Top 25 Lower Division Rankings

August 30, 1998

'97 '97 Returning
Division I-AA Record Rank* Starters

1 McNeese State 13-2 6 14
Former LSU star running back Cecil (the Diesel) Collins adds
fuel to high-octane Cowboys offense

2 Villanova 12-1 1 15
Quarterback Chris Boden threw for 3,079 yards and I-AA-best 36
touchdowns last season

3 Georgia Southern 10-3 8 15
Junior QB Greg Hill leads option attack that averaged 280.6
rushing yards per game in 1997

4 Montana 8-4 11 16
Recovered from knee injury, QB Brian Ah Yat should approach '96
numbers (3,615 yards, 42 TDs)

5 Delaware 12-2 3 12
Fightin' Blue Hens will have wing T running on all cylinders but
must replace three star linebackers

6 Youngstown State 13-2 9 12
RBs Jake Andreadis and Adrian Brown combined for 1,365 yards and
24 TDs for 1997's I-AA champs

7 Hampton 10-2 7 15
Four starters return from offensive line that paved the way for
223.6 rushing yards per game in '97

8 Eastern Kentucky 8-4 15 14
Ex-UNLV QB Jon Denton joins WR Rondel Menendez (1,073 yards in
'97) to form lethal aerial combo

9 Southern 1-1 12 14
Running back Steve Wofford (1,274 yards) was SWAC offensive
player of the year in 1997

10 Northern Iowa 7-4 -- 15
Can All-America LB Matt Pedersen turn around a defense that gave
up 30.8 points a game in '97?

11 William & Mary 7-4 -- 10
QB Mike Cook is 14-3 as a starter and has thrown at least one TD
pass in each of his career starts

12 Northwestern State 8-4 17 14
Demon schedule features Missouri, McNeese State, Troy State and
Stephen F. Austin

13 Western Illinois 11-2 2 11
Aaron Stecker (1,957 yards and 25 touchdowns last season) is the
best running back in I-AA

14 Hofstra 9-3 14 15
Quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi completed 70.6% of his passes for
3,554 yards and 27 TDs in '97

15 Troy State 5-6 -- 16
Four returning starters, including 6'6", 300-pound tackle Cleve
Roberts, anchor strong O-line

16 Western Kentucky 10-2 5 16
QB Willie Taggart leads a rushing attack that was I-AA's best in
'97 (366.0 yards per game)

17 Eastern Washington 12-2 4 9
RB Mike MacKenzie will keep Eagles offense (a I-AA-best 505.6
yards per game last year) rolling

18 Stephen F. Austin 8-3 18 10
Top six rushers return for Lumberjacks, who must replace their
entire defensive line

19 East Tennessee State 7-4 -- 14
Roadkill? Buccaneers face games at Miami, Mississippi State and
Georgia Southern

20 Murray State 7-4 -- 14
Only three starters lost from defense that was second in I-AA
last year (237.5 yards per game)

21 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 8-3 -- 16
Six-foot-six, 261-pound Slammin' Sam Simmons led SWAC in sacks
with 10 1/2 last season

22 South Carolina State 9-3 19 17
Strong safety Jermaine Derricott had a Mid-Eastern Athletic
Conference-best 103 tackles in '97

23 Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 10-1 16 11
Two 1,000-yard rushers--Antonio Warren (1,151) and Craig Young
(1,038)--are back for the Mustangs

24 Dayton 9-1 23 8
Flyers have the highest winning percentage (.899) of any college
football team in the past 10 years

25 Colgate 7-5 25 13
Junior QB Ryan Vena was Patriot League player of the year in
each of his first two seasons

*In the Sports Network Division I-AA top 25 (at end of regular
season)

'97 '97 Returning
Division II Record Rank* Starters

1 Northern Colorado 13-2 11 17
Two-time defending national champ relies on 6'6", 270-pound DE
Aaron Smith: 15 1/2 sacks in '97

2 Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 11-1 1 16
Eagles are 23-3 over the last two years and have won 21
consecutive regular-season home games

3 New Haven 12-2 2 15
Demanding schedule includes I-AA foes Western Kentucky,
Youngstown State and Robert Morris

4 Pittsburg State (Kans.) 9-2 8 12
Gorillas have won more games in the past 10 years (109) than any
other college football team

5 Nebraska-Omaha 8-3 -- 19
Ed Thompson is first D-II QB to break 1,000-yard mark in both
rushing and passing yards in a season

6 Texas A&M-Kingsville 9-2 4 9
RB John Humphrey should help Javelinas make seventh straight
playoff appearance

7 Northwest Missouri St. 12-1 3 16
Bearcats will follow All-America quarterback Chris Greisen
(2,456 yards, 23 touchdown passes)

8 North Alabama 9-3 13 14
Tailback Greg Manson (1,189 yards, 15 touchdowns) averaged 6.7
yards per carry last fall

9 UC Davis 9-5 14 16
QB Kevin Daft (2,497 passing yards in '97) should lead Aggies to
29th consecutive winning season

10 Slippery Rock (Pa.) 11-2 7 17
Rockets have firepower with QB Randy McKavish and RBs Rick
Magulick and Stan Kennedy

11 Western State (Colo.) 9-3 9 15
QB Eric Hannah (2,672 passing yards, 21 TDs) is back along with
nine other offensive starters

12 Indiana (Pa.) 5-5 -- 19
Former Notre Dame QB Paul Failla, 25, returns to gridiron after
3 1/2-year minor league baseball stint

13 Grand Valley State (Mich.) 9-2 -- 16
Jeff Fox's career numbers: 61.2 pass completion percentage,
4,937 yards, 32 touchdowns

14 North Dakota State 9-3 16 13
The defense, which had four shutouts and allowed 13.6 points per
game, picks up where it left off

15 Bloomsburg (Pa.) 8-2 -- 11
Senior Ed Carothers (7.1-yard average on 18 carries) replaces
D-II player of the year Irv Sigler

16 Chadron State (Neb.) 8-3 -- 20
Senior LB Kevin Homer returns after making 156 tackles in '97,
giving him 386 for his career

17 Ashland (Ohio) 9-2 12 14
RB Matt Otero (103 yards per game) more than tripled his carries
over the final five games

18 Albany State (Ga.) 11-1 5 14
Defense was first in the nation in scoring (7.3 ppg), third in
total defense (201.3 yards per game)

19 North Dakota 8-2 -- 15
Hog heaven: Fighting Sioux offensive line averages 6'5", 302
pounds

20 Angelo State (Texas) 10-2 6 8
Rams are rebuilding, but they should notch their 16th
consecutive winning season

21 New Mexico Highlands 8-3 -- 10
D-II's second-ranked offense last season (486.2 yards per game)
must replace seven starters

22 Catawba (N.C.) 8-3 -- 14
Defense could be better than 1997 unit, which gave up just 12.8
points, 232.9 yards per game

23 Emporia State (Kans.) 7-4 -- 18
Hornets' senior RB Brian Shay has carried for 4,693 yards, 52
touchdowns in his career

24 Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) 9-2 -- 19
QB Jeff Klopfand RB Tim Neelands combined for 2,241 rushing
yards, 32 TDs in '97

25 Winona State (Minn.) 9-2 -- 16
All-America safety Jamey Hutchinson led the nation in
interceptions last fall with 11

*In the NCAA Division II top 16 (at end of regular season)

'97 '97 Returning
Division III Record Rank* Starters

1 Simpson (Iowa) 12-1 3 16
Fullback Guy Leman is centerpiece of Storm offense that averaged
division-best 565.3 yards in '97

2 Mount Union (Ohio) 14-0 1 10
Purple Raiders, last year's D-III champs, have college
football's longest winning streak (28 games)

3 Lycoming (Pa.) 12-1 4 18
Quarterback Jason Marraccini is threat in the air (13 TD passes)
and on the ground (seven TD runs)

4 Trinity (Texas) 10-1 10 15
Tigers have had school-record five straight winning seasons and
are 35-6 over the past four years

5 John Carroll (Ohio) 10-2 7 14
Blue Streaks seek to bounce back from 59-7 shellacking by league
rival Mt. Union in last year's playoffs

6 College of New Jersey 9-3 18 12
Rugged defensive end Tom Ruggia had 19 sacks in '97, tops in the
New Jersey Athletic Conference

7 College of Wooster (Ohio) 9-1 11 18
Scots coming off best finish since 1923; wideout Brandon Good
has caught a pass in 30 straight games

8 Ohio Northern 8-2 23 14
QB Joe Zarlinga is catalyst of an offense that averaged 481.8
yards per game in 1997

9 Mississippi College 8-2 22 13
Defensive back Michael Meurrier and end Bryant Shaw lead Choctaw
D with eight returning starters

10 Wisconsin-La Crosse 7-2 -- 11
All-America safety Mike Scheuer (seven interceptions, 75 tackles
in'97) is heart of experienced D

11 Western Maryland 10-1 15 19
Nine starters are back from Green Terror defense that held
opponents to 7.3 points per game last fall

12 Allegheny (Pa.) 9-2 9 16
Untested trio (Tedd Gozur, Luke Kuffer, Scott Neill) vies to
replace All-America QB Kyle Adamson

13 Rowan (N.J.) 11-1 2 13
Profs are a perennial power (69-15-1 since 1991) but must
replace their entire offensive backfield

14 Catholic (Washington, D.C.)10-1 6 15
Running back Andrew Notarfrancesco (1,307 yards, 21 touchdowns
last season) leads Cardinals

15 Widener (Pa.) 7-3 -- 21
RB Leon Payne (1,028 yards in '97) will carry the offensive load
with the graduation of QB Brian Greene

16 Wisconsin-Whitewater 9-1 5 13
Senior QB Ty Grovesteen set NCAA record with 25 straight
completions over three games last year

17 Albright (Pa.) 9-1 19 7
WR Eric Nemec set Middle Atlantic Conference record for
receiving yards per game (127.4) in '97

18 St. John's (Minn.) 6-4 -- 13
Johnnies are 74-14-2 in the 1990s with five Minnesota
Intercollegiate Athletic championships

19 Augsburg (Minn.) 10-2 14 15
Scott Hvistendahl and Tim Hamer are one of D-III's top receiving
duos, but QB Paul Tetzloff is untested

20 Central (Iowa) 8-2 8 13
Under 28-year-old coach Rich Kacmarynski, the Dutch shoot for
38th consecutive winning season

21 Hanover (Ind.) 10-1 24 12
Wideouts Tarrik Wilson and Andy Mitchel combined for 122
catches, 1,616 yards and 12 TDs in 1997

22 Williams (Mass.) 7-1 -- 12
Ephs, with 10 straight winning seasons, are led by big-play WR
Matt Sigrsit (39 catches, 639 yards)

23 Buffalo State 8-2 12 15
Bengals are 14-0 in regular-season home games over the past
three seasons

24 Dickinson (Pa.) 7-3 -- 13
Red Devils option attack remains strong with RBs Tommy Chung,
Ben Catanese and Craig Sutyak

25 Cortland State (N.Y.) 8-3 -- 8
Running back Omar Darling rushed for 993 yards and a
school-record 16 touchdowns in 1997

*In Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette Division III
top 25 (at end of regular season)

COLOR ILLUSTRATION [Montage of runner being tackled, defender and receiver, and lineman]TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PATRICK MURPHY-RACEY (2) [Runner being tackled; defender and receiver] COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER [Football lineman]

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