football

JCGridiron.com kicks off 13th year of the Dirty 30

As has become a tradition for the week of July 4th, JCGridiron.com kicks off its 13th year of ranking the top junior college football programs in the country with its Dirty 30 Preseason Rankings. Who will win the Dirty 30 title in 2017?

The 2016 season was one of the most unpredictable in history, as week-by-week the perennial powers saw their title hopes disappear. In the end, two teams weathered the storm in Garden City (KS) and Fullerton (CA), sharing the title and calling themselves national champions.

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In 12 seasons, three pairs of programs have shared the title. The first was Mississippi Gulf Coast (MS) and Butler (KS) in 2007. The second was East Mississippi (MS) and Butte (CA) in 2013. In total, 15 teams have shared or won (outright) 12 national titles, with nine coming from the NJCAA ranks and six from the California ranks. East Mississippi heads the list, winning or sharing three titles (2011, 2013 & 2014). Mt. San Antonio (CA) and Butte (CA) are the only others to win multiple championships.

A lot of people ask the question; how are the rankings determined? The short answer is, by me. The long answer is much more complicated. In the spring months we solicit information from the coaches about their teams. In addition, we ask them to pinpoint some of the top players on their teams and which players are likely to stand out. As a football junkie, I have determined a few positions which I believe to be key positions to win a title. I also look at scheduling, history, strength of schedule, coaching changes, style of play and a number of other variables in an attempt to make an honest assessment. One thing I don’t do, however, is take the lazy road. I almost never open the new season with the team or teams that were on top at the end of the previous season.

This season, the story could be quarterbacks. A number of them have bounced back from the D1 ranks and should give an immediate jolt to their respective squads. What impact will Ricky Town (USC, Arkansas) have at Ventura? Will Max Gilliam (Cal) win the starting nod at Saddleback? Does Kai Locksey (Texas) lead Arizona Western to the promised-land, or does he fall in his own conference to Mesa and Christian Lopez (UNLV)?

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Could former Longhorn Kai Locksey put AZ Western over the hump?

It could also be the story of a newcomer coming up and stunning the field, like we saw last season from Garden City and Fullerton. Suddenly, the Jayhawk Conference has turned upside down, with programs such as Independence and Highland pumping out major prospects while perennial powers like Butler, Hutchinson and Coffeyville were playing fourth, sixth and seventh fiddle in 2016.

The Mississippi ranks should remain the most competitive, with NFL potential on every roster. Someone like Mississippi Gulf Coast had 13 athletes move on to D1 programs this past off-season, with four of them ending up in the SEC. They finished 5-5. East Mississippi just finished its second season of having a documentary shot on campus about their program (Last Chance U). The Mississippi ranks are different, and reflected in this year’s preseason rankings by having three teams in the top-15, four in the top-20 and nine programs total when including the teams on the bubble.

Some conference have far more competitive balance than others, while some have almost none. Some programs only play a handful of games against affiliated programs and spend most of their fall playing against club teams and prep schools. A program like Georgia Military is considered Independent, with no other programs within 400 miles. They travel more than most SEC programs in any given year (which isn’t saying much).

California is its own animal. They have their own umbrella (CCCAA) and have the regional luxury of having close to 70 programs within the state. It affords them the ability to have their own playoff system and determine a legitimate state champion. What they don’t have, however, is scholarships or roster limits. Some programs head into the summer months with close to 160 guys, while other have closer to 60. They created a tiered system awhile back, giving programs an opportunity to move up or down every couple of years. The only thing missing is a lower-tier state title game, which should have been orchestrated in the opening framework but still remains low on the priority list.

Many have asked the question; which programs are better, NJCAA or CCCAA? The short of it is, the good NJCAA programs have better starters while the good CCCAA programs are deeper. Since the beginning of JCGridiron.com, only one game has been played between the two governing bodies, with College of the Sequoias beating Eastern Arizona, 26-16, in 2006. When the two squads played, it had been some 20-25 years since a previous meeting between California and NJCAA schools, with no real plans in the future.

So where does that leave us? With guys like myself creating mythical rankings. Here we go, let the chatter begin. Let’s get the 2017 season started!

                 The 2017 JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Preseason Rankings    

JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Rankings (preseason)
Rank Team City 2016  Opening Game

1

Arizona Western

Yuma, AZ

9-1

@ Eastern Arizona 9/2

2

East Mississippi

Scooba, MS

11-1

Jones County 8/31

3

San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

7-4

Laney 9/2

4

Trinity Valley

Athens, TX

11-1

Pima 8/26

5

Ventura

Ventura, CA

8-3

@ Santa Barbara 9/2

6

Gulf Coast

Perkinston, MS

5-5

Itawamba 8/31

7

Lackawanna

Scranton, PA

9-1

Gattaca Club 9/2

8

Riverside

Riverside, CA

10-2

Victor Valley 9/2

9

Garden City

Garden City, KS

11-0

Ellsworth 8/24

10

ASA-NY

Brooklyn, NY

2-4

New Jersey 9/2

11

Independence

Independence, KS

5-4

Iowa Western 8/26

12

Fullerton

Fullerton, CA

12-1

Santa Ana 9/2

13

Butler

El Dorado, KS

6-5

Fort Scott 8/26

14

Mt. San Antonio

Walnut, CA

8-3

@ San Bernardino 9/2

15

Copiah-Lincoln

Wesson, MS

6-3

@ Delta 8/31

16

Saddleback

Mission Viejo, CA

9-2

@ Desert 9/2

17

Iowa Western

Council Bluffs, IA

6-6

@ Independence 8/26

18

NW Mississippi

Senatobia, MS

9-3

Hinds 8/31

19

Canyons

Santa Clarita, CA

5-6

@ Antelope Valley 9/2

20

Mesa

Mesa, AZ

9-2

Phoenix 9/2

21

Highland

Highland, KS

6-4

@ Dodge City 8/24

22

Long Beach City

Long Beach, CA

9-2

@ Pasadena 9/2

23

Butte

Oroville, CA

9-3

Santa Rosa 9/2

24

American River

Sacramento, CA

10-3

Diablo Valley 9/2

25

Coffeyville

Coffeyville, KS

6-5

@ Hutchinson 8/26

26

Navarro

Corsicana, TX

6-3

@ Georgia Military 8/24

27

Diablo Valley

Pleasant Hill, CA

5-6

@ American River 9/2

28

Kilgore

Kilgore, TX

6-5

Tyler 8/26

29

San Mateo

San Mateo, CA

7-4

Modesto 9/2

30

Dodge City

Dodge City, KS

6-4

Highland 8/24

Others on the Bubble: Blinn (TX) 4-4, Modesto (CA) 8-3, Laney (CA) 9-2, Santa Rosa (CA) 9-2, Snow (UT) 3-4, Northeast Mississippi 6-3, Tyler (TX) 4-4, Holmes (MS) 7-3, El Camino (CA) 4-6, Eastern Arizona 5-3, Cerritos (CA) 4-6, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 5-5, Jones County (MS) 6-3, Siskiyous (CA) 5-5, Los Angeles Valley (CA) 11-0, Bakersfield (CA) 5-5, Georgia Military 6-2, Itawamba (MS) 5-4, Golden West (CA) 4-6, Fresno City (CA) 5-5, Shasta (CA) 10-1, New Mexico Military 4-4, East Los Angeles (CA) 9-2, East Central (MS) 5-5, Hutchinson (KS) 4-6, Southwestern (CA) 9-2, Central Lakes (MN) 11-1, DuPage (IL) 3-5, Monterey Peninsula (CA) 10-1, North Dakota SCS 9-2

This is the 13th year of the JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Rankings. Here is a list of previous champions.

Previous Dirty 30 Champions

Previous Dirty 30 Champions
Year Program(S)

2016

(split) Garden City (KS)/Fullerton (CA)

2015

San Francisco (CA)

2014

East Mississippi (MS)

2013

(split) East Mississippi (MS)/Butte (CA)

2012

Iowa Western (IA)

2011

East Mississippi (MS)

2010

Mt. San Antonio (CA)

2009

Mt. San Antonio (CA)

2008

Butte (CA)

2007

(split) Gulf Coast (MS)/Butler County (KS)

2006

Blinn (TX)

2005

Glendale (AZ)

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