CWU Football team up to 5th in Regional Poll - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Football team up to 5th in Regional Poll

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NDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 27) -- One week after falling in the official NCAA Division II Super Regional Four poll, the Central Washington University football team returned to fifth in this week's ranking, released Monday by the NCAA national office.

The Wildcats, who improved to 8-1 overall and clinched the 2008 Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship with a 38-31 Homecoming victory over Western Oregon on Saturday, moved up from sixth. Central Missouri, which had been fifth last week, fell two spots to seventh in the poll. Nebraska-Omaha, which defeated Central Missouri last week, returned to the regional poll, climbing all the way to sixth.

The top four spots in the regional poll remain the same this week, as Abilene Christian (Texas), Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State (Kan.), and West Texas A&M all won their games on Saturday and are ranked first through fourth, respectively. CWU follows in fifth, with Nebraska-Omaha sixth, Central Missouri seventh, Texas A&M-Kingsville eighth, Tarleton State (Texas) ninth, and Central Oklahoma in tenth.

Central Washington remains one of only two teams in the region with undefeated records against Division II competition. The other team with that distinction is top-ranked Abilene Christian.

The "Super Regional Four" is comprised of member schools in the traditional South Central and West Regions. Conferences represented in the super regional are the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), the Lone Star Conference (LSC), and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). With just five football-playing members the GNAC does not have an "earned access" berth for the NCAA Division II playoffs like the LSC and MIAA do.

The top six teams in each of the super regions following the conclusion of the regular season will qualify for the NCAA Division II Football Championship. Central Washington appeared in the postseason last year after an 8-2 regular-season record and 6-2 finish in the now-defunct North Central Conference, and the Wildcats advanced to the national quarterfinals.

By virtue of its conference championship, CWU has already secured a postseason berth. Should the Wildcats not receive a berth in the NCAA Division II championship field, it will play in the Rotary Bowl on Dec. 6 in St. George, Utah.

Central steps out of conference play this weekend, traveling to Azusa Pacific (Calif.) for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Saturday (Nov. 1) against the NAIA member Cougars. The Wildcats then wrap up the regular season on Nov. 8 against archrival Western Washington in the 100th all-time meeting between the two schools.

1. Abilene Christian (Texas) (8-0, 8-0)
2. Northwest Missouri State (8-1, 8-1)
3. Pittsburg State (Kan.) (8-1, 8-1)
4. West Texas A&M (8-1, 7-1)
6. Nebraska-Omaha (5-3, 5-3)
7. Central Missouri (6-3, 6-3)
8. Texas A&M-Kingsville (6-3, 6-2)
9. Tarleton State (Texas) (7-2, 7-2)
10. Central Oklahoma (5-4, 5-4)

Records are through games of Oct. 25. Overall record listed first, followed by record versus NCAA Division II opponents.