College Football

North Dakota State decisive No. 1 in STATS FCS Preseason Top 25

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - No. 1 until proven otherwise.

That belief was unmistakable for North Dakota State on Monday when the two-time defending national champion was selected as a decisive No. 1 in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25.

The Bison, who finished 15-0 last season and have a Division I-leading 21-game winning streak, gained 142 of the 160 first-place votes and 3,971 of a possible 4,000 points in the national media poll. James Madison edged South Dakota State for the No. 2 spot, while national runner-up Eastern Washington and UC Davis rounded out the top five.

North Dakota State has a new coach, Matt Entz, and returns only seven of its 22 starters, but no program has the winning formula quite the Bison, who've been the preseason No. 1 in five straight seasons and have won a record seven FCS titles in the last eight years.

"I think a lot of the same things that have led us to success, I want to continue to emphasis," Entz said. "That's an offense that's based around the run game, we're going to play really good defense and we need to make sure our special teams are putting us in a situation to win ballgames."

Ten conferences placed teams in the preseason rankings, led by the Big Sky, CAA and Missouri Valley conferences with five each.

The Top 25 will be released every Monday during the regular season, except for Sunday, Nov. 24, 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. 11 in Frisco, Texas.

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STATS FCS Preseason Top 25

1. North Dakota State (15-0), 3,971 points (142 first-place votes); Final 2018 Ranking: 1

2. James Madison (9-4), 3,635 (14); Final 2018 Ranking: 9

3. South Dakota State (10-3), 3,631 (1); Final 2018 Ranking: 3

4. Eastern Washington (12-3), 3,594 (3); Final 2018 Ranking: 2

5. UC Davis (10-3), 3,210; Final 2018 Ranking: 7

6. Jacksonville State (9-4), 3,004; Final 2018 Ranking: 10

7. Maine (10-4), 2,891; Final 2018 Ranking: 4

8. Weber State (10-3), 2,827; Final 2018 Ranking: 6

9. Wofford (10-3), 2,522; Final 2018 Ranking: 13

10. Kennesaw State (11-2), 2,361; Final 2018 Ranking: 5

11. Towson (7-5), 2,330; Final 2018 Ranking: 20

12. Nicholls (9-4), 2,156; Final 2018 Ranking: 14

13. Colgate (10-2), 1,892; Final 2018 Ranking: 8

14. Montana State (8-5), 1,866; Final 2018 Ranking: 17

15. Illinois State (6-5), 1,432; Final 2018 Ranking: NR

16. Indiana State (7-4), 1,192; Final 2018 Ranking: NR

17. Southeast Missouri (9-4), 1,166; Final 2018 Ranking: 15

18. Northern Iowa (7-6), 1,136; Final 2018 Ranking: 23

19. Furman (6-4), 1,074; Final 2018 Ranking: NR

20. North Carolina A&T (10-2), 885; Final 2018 Ranking: 12

21. Elon (6-5), 870; Final 2018 Ranking: 19

22. Delaware (7-5), 798; Final 2018 Ranking: 24

23. Sam Houston State (6-5), 564; Final 2018 Ranking: NR

24. Princeton (10-0), 432; Final 2018 Ranking: 11

25. Montana (6-5), 413; Final 2018 Ranking: NR

Others Receiving Votes: ETSU (8-4) 323, Stony Brook (7-5) 257, Duquesne (9-4) 235, San Diego (9-3) 209, Eastern Kentucky (7-4) 175, Dartmouth (9-1) 149, Central Arkansas (6-5) 125, McNeese (6-5) 110, Monmouth (8-3) 110, UIW (6-5) 108, Alcorn State (9-4) 85, Yale (5-5) 52, New Hampshire (4-7) 42, Chattanooga (6-5) 38, South Dakota (4-7) 27, Northern Arizona (4-6) 16, Lamar (7-5) 14, Villanova (5-6) 14, Richmond (4-7) 8, The Citadel (5-6) 7, Mercer (5-6) 7, Rhode Island (6-5) 7, Abilene Christian (6-5) 6, Southeastern Louisiana (4-7) 6, Idaho State (6-5) 5, Youngstown State (4-7) 4, Southern (7-4) 3, Samford (6-5) 2, North Dakota (6-5) 1, Sacred Heart (7-4) 1, Wagner (4-7) 1, Western Illinois (5-6) 1

Updated August 5, 2019

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