The American Football Coaches Association Division II poll came out Monday. And for the first time since the ranking began in 2000, Augustana was on it, at No. 25.
College coaches usually tell you that rankings mean nothing. But when Augustana is ranked for the first time, that means something.
"I think it's just respect for your program," coach Brad Salem said. "I think it's a great opportunity for our players, at least to get some notoriety that way. But you've got to stay up there."
The ranking doesn't give Augie anything but pride. But perhaps more than anything else, after years of mediocrity -- and downright futility -- it shows how far the program has come.
"It's just showing how much dedication the coaches and players and everybody that has to do with the Augustana football team and family, what they've put into it," defensive lineman Kevin Knapp said. "Just working hard, all offseason, in season in the weight room, watching film, and just having that mindset."
"I think our program is definitely going in the right direction," offensive lineman Clint Berenschot said. "Whether it's the coaching staff, or Brett Chambers in the weight room. And I think every little thing has come together. With our new facilities and locker room and weight room, and now our new stadium, you get a lot of people excited. And we've got a lot of good recruits in lately."
"We've gotten better each year," Salem said. "We've got a lot more depth. And even with some injuries and things that happened, we've got guys that can step in and fill in and make some plays for us."
If Augie wants to stay in the top 25, it'll have to earn it this week. The Vikings travel to play defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, which is currently ranked 8th.
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