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Craig Haley | Stats FCS | August 6, 2018

North Dakota State, JMU lead STATS FCS preseason top 25

FCS Championship: North Dakota State beats James Madison 17-13

(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 choice 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.

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"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 the CAA with six, the Missouri Valley Football Conference with five and the Southland Conference with 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.

Here is the complete STATS FCS Top 25, released Monday, Aug. 6:

RANK SCHOOL POINTS RECORD PREVIOUS  
1 North Dakota State (151) 3919 14-1 1  
2 James Madison (6) 3764 14-1 2  
3 South Dakota State 3470 11-3 3  
4 Sam Houston State 3228 12-2 4  
5 Kennesaw State 3120 12-2 8  
6 Jacksonville State 3041 10-2 9  
7 New Hampshire 3873 9-5 12  
8 Weber State 2815 11-3 5  
9 Eastern Washington 2541 7-4 21  
10 Wofford 2087 10-3 6  
11 Samford 2003 8-4 18  
12 Elon 1812 8-4 20  
13 Northern Iowa 1612 8-5 17  
14 North Carolina A&T 1480 12-0 7  
15 Delaware 1470 7-4 NR  
16 Central Arkansas 1383 10-2 10  
17 MCNeese 1133 9-2 22  
18 Nicholls 1056 8-4 25  
19 Villanova 920 5-6 NR  
20 Stony Brook 798 10-3 11  
21 Illinois State 795 6-5 NR  
22 Austin Peay 709 8-4 NR  
23 Furman 685 8-5 19  
24 Montana 626 7-4 NR  
25 Youngstown State 541 6-5 NR

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