NDSU Bison back at No. 1 in FCS coaches’ preseason poll

Associated Press
NDSU Bison Football

(AP)- For the second consecutive season, North Dakota State will start the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the FCS Coaches’ Preseason Poll.

The Bison are coming off back-to-back FCS National Championships in 2011 and 2012, going 28-2 during that stretch with victories against FBS schools Minnesota and Colorado State. North Dakota State defeated Sam Houston State 39-13 in the FCS National Championship to cap a 14-1 campaign in 2012, the second consecutive season in which the two teams met in the title game.

The Bison will return 18 starters, including All-American selections Billy Turner at tackle and Marcus Williams at cornerback. The Bison also bring back starting quarterback and 2012 FCS National Championship MVP Brock Jensen who threw for 2,331 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.

NDSU received 23 of 26 first place votes to earn the top spot in the opening poll of the 2013 campaign. Montana State earned the No. 2 preseason ranking and received one first-place vote after finishing 11-2 in 2012. Fellow Big Sky member Eastern Washington is third in the poll, followed by Sam Houston State. Sam Houston State earned a first place vote, as did Eastern Kentucky, which sits at No. 19 in the poll.

Wofford holds down the No. 5 spot, while Central Arkansas, South Dakota State, New Hampshire, Villanova and Illinois State round out the top 10.

Six Colonial Athletic Association schools earned a top-25 selection, the most from any conference. The Big Sky and Missouri Valley each placed five teams in the poll. In all, nine conferences had representatives in the preseason poll.

The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.

The following programs are ineligible for the Coaches Poll due to their transition to the FBS- Appalachian State, Charlotte, Georgia Southern and Old Dominion.