After mauling Concordia-St. Paul 40-0 in St. Paul in last year's season opener, UMD steamrolled through the rest of their schedule en route to a 2008 NCAA Division II title.
Their title defense started out in similar fashion. The Bulldogs racked up over 450 yards rushing and 600 total yards in a 56-0 thrashing of Concordia this past Saturday at Malosky Stadium. The season-opening win helped the Bulldogs out in both major Division II football polls.
In the American Football Coaches Association rankings, UMD moved up to second, behind Grand Valley State, the team UMD knocked out in a double-overtime classic in last year's quarterfinals.
The D2football.com voters aren't as sold on the Bulldogs as a national contender. That poll ranks UMD third, behind both Grand Valley State and Abilene Christian.
These polls are truly meaningless. This isn't the BCS, where human polls actually count in the selection process. Instead, the polls conducted in Division II are simply discussion pieces and the occasional motivational tool.
Of course, if a team playing the defending national champion needs to be motivated by looking at a poll, then something is seriously wrong.
Thursday night, UMD hosts Central Washington in a nationally-televised game at Malosky Stadium. CBS College Sports has the coverage, and a few FSN regional channels are going to take their feed of the game.
Central Washington is eighth in the coaches poll and ninth in the D2football survey.