JUCOWeekly’s Football Final Four - and why?

JUCOWeekly’s Football Final Four - and why?

by: Mike Frazer | JUCOWeekly

 

Throughout the 2021 season, JUCOWeekly has been posting a National DI top 20 football poll.  The rankings have been based on the following:

  • Team wins 
  • Strength of schedule 
  • Strength of conference 

As we await the NJCAA's announcment of the top four teams that have qualified for the NJCAA Division I National Championship series, I am listing my choice of the top four teams that I think have earned their way in, and should receive bids into the series.  My choices are based on the same criteria as listed above.  

And here they are:

No. 1 seed - New Mexico Military Institute 

No. 2 seed - Iowa Western     

No. 3 seed - Northwest (MS)  

No. 4 seed - Hutchinson (KS) 

 

No. 1 seed –  New Mexico Military Institute (10-1)

The Broncos finish the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country in the final JUCOWeekly top 20 Poll. NMMI has been ranked for 13 consecutive weeks dating back to the preseason. They cracked the top four in the JUCOWeekly poll on Nov 3 and never left, and instead, ascended to the No. 1 spot. The Broncos are battle tested and remain a strong contender for the national title.

The Bronco's Resume':

Wins/Overall Record: Strong

Strength of Schedule: Strong

Strength of Conference: Strong

Quality Wins:

• Road win at nationally ranked Navarro TX

• Win against nationally ranked Kilgore TX

• Win against nationally ranked Tyler TX

• Win against nationally ranked Trinity Valley TX

• Two post season wins in November vs Blinn TX and Tyler TX

• 2021 SWJCFC Conference champions

 

No. 2 seed -  Iowa Western (9-0)

The Reivers have been ranked for all 13 weeks in the JUCOWeekly top 20. Iowa Western was the preseason No. 1 ranked team and only slipped to No. 2 on two separate occasions. The Reivers have shown all season that they are a legitimate contender for the national title and they finished as the only undefeated team in our group of four playoff programs.

 The Reiver's Resume':

Wins/Overall Record: Strong

Strength of Schedule: Good

Strength of Conference: Good

Quality wins:

Road win over a ranked Snow College team 17-14

• Two wins over their rival and a ranked Iowa Central squad by scores of 36-22 and 20-17

• Road win over a ranked Georgia Military team 23-19

• 2021 ICCAC Conference Champions

 

 

No. 3 seed - Northwest Mississippi (9-2)

The Rangers finished ranked as the no. 3 team in the country in the final JUCOWeekly top 20 poll. Northwest has been ranked for 13 consecutive weeks dating back to the preseason. They were able to climb back up in the polls after two losses to top 10 teams: Jones and East Mississippi.  Both losses occurred in September.   The Rangers played in a conference in Mississippi that was the best in the country from top to bottom.

The Ranger's Resume':

Wins/Overall Record: Strong

Strength of Schedule: Strong

Strength of Conference: Strong

Quality Wins:

  • Road win at nationally ranked Coahoma on October 7, winning 42-12
  • Road win at nationally ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast on October 14, winning 38-14
  • Road playoff victory at nationally ranked Jones College winning 26-20
  • Playoff win against nationally ranked Hinds, winning 56-21
  • 2021 MACCC Conference champions

 

No. 4 seed - Hutchinson Kansas (8-2)

The Blue Dragons were nationally ranked nine times throughout the season in the JUCOWeekly top 20. Hutchinson closed hard and finishes as our No. 4 team in the country. They showed tremendous resilience after falling completely out of the JUCOWeekly top 20 and then grinding their way back and securing the final playoff spot..

The Blue Dragon's Resume':

Wins/Overall Record: Good

Strength of Schedule: Strong

Strength of Conference: Strong

Quality Wins:

  • Regular season win against nationally ranked Garden City
  • One win over nationally ranked Butler (forfeit win due to ineligible player by Butler)
  • Playoff win against nationally ranked Independence 42-0
  • Playoff win against nationally ranked Garden City 49-19
  • 2021 KJCCC Conference Champions

Teams that just missed and why:

East Mississippi

The Lions and head coach Buddy Stephens put together another stellar season finishing 9-1.  That record is quite a feat when playing in a conference as unforgiving and cold hearted as the Mississippi league. During the season, the Lions would eventually ascend to No. 1 in the country in the JUCOWeekly polls.  Their strength of schedule, strength of conference, and their win total were strong.  However, their playoff loss to nationally ranked Hinds (42-41 in overtime) cost EMCC a chance to play for a conference championship.  Without that opportunity, they are eliminated from securing one of the NJCAA national playoff spots.

Monroe College (NY)

Head coach Terry Karg has built and continues to maintain a strong program in his 10 years at the helm. The Mustangs ran the table this season going undefeated and finishing 10-0. Only one other team can make that claim. But, with just two wins against nationally ranked teams in the JUCOWeekly top 20  (Lackawanna and Georgia Military), their strength of schedule and strength of conference does not match with the other contenders. 

Snow College (Utah)

Head coach Zak Erekson and his Badgers put together another strong season finishing 7-1. The Badgers lone loss was to top-ranked Iowa Western 17-14. Snow secured quality wins against nationally ranked Kilgore, Lackawanna, and Georgia Military. But with just three wins against nationally ranked teams in the JUCOWeekly top 20, and only 7 overall victories, their strength of schedule does not compete with the other contenders.

 

NJCAA National Championships

The winners of the two first round games played on December 4th or December the 5th will play in Little Rock, Arkansas on Dec. 17 for the NJCAA Division 1 Football National Championship.

 

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