FCS rankings: Takeaways from the preseason Top 25
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By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - A national voting panel selected the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 on Monday, but the 160 votes seemingly came out of Frisco Texas - the host city of the national championship game since 2010.
The only three programs to win the FCS title in Frisco filled top-four spots in the preseason poll - No. 1 North Dakota State, No. 3 James Madison and No. 4 Eastern Washington. The crystal ball suggested it may stay that way.
Here are five more takeaways from the preseason rankings, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y5zncpfn.
In the last eight years, North Dakota State has entered the season at No. 1 six times (2013, 2015-19) or No. 2 twice (2012 and '14). The Bison have made 120 straight appearances in the rankings since 2010, including 113 in a row in the Top 10.
The Big Sky, CAA and Missouri Valley conference tied for the most preseason ranked teams with five each. Last season, the CAA set the single-season record with six playoff bids, the Big Sky was the only conference with three national quarterfinalists and the Missouri Valley was the only one to boast two semifinalists. Ten of the 13 conferences placed teams in the preseason Top 25, and the other three had one or more teams receiving votes.
NO. 2 HOTLY CONTESTED
While North Dakota State was a clear No. 1 heading into the season, James Madison edged South Dakota State for No. 2 in a four-point difference (3,635 to 3,631) that was the closest between consecutive spots in the Top 25. JMU collected 14 first-place votes compared to SDSU's one. The Jackrabbits, though, had more top-four votes.
Five teams that weren't ranked at the end of last season enter the new campaign in the Top 25, led by No. 15 Illinois State, which hasn't met lofty preseason expectations in recent seasons. Also moving into the rankings were No. 16 Indiana State, No. 19 Furman, No. 23 Sam Houston State and No. 25 Montana.
The inclusion of the five new teams came at the expense of three defending conference champions, Duquesne, ETSU and San Diego, plus Stony Brook and Dartmouth. Duquesne (Northeast) and San Diego (Pioneer) were the preseason favorites in their conferences.
Updated August 5, 2019