ACA staff reveals the current Top 5 teams in the nation at the halfway mark of the season
1. Auburn University
Total Points: 7,430
Pre-Season Ranking: 5th
For the first time this season, a school other than Adrian College is at the top of the rankings in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. Auburn University opens the second half of the 2021-22 season ranked number one in the nation. After earning a pre-season ranking of 5th, Auburn has accumulated a season total of 7,430 points and leads second ranked Montevallo by just five points.
Auburn is currently on pace to put together one of the best seasons in school history. To this point, Auburn has achieved 14 Top 10 finishes at major national level events, as well as regional tournaments throughout the fall.
2. University of Montevallo
Total Points: 7,425
Pre-Season Ranking: 1st
Checking in at 2nd overall in this rankings update is the University of Montevallo. Moving up one spot since the previous standings, the 2021 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is looking to claim back-to-back titles this season. Accumulating a total of 7,425 points this season, Montevallo is just five points behind top-ranked Auburn University.
Montevallo, who entered the year with a pre-season ranking of 1st, is putting together another historic season as we move into the beginning of 2022. Montevallo’s average finish at events this season is 6th. On only four occasions has the defending School of the Year winner finished outside of the Top 10 at an event. And in those particular events, the Montevallo teams still finished inside of the Top 20: 15th, 12th, 16th, and 20th.
3. Adrian College
Total Points: 7,340
Pre-Season Ranking: 2nd
Next up is another team looking to claim its first-ever Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, Adrian College. Coming off a 3rd place finish in 2021 and earning a pre-season distinction of 2nd, the team from Adrian, MI is in 3rd place with 7,340 points.
This marks the first rankings reveal of the year in which Adrian College is not in the top spot. A strong fall season placed Adrian at number one for roughly five months. Now they are just a mere 90 points behind top-ranked Auburn University.
“Obviously, we’re all really excited. This is a great start. We’re pretty pumped to try to make a run at it for sure,” said Shane Nelson, Adrian College team member. “This year just kind of feels special. Everybody’s really tight. I think if we’re going to make a run at it, that’s our advantage…that we’re a much tighter team than everyone out there.”
4. McKendree University
Total Points: 7,290
Pre-Season Ranking: 4th
Sitting at 4th place in the rankings is the only two-time winner of the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia in the Top 5 overall, McKendree University. Coming off of a 1st place title in 2019 and 2020, McKendree ended the 2021 season ranked 2nd overall. At the moment, the pre-season ranked 4th place team is 140 points behind 1st place with a season total of 7,290 points.
McKendree University knows what it takes to compete at the highest level in the sport, and they are hoping to lean on that experience this season to become the first school ever to win three School of the Year titles. “It would be absolutely huge. I think it was something that we were shooting for last year too, was the three-peat…back to back to back,” said Tyler Christy, McKendree University team member. “This year, I think it only lit the fire under us up a little bit more. We’re real excited to get out there this year and try to make our way to the top.”
5. Drury University
Total Points: 6,915
Pre-Season Ranking: 8th
Rounding out the Top 5 in the current rankings for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is Drury University. Drury has tallied up a total of 6,915 points to be ranked 5th, three spots higher than the school’s ranking in the ACA pre-season poll.
Entering this season’s AFTCO Open, 2020 event winner Cole Breeden spoke about Drury’s chase to win the team’s first-ever Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. “This year, we’re really trying to do the best we can,” said Cole Breeden, Drury University team member. “We’ve never had more than about 12-13 guys on the team. We actually got nine new freshmen in this year, and that put our team at 17-18 guys. That really helps us in being able to take more boats to these big tournaments, but it also allows us to send more teams to a lot of these smaller events…that can end up adding up at the end of the season. We’re going to be able to put in a lot more work, go to a lot more tournaments. We’re really excited to see what can happen through this.”