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Butler takes surprise drop in NJCAA poll Computer drops Grizzlies one spot to No. 3 after 84-7 win.

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012, at 7:13 p.m.

The National Junior College Athletic Association’s new system of ranking its Top 20 teams gave the Butler Community College football team a jolt on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies, ranked No. 2 in last week’s poll, dropped a spot to No. 3 after defeating Independence 84-7 on Saturday at Independence and improving to 3-0.

No. 1 East Mississippi dropped to No. 4 after a 59-6 win over Southwest Mississippi.

It was the fifth poll of the season for the NJCAA, but the first using the Football Computer Rankings, a new system of ranking junior-college teams.

In the new system, nine coaches’ votes account for 66.7 percent of the poll, while the FCR accounts for 33.3 percent.

The FCR is calculated with these values: winning percentage (50 percent), opponents winning percentage (25 percent), and opponents-opponents winning percentage (25 percent).

Butler has been the national runner-up the past two seasons and has won three national titles in the past decade.

The NJCAA does not have a playoff system and tries to match up the top two teams in its final regular-season poll in a bowl game, as it has done in recent years.

“I was surprised at our drop, but I was more surprised by East Mississippi’s drop,” Butler coach Troy Morrell said. “I don’t think we knew exactly how this new computer system was going to work, so there is some concern as to how the poll works. What I’m thankful for is there is still a lot of football to be played.”

Mississippi Gulf Coast leapfrogged to the No. 1 spot from No. 4 after a 41-28 win over No. 6 Hinds (Miss.), and Iowa Western took Butler’s spot at No. 2, moving up three spots after a 65-21 win over No. 17 College of DuPage.

When reached for comment, NJCAA Assistant Executive Director Mark Krug referred to an April news release from the NJCAA on the polls.

The statement reads, in part: “In an effort to improve the weekly NJCAA Football Poll, the board of directors signed off on a new ranking format that was supported by the football committee. The rankings will now include a computer formula, called the Football Computer Rankings or FCR, which was the result of multiple groups within the NJCAA (national headquarters, Region 23, football committee) working together to improve the sport.”

No team in the NJCAA Top 20, win or lose, kept its spot from last week’s poll. Hutchinson was the other team from the Jayhawk in the Top 20 at No. 11.

Of more concern for Butler is a game in two weeks against Air Force Prep — a team not affiliated with the NJCAA.

“Teams that play non-affiliated teams take a hit,” Morrell said. “We’re bound to play them by contract, just like every school in the Jayhawk, we just don’t know how much that will dock us in the polls.

“It is what is, and we’re going to just have to deal with it week-by-week.”

Reach Tony Adame at tadame@wichitaeagle.com or 316-268-6284.

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