Ranked third to begin the year, Northwest Missouri State finished at No. 10 in the final AFCA Division II Poll released Monday.
The ranking barely extended their steak to nine consecutive years of finishing inside the top 10.
Northwest went 10-3 this year, finished a close second in the MIAA and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Minnesota St.-Mankato in double overtime.
This was Northwest's earliest playoff exit since 2004.
The Bearcats are the second-highest ranked MIAA team behind only league champion Missouri Western at No. 5. The Griffons lost a round later in the playoffs to Minnesota-St.-Mankato, finishing 12-2.
The MIAA's only other ranked team is Emporia State (10-2) at No. 23. Emporia ended the year with a 52-45 win over Texas A&M Kingsville in the Kanza Bowl.
The league's final total of three top 25 teams is one less than their preseason total of four.
One MIAA team not included is preseason No. 1 Pittsburg State.
Division II national champion Valdosta State (12-2) gained all 30 first place votes and finished the year at No. 1. The Blazers started the playoffs ranked No. 17. Runner-up Winston Salem-State (14-1) is No. 2.
Super Region 3 champion Minnesota-St.-Mankato (13-1) is third.
Region champion West Texas A&M is at No. 4 followed by Western in the No. 5 spot.
Colorado St.-Pueblo entered the postseason ranked No. 1 and finished at No. 6 after a national quarterfinal loss. Indiana (Pa.) checks in at No. 7 with New Haven at No. 8 and Ashland at No. 9 as the Bearcats round out the top 10.
Northwest's first round victim Harding finished at No. 19.
Northwest has now appeared in a record 165 weeks of the AFCA Top 25 out of a possible 175 since the polls' inception in 2000.
The Bearcats have also appeared in the top 10 every season since 2003 when Northwest finished the year ranked No. 25 in the final poll.