Butler football enjoys its highest ranking since Sept. 12, 2016 as the Grizzlies were ranked third in the opening NJCAA regular season football poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon.
The ranking is the highest since Butler was ranked #2 after opening the 2016 season with two wins.
The Grizzlies (2-0 overall) had the biggest jump in the poll, having moved up seven spots from 10th after recording two impressive wins in consecutive weeks over NJCAA preseason Top 15 teams to open the season. Butler routed #14 Iowa Central 42-10 to begin the 2019 campaign, then dismantled #6 Snow, Utah, by a 36-17 score last Saturday.
Butler received 285 votes and garnered five of the 16 first-place votes, while Jayhawk Conference preseason favorite Hutchinson (2-0) moved into the top spot and had 303 total votes and seven first-place votes. The Blue Dragons, who were ranked fifth in the preseason poll, were the highest-ranked preseason team to not suffer a loss after the first two weeks of the season.
Following Hutch was Kilgore, Texas, (2-0) who also received 303 votes, but had just three first-place votes. Rounding out the top five was Northwest Mississippi (1-0 and East Mississippi (0-1).
In addition to wins over preseason ranked opponents, Butler's ranking was helped by having five of the top six teams in the preseason poll suffering at least one loss in the first two weeks - including preseason favorite and defending NJCAA champion East Mississippi, who lost its season opener 24-16 at Holmes, Miss. Butler's victims helped out as well, as Snow defeated #3 Garden City 30-27 in the Aug. 24 opener, while Iowa Central edged #2 Iowa Western 28-26 on Saturday.
The KJCCC was well represented in the first regular season poll, with Garden City (1-1) remaining in the top 10 after its season-opening loss to Snow. The Broncbusters, who was last year's conference champion and NJCAA runner-up, fell seven spots to 10th. Fort Scott (2-0) moved into the poll at 20th, while Highland and Independence received votes.
After two non-conference wins, the Grizzlies will open Jayhawk Conference play against Highland (1-1 overall, 0-1 conference) in a 7:00 p.m. home contest Saturday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. The Scotties are coming off a 21-0 home win over Ellsworth, Iowa, on Saturday. Highland was ranked 16th in the preseason poll but did not receive enough votes to be ranked in the first regular season poll.
|2019 NJCAA TOP 20 FOOTBALL POLL - WEEK 1|
|Sept. 3, 2019|
|2.||Kilgore, Texas (3)||2-0||303||6|
|6.||Mississippi Gulf Coast (1)||1-0||206||12|
|11.||Northeastern Oklahoma A&M||1-0||163||13|
|15.||Monroe College, N.Y.||1-0||83||15|
|16.||Trinity Valley, Texas||1-0||80||20|
Dropped out: Highland (16), Navarro, Texas (18), Georgia Military (19).
Other schools receiving votes: Coahoma, Miss. (1-0), 39.0; Tyler, Texas (1-1), 31.0; Georgia Military (1-1), 24.0; ASA Brooklyn, N.Y. (1-0), 18.0; Pearl River, Miss. (1-0), 10.0; Highland (1-1), 6.0; Mesabi Range, Minn. (2-0), 5.0; Itasca, Minn. (2-0), 4.0; Independence (1-1), 3.0; Northeast Mississippi (1-0), 3.0; ASA Miami, Fla. (1-0), 1.0.