NSAA Preseason Football Poll Is Out, Bluehawks Up Top

BISMARCK, ND (PlayNorthStar.com) – Dickinson State (N.D.) is the North Star Athletic Association football head coaches’ pick to win the 2023 league title, the conference office announced its coaches’ preseason poll Monday.  It is the Blue Hawks’ ninth consecutive year to secure the top spot in the poll.  Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the preseason poll.

Dickinson State extended their North Star football conference title for the historic eighth consecutive season after going perfect 6-0 record in 2022.  After falling in the first two games of the season, the Blue Hawks reeled off eight straight wins before falling to Northwestern (Iowa) 49-7 in the opening round of the NAIA Football Championships Series (8-3 overall record).

DiSU, who was ranked No. 17 in last year’s final NAIA Football FirstDown PlayBook Top 25 national poll, collected four first-place votes and 16 points to claim the top spot in the preseason poll.  Valley City State (N.D.) picked up the final first place vote and 13 points to finish second.  Dakota State (S.D.) edged out Waldorf (Iowa) 9-8 to finish third in the poll.  Mayville State (N.D.) was fifth after tallying four points.

To earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Football Playoffs, a team needs to be in the ‘Top 20’ in the national poll and win the conference title.  The NAIA expanded their FCS series playoffs, with the opening round on Nov. 18 followed by the second round on Nov. 25.  The national quarterfinals are set for Dec. 2, while the semifinals are on Dec. 9.

The NAIA FCS Championship game is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 18 at Durham County Memorial Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Each North Star football members will be playing a total of eight conference games during the season, playing home-and-away contests.  The North Star football season opens on Sept. 2 with Dickinson State hosting Mayville State.  Dakota State travels to Waldorf for their conference opener on Sept. 9.  Valley City State won’t start their league play until Sept. 16 at Dakota State.

The conference season ends on Nov. 12 with DiSU at DaSU and WU at VCSU.  MSU is scheduled to play a home non-conference contest versus Martin Luther (Minn.).

Below is the complete results of 2023 NSAA Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll:

2023 North Star Athletic Association Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Rank School (First-Place Votes in parenthesis) Points
1 Dickinson State (N.D.) (4) 16
2 Valley City State (N.D.) (1) 13
3 Dakota State (S.D.) 9
4 Waldorf (Iowa) 8
5 Mayville State (N.D.) 4