Duluth
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018) (2-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 2 (2014, 2018)
Overall Record: 52-9
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary A share of five-straight NSIC titles will help you get the first spot in the top 10 of our power rankings. Duluth has been in the thick of the playoff race each year, narrowly missing a spot in 2015 and 2017, and one could assume that they will be fighting for another spot in the postseason in 2019.
 
9. Shepherd
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2015)
Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017) (6-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017)
Overall Record: 51-8
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary The 2015 National Runners-Up check in at #9. Also a National Semi-Finalist in 2016, the Rams missed the postseason in 2018, but look to bounce back in 2019. You can bet that they are ready to challenge the teams of the PSAC East, where they move this year.
 
8. Harding
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) (5-4 Record)
Conference Titles: 1 (2016)
Overall Record: 49-14
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary They are physical and tough to beat - and they are tough to love to watch if you are big spread offense type of person. Regardless, the Bison have been in the payoffs four of the last five years and made a deep run in 2017, defeating Ferris State in the regional championship on a last second field goal. Their fans will always be left to wonder what would have happened if they were at full strength in the 2017 semifinals vs Texas A&M-Commerce.
 
7. West Georgia
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 0
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) (6-4 Record)
Conference Titles: 1 (2015)
Overall Record: 50-15
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary Typically one of the most talented rosters in the country, the Wolves stop in at #7 on our list. The Gulf South is one of the best conferences there is The 2019 season will be no different, with West Georgia, West Florida, and Valdosta State all seemingly ready to battle it out for the league crown.
 
6. Minnesota State
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2014)
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) (7-4 Record)
Conference Titles: 4 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Overall Record: 58-8
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary How will Nate Gunn follow up a remarkable 2018 season? The Mavericks return a lot from their semifinal team, including a top candidate for the Harlon Hill and enough talent to get over the hump and win it all in 2019.
 
5. CSU-Pueblo
National Championships: 1 (2014)
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2014)
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) (7-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 4 (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Overall Record: 54-11
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary The 2014 National Champions check in at #5 on the list, a playoff qualifier in four of the last five seasons. They have “won” at least a share of the RMAC in each of those five seasons, although the 2015 RMAC title was rescinded due to an NCAA infraction.
 
4. Valdosta State
National Championships: 1 (2018)
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2018)
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018) (7-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
Overall Record: 52-13
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 0

Summary The 2018 champs begin their defense of their title with a new coach at the helm. Gary Goff, a Valdosta Alum, takes over for the 4th ranked program in the last five years, replacing Kerwin Bell. Goff inherits a team that returns almost everyone from their title team, including quarterback and probable Harlon Hill favorite Rogan Wells.
 
3. Texas A&M-Commerce
National Championships: 1 (2017)
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2017)
Playoff Appearances: 4 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) (7-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
Overall Record: 52-13
Harlon Hill Winners: 1 (Luis Perez, 2017)
NFL Players: 0

SummaryYou could flip a coin between the 2017 National Champions and the 4th ranked, 2018 National Champions on this list, but I gave the nod to Commerce because of their three conference championships in a five year period. It will be interesting to see how coach David Bailiff does replacing the legend Colby Carthel.
 
2. Ferris State
National Championships: 0
Title Game Appearances: 1 (2018)
Playoff Appearances: 5 (10-5 Record)
Conference Titles: 3 (2014, 2015, 2018)
Overall Record: 60-8
Harlon Hill Winners: 3 (Jason Vander Lann 2014/2015, Jayru Campbell 2018)
NFL Players: 1 (Zach Sieler, 2018 - Round 7/238 Overall)

Summary
While the Bulldogs might not have overtaken GVSU in terms of a ranking of their total football program, they have overtaken the four-time champions in terms of this five year power ranking. They have made the playoffs the past five seasons and were narrowly defeated in last year's championship game. While churning out Harlon Hill winners they have managed to win three GLIAC championships in that time span.
 
1. Northwest Missouri
National Championships: 2 (2015, 2016)
Title Game Appearances: 2 (2015, 2016)
Playoff Appearances: 5 (9-3 Record)
Conference Titles: 4 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)
Overall Record: 59-8
Harlon Hill Winners: 0
NFL Players: 1 (Brandon Dixon, 2014 - Round 6/195 Overall)

Summary
For anyone paying attention the last five years, there was little doubt what program would earn the top power ranking. Northwest Missouri has become the gold standard in Division II. With two championships in the time period and one of only two teams to make the playoffs every year (the Bearcats have made 15 straight), the only question is how long they can maintain that excellence.