North Dakota State tops STATS FCS Preseason Top 25

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - Where the STATS FCS Top 25 got started in the preseason Monday was similar to where it ended in January.

Not surprisingly, defending FCS national champion North Dakota State was an overwhelming No. 1 in the national media poll, collecting 151 of the 157 first-place votes and 3,919 points. The Bison were followed by national runner-up James Madison, which gained the other six first-place votes, and fellow semifinalists South Dakota State and Sam Houston State as the top four spots remained unchanged from the final 2017 rankings.

"In the same respect, what you've done in the past doesn't help you as far as what you're gonna do this year," NDSU fifth-year coach Chris Klieman said.

Eight teams that finished in the Top 10 remain there to open the 2018 season, including Kennesaw State (5), Jacksonville State (6), Weber State (8) and Wofford (10).

Eight FCS conferences placed teams in the preseason rankings, led by CAA Football with six, the Missouri Valley Football Conference five and the Southland Conference four.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the STATS FCS Top 25. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

The Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon during the regular season, except for Sunday morning, Nov. 18, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff field. A final Top 25 will follow the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

The STATS FCS Preseason Top 25:

1. North Dakota State (14-1), 3,919 points - 151 first-place votes; Final 2017 Ranking: 1

2. James Madison (14-1), 3,764 - 6; Final 2017 Ranking: 2

3. South Dakota State (11-3), 3,470; Final 2017 Ranking: 3

4. Sam Houston State (12-2), 3,228; Final 2017 Ranking: 4

5. Kennesaw State (12-2), 3,120; Final 2017 Ranking: 8;

6. Jacksonville State (10-2), 3,041; Final 2017 Ranking: 9

7. New Hampshire (9-5), 2,873; Final 2017 Ranking: 12

8. Weber State (11-3), 2,815; Final 2017 Ranking: 5

9. Eastern Washington (7-4), 2,541; Final 2017 Ranking: 21

10. Wofford (10-3), 2,087; Final 2017 Ranking: 6

11. Samford (8-4), 2,003; Final 2017 Ranking: 18

12. Elon (8-4), 1,812; Final 2017 Ranking: 20

13. Northern Iowa (8-5), 1,612; Final 2017 Ranking: 17

14. North Carolina A&T (12-0), 1,480; Final 2017 Ranking: 7

15. Delaware (7-4), 1,470; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

16. Central Arkansas (10-2), 1,383; Final 2017 Ranking: 10

17. McNeese (9-2), 1,133; Final 2017 Ranking: 22

18. Nicholls (8-4), 1,056; Final 2017 Ranking: 25

19. Villanova (5-6), 920; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

20. Stony Brook (10-3), 798; Final 2017 Ranking: 11

21. Illinois State (6-5), 795; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

22. Austin Peay (8-4), 709; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

23. Furman (8-5), 685; Final 2017 Ranking: 19

24. Montana (7-4), 626; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

25. Youngstown State (6-5), 541; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

Others Receiving Votes: South Dakota (8-5) 496, Western Illinois (8-4) 401, Southern Utah (9-3) 357, Northern Arizona (7-5) 312, Grambling State (11-2) 289, Idaho (4-8) 287, Yale (9-1) 252, Sacramento State (7-4) 208, San Diego (10-3) 202, Richmond (6-5) 91, Monmouth (9-3) 53, Colgate (7-4) 45, Lehigh (5-7) 27, Central Connecticut State (8-4) 23, North Dakota (3-8) 13, UC Davis (5-6) 12, Western Carolina (7-5) 10, Bethune-Cookman (7-4) 9, Montana State (5-6) 8, Stephen F. Austin (4-7) 7, Mercer (5-6) 6, Eastern Illinois (6-5) 6, Harvard (5-5) 4, Southern Illinois (4-7) 4, Howard (7-4) 4, Duquesne (7-4) 3, North Carolina Central (7-4) 3, Columbia (8-2) 3, Dartmouth (8-2) 3, Alcorn State (7-5) 2, The Citadel (5-6) 2, UT Martin (6-5) 1, Southeastern Louisiana (6-5) 1

Updated August 6, 2018

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