COLORADO SPRINGS – Clichés in sports always ring true eventually and today nothing can describe the final NJCAA / JC Football.com Poll of the 2008 regular season than the following old sport adage: “it’s not where you start; it’s where you finish.”
After beginning the season ranked fourth in the preseason and claiming the No. 2 spot in the rankings for the last seven weeks, Snow College (Utah) received all seven first place votes and 140 poll points this week to take over the No. 1 ranking. The Badgers climb to the top comes after former No. 1 Navarro College (Texas) lost to Blinn College (Texas) in the Southwest JC Football Conference title game on Saturday.
Butler Community College (Kan.), who was the pre-season No. 1 this year, moves up to No.2 in the final poll followed by Georgia Military College at No. 3, Harper College (Ill.) at No. 4 and Blinn at No. 5.
Former No. 1 Navarro falls to No. 6.
Snow wrapped up their schedule this past weekend with a 65-20 thumping of Mesa Community College (Ariz.). The win finalizes Snow’s record at 11-0 and gives them the No. 1 ranking, which is exactly how they finished the 2007 regular season.
Meanwhile, Butler defeated then No. 15 Hutchinson Community College (Kan.) 29-14 on Sunday to capture their third-straight Region 6 title. The Grizzlies, now 10-1, has accepted an invitation to play No. 1 Snow for the national title in the 2008 version of the ZION Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl.
Did somebody say deja vu? Yes, this scenario is very familiar. Last year Snow, then No. 1, faced Butler, then No. 2, in the 2007 Top of the Mountain Bowl with Butler coming away with a 56-27 victory and a share of the national title with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
This year’s Top of the Mountain Bowl will officially be recognized as the NJCAA National Championship game. The Top of the Mountain Bowl committee successfully negotiated with the NJCAA for the right to have the contest declared the national championship under NJCAA by-laws.
Snow and Butler will face off on Dec. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Georgia Military wrapped up its season with a 27-26 victory over Lackawanna College (Pa.). The Bulldogs finish at 9-1 and have accepted an invite to play No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 9-2, in the inaugural Mississippi Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 7 in Biloxi, Miss.
Harper, 10-1, wrapped up the Midwest Football Conference East Division title with a 42-6 win over College of DuPage (Ill.) on Nov. 8. The Hawks will travel to the Arizona desert to play No. 8 Phoenix College (Ariz.), 7-3, in the Valley of the Sun Bowl on Dec. 6 in Phoenix.
Blinn got revenge on a Navarro team that defeated them 24-21 on Nov. 1 by taking down the Bulldogs 49-24 in the SWJCFC title game. The win gave the Bucs their second conference title in three years. Blinn will now play No. 14 Fort Scott Community College (Kan.), on Dec. 6 in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove, Texas.
BOWL PAIRINGS ANNOUNCED (visit the NJCAA bowl webpage for more info) The 2008 NJCAA bowl season gets underway this weekend with the inaugural North Star Bowl in Rochester, Minn. The nation’s current economic crisis adversely affected this year’s postseason as the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl (Mt. Pleasant, Texas) was cancelled earlier this year due to financial reasons. The loss of Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl means that two bowl worthy teams will stay at home.
One team that was noticeably left out of the bowl equation this season was former No. 1 Navarro College. The Bulldogs would have played in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl this year as the event had a partnership with the Southwest JC Football Conference.
NORTH STAR BOWL
Nov. 22, 2008
#20 Rochester Community & Technical College (Minn.) vs. Lackawanna College (Pa.)
GRAPHIC EDGE BOWL
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Nov. 23, 2008
Game 1: College of DuPage (Ill.) vs. #18 Ellsworth Community College (Iowa)
Game 2: #10 Dean College (Mass.) vs. #16 Iowa Central Community College
HEART of TEXAS BOWL
Copperas Cove, Texas
Dec. 6, 2008
#5 Blinn College (Texas) vs. #14 Fort Scott Community College (Kan.)
VALLEY of the SUN BOWL
Dec. 6, 2008
#4 Harper College (Ill.) vs. #8 Phoenix College (Ariz.)
ZION BANK TOP of the MOUNTAIN BOWL
Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec. 6, 2008
#1 Snow College (Utah) vs. #2 Butler Community College (Kan.)
Dec. 7, 2008
#7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College vs. #3 Georgia Military College