Mike Van Diest prepares for the 2016 season with the Carroll College Fighting Saints football team. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)

The Carroll College football team enters the 2016 season ranked No. 22 in the NAIA. The rankings were released on Monday.

The Fighting Saints, who begin fall camp on Wednesday, are coming off the worst season in program history under future hall of fame coach Mike Van Diest. Carroll went 4-6 in 2015 and missed the playoffs – a rare occurrence under the six-time national champion Van Diest.

Fellow Frontier Conference schools Southern Oregon and Montana Tech are each ranked ahead of Carroll. The Raiders (2nd) have played in the last two NAIA national championship games, winning in 2014.

Montana Tech (7th), the defending Frontier Conference champion, returns NAIA rushing champion Nolan Saraceni in 2016. The senior is expected to lead the Orediggers to the playoffs this fall.

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Tech will travel to Carroll College to open the season on Saturday, September 3rd.

2016 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Preseason (August 8)

RANK LAST TIME^ SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2015 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Marian (Ind.) (14) 12-2 314
2 2 Southern Oregon 11-3 302
3 3 Morningside (Iowa) 12-2 289
4 4 Saint Francis (Ind.) 11-1 276
5 5 Baker (Kan.) 11-2 267
6 6 Grand View (Iowa) 11-2 251
7 7 Montana Tech 10-2 247
8 8 Tabor (Kan.) 11-2 217
9 9 Doane (Neb.) 9-2 210
10 11 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 7-4 209
11 10 Reinhardt (Ga.) 9-2 202
12 13 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 8-3 177
13 14 Kansas Wesleyan 10-2 153
14 17 St. Francis (Ill.) 8-3 138
15 20 Benedictine (Kan.) 7-4 110
16 15 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 9-2 107
17 12 Campbellsville (Ky.) 8-3 104
18 23 Georgetown (Ky.) 6-4 102
19 24 Faulkner (Ala.) 7-3 78
20 22 Arizona Christian 6-3 67
21 18 Dickinson State (N.D.) 8-3 60
22 NR Carroll (Mont.) 4-6 59
23 25 William Penn (Iowa) 7-4 54
24 21 St. Ambrose (Iowa) 8-2 52
25 16 Montana Western 7-3 43

Others Receiving Votes: Eastern Oregon 24; Concordia (Neb.) 18; Southeastern (Fla.) 14; Webber International (Fla.) 11; Point (Ga.) 6; Robert Morris (Ill.) 5; Sterling (Kan.) 4; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 4; Ottawa (Kan.) 3; Missouri Valley 3.

Mike Van Diest prepares for the 2016 season with the Carroll College Fighting Saints football team. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)
Mike Van Diest prepares for the 2016 season with the Carroll College Fighting Saints football team. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)

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