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2015 FCS Pre-Season Top-25 Rankings

August 4, 2015
RB King Frazier (#22) leads his teammates through first-day drills for four-time defending champion North Dakota State. (photo courtesy of NDSU Athletics)

RB King Frazier (#22) leads his teammates through first-day drills for four-time defending champion North Dakota State. (photo courtesy of NDSU Athletics)

Four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State leads the way in the 2015 FCS Pre-Season Top-25 Rankings. With nine Bison players garnering pre-season all-conference or honorable mention honors, the powerhouse of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, under second-year head coach Chris Klieman, looks primed to add another championship to its, already, amazing stable. Over the past four seasons, the Bison have amassed a 58-3 record, easily the best in the FCS classification.

 
Sean McDonnell’s New Hampshire Wildcats open the season second in the rankings following an undefeated season in the Colonial. Despite losing six starters on each side of the ball, UNH looks to be the favorite to win the conference’s automatic bid in 2015 behind pre-season all-conference picks Akil Anderson, Casey DeAndrade and Tad McNeely.

Coastal Carolina checks in at third behind the reigning Big South Conference offensive player of the year, QB Alex Ross. Head Coach Joe Moglia has much to look forward to in 2015, as Ross is joined by seven fellow Chanticleers on the Big South’s pre-season all-conference team. Coastal’s past two seasons have ended with playoff losses at North Dakota State, so expect Moglia’s players to have that in the back of their minds as they make their way through the 2015 season.

Sitting in fourth place is Illinois State, last year’s runner-up in the FCS title game vs. North Dakota State. Head Coach Brock Spack’s Redbirds, arguably, have the most electrifying player in the FCS ranks in RB Marshaun Coprich, who led the nation in 2014 in rushing yards (2.274) and touchdowns (27). Coprich is joined on the MVFC pre-season squad by three teammates: QB Tre Robertson, LB Pat Meehan and DL Teddy Corwin.

Rounding out the pre-season top-five is Beau Baldwin’s Eastern Washington Eagles. The Eags have, possibly, the biggest hole to fill as two-time Payton Award runner-up QB Vernon Adams, Jr. transferred to Oregon during the spring. Jordan West will replace Adams under center, as he did last season when the Eagles’ starting QB went down with an ankle injury. EWU WR Cooper Kupp is one of four Eagles on the Big Sky’s pre-season all-conference team, along with G Aaron Neary, T Clay DeBord and DE Samson Ebukam. Oddly enough, the Eagles open the 2015 season at Oregon, Adams’ new team but, at press time, Jeff Lockie has been named the Ducks’ starting QB.

1. North Dakota State (2014: 15-1, 7-1 MVFC) Season Opener at #9 Montana (9-5, 6-2 Big Sky) 8/29

2. New Hampshire (2014: 12-2, 8-0 CAA) Season Opener at San Jose State (3-9, 2-6 Mountain West/W) 9/3

3. Coastal Carolina (2014: 12-2, 4-1 Big South) Season Opener at Furman (3-9, 2-5 Southern) 9/5

4. Illinois State (2014: 13-2, 7-1 MVFC) Season Opener at Iowa (7-6, 4-4 Big Ten/W) 9/5

5. Eastern Washington (2014: 11-3, 7-1 Big Sky) Season Opener at Oregon (13-2, 8-1 Pac-12/N) 9/5

6. Villanova (2014: 11-3, 7-1 CAA) Season Opener at Connecticut (2-10, 1-7 American) 9/3

7. Northern Iowa (2014: 9-5, 6-2 MVFC) Season Opener at Iowa State (2-10, 0-9 Big 12) 9/5

8. Sam Houston State (2014: 11-5, 7-1 Southland) Season Opener at Texas Tech (4-8, 2-7 Big 12) 9/5

9. Montana (2014: 9-5, 6-2 Big Sky) Season Opener vs. #1 North Dakota State (15-1, 7-1 MVFC) 8/29

10. Jacksonville State (2014: 10-2, 8-0 OVC) Season Opener at #12 Chattanooga (10-4, 7-0 Southern) 9/5

11. South Dakota State (2014: 9-5, 5-3 MVFC) Season Opener at Kansas (3-9, 1-8 Big 12) 9/5

12. Chattanooga (2014: 10-4, 7-0 Southern) Season Opener vs. #10 Jacksonville State (10-2, 8-0 OVC) 9/5

13. Southeastern Louisiana (2014: 9-4, 7-1 Southland) Season Opener at Northwestern State (6-6, 4-4 Southland) 9/3

14. James Madison (2014: 9-4, 6-2 CAA) Season Opener vs. Morehead State (4-8, 3-5 Pioneer) 9/5

15. Fordham (2014: 11-3, 6-0 Patriot) Season Opener at Army (4-8, IND) 9/4

16. Richmond (2014: 9-5, 5-3 CAA) Season Opener at Maryland (7-6, 4-4 Big Ten/E) 9/5

17. Harvard (2014: 10-0, 7-0 Ivy) Season Opener at Rhode Island (1-11, 1-7 CAA) 9/19

18. Liberty (2014: 9-5, 4-1 Big South) Season Opener vs. Delaware State (2-10, 2-6 MEAC) 9/5

19. Eastern Kentucky (2014: 9-4, 6-2 OVC) Season Opener vs. Valparaiso (4-8, 2-6 Pioneer) 9/3

20. Stephen F. Austin (2014: 8-5, 5-3 Southland) Season Opener vs. Northern Arizona (7-5, 5-3 Big Sky) 9/5

21. Indiana State (2014: 8-6, 4-4 MVFC) Season Opener vs. Butler (4-7, 2-6 Pioneer) 9/5

22. Sacred Heart (2014: 9-3, 5-1 NEC) Season Opener vs. St. Anselm (6-5, 5-4 NE Ten – D2) 9/5

23. Youngstown State (2014: 7-5, 4-4 MVFC) Season Opener at Pittsburgh (6-7, 4-4 ACC/C) 9/5

24. William & Mary (2014: 7-5, 4-4 CAA) Season Opener at Lafayette (5-6, 3-3 Patriot) 9/5

25. Bethune-Cookman (2014: 9-3, 6-2 MEAC) Season Opener at Miami (6-7, 3-5 ACC/C) 9/5

Also Receiving Consideration (2014 records):

Southern Illinois (6-6, 3-5 MVFC), Morgan State (7-6, 6-2 MEAC), Montana State (8-5, 6-2 Big Sky), North Carolina A&T (9-3, 6-2 MEAC), Northern Arizona (7-5, 5-3 Big Sky), Idaho State (8-4, 6-2 Big Sky), McNeese State (6-5, 4-4 Southland), Bucknell (8-3, 4-2 Patriot), Yale (8-2, 5-2 Ivy), Charleston Southern (8-4, 3-2 Big South), Bryant (8-3, 4-2 NEC), Lamar (8-4, 5-3 Southland), Samford (7-4, 5-2 Southern), Cal Poly (7-5, 5-3 Big Sky), Alcorn State (10-3, 7-2 SWAC), San Diego (9-3, 7-1 Pioneer), South Carolina State (8-4, 6-2 MEAC), Dartmouth (8-2, 6-1 Ivy), Wagner (7-4, 5-1 NEC), Sacramento State (7-5, 4-4 Big Sky)

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