In what has become a common expectation, the Northwest Mississippi Community College football team once again will open the regular season in the national rankings.
Northwest is slotted at No. 4 in the NJCAA Division I preseason rankings, the organization announced on Monday afternoon. It is the seventh straight NJCAA preseason ranking earned by the Rangers since 2016.
Northwest started the 2021 season ranked No. 3 in the polls, before later tumbling out of the rankings for the first time since 2015 after a loss to East Mississippi. The fall was brief, however, as the Rangers bounced back into the polls the following week and finished the season with a 9-3 record, its second consecutive MACCC title and a spot in the inaugural NJCAA Division I Football Playoffs.
Northwest is the only MACCC program ranked in the top five, followed by East Mississippi at No. 6 and Hinds ranked eighth. Jones College rounds out the preseason polls at No. 12 overall, while Mississippi Gulf Coast was listed as receiving votes.
Last year’s national champion, New Mexico Military Institute, will start the season ranked at the top, followed by Iowa Western at No. 2 and Hutchinson (Kan.) at No. 3. Snow College (Utah) rounds out the top five.
This is the second preseason poll to feature the Rangers, following a No. 15 slot in the JCGridiron.com poll, released in early July.
Northwest will open the season against Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday, September 1 at Bobby Franklin Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.