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Defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor tops D3 preseason Top 25

The 2022 Division III season will begin where the 2021 campaign ended.

The 2022 Division III football season will begin where the 2021 season ended: with Mary Hardin-Baylor on top, and North Central right behind them.

The Cru carry a 20-game winning streak and a No. 1 ranking in the D3Football.com poll, released Tuesday. UMHB knocked off defending champion North Central in the 2021 Stagg Bowl, 57-24, which snapped North Central's 24-game winning streak. 

The D3Football.com poll is comprised of 25 coaches, SIDs and media members, and is considered the authoritative poll for football at that level. UMHB collected 23 first-place votes. 

North Central barely edged out No. 3 Mount Union, beating them 587 to 577, for the No. 2 spot. North Central ended Mount Union's 2021 season in the semifinals by a 26-13 score. 

The fourth perennial power at the D3 level, Wisconsin-Whitewater, checks in at No. 4. 

North Central's 2019 title was the first won by a school other than UMHB, Mount Union or UW-Whitewater since 2004.

The full poll:

1. Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) -- 619 points (23 first-place votes)
2. North Central (Ill.) -- 587
3. Mount Union (Ohio) -- 577 (2)
4. Wisconsin-Whitewater -- 537
5. St. John's (Minn.) -- 480
6. Hardin-Simmons (Texas) -- 451
7. Linfield (Ore.) -- 445
8. Wheaton (Ill.) -- 419
9. Trinity (Texas) -- 378
10. Johns Hopkins (Md.) -- 358
11. Muhlenberg (Pa.) -- 326
12. Wisconsin-La Crosse -- 314
13. Bethel (Minn.) -- 310
14. Central (Iowa) -- 287
15. Delaware Valley (Pa.) -- 262
16. Cortland (N.Y.) -- 211
17. Ithaca (N.Y.) -- 183
18. Wisconsin-River Falls -- 180
19. Wisconsin-Oshkosh -- 156
20. RPI (N.Y.) -- 130
21. Randolph-Macon (Va.) -- 121
22. Salisbury (Md.) -- 120
23. Hobart (N.Y.) -- 94
24. Heidelberg (Ohio) -- 81
25. Birmingham-Southern (Ala.) -- 67

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