North Dakota State ended the 2017 season winning their sixth FCS national title in seven years. The Bison begin 2018 the same way they ended last year, at No. 1. North Dakota State becomes the first team ranked No. 1 in the first-ever AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. The AFCA begins administration of the FCS poll for the first time, which had been run by the Southern Conference. The AFCA also administers coaches’ polls in Division II and Division III.
Last season’s national runner-up, James Madison, starts the season at No. 2. The Dukes are followed by South Dakota State at No. 3, Sam Houston State at No. 4 and Kennesaw State rounding out the Top 5.
There are two Top 25 matchups in the first week of action with No. 6 Jacksonville State and No. 14 North Carolina A&T starting the year off on August 25 in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff. The second matchup comes a week later on September 1 when No. 11 Northern Iowa travels to No. 25 Montana.
2018 American Football Coaches Association Preseason FCS Coaches’ Poll August 13, 2018
|Rank||School (1st Place Votes)||2017 Record||Pts.||2017 Rank*||Season Opener||Head Coach|
|1||North Dakota St. (23)||14-1||647||1||Sept. 1 vs. Cal Poly||Chris Klieman|
|2||James Madison (3)||14-1||623||2||Sept. 1 at NC State||Mike Houston|
|3||South Dakota St.||11-3||579||4||Sept. 1 at Iowa St.||John Stiegelmeier|
|4||Sam Houston St.||12-2||557||3||Sept. 8 vs. Prairie View A&M||K.C. Keeler|
|5||Kennesaw St.||12-2||543||9||Aug. 30 at Georgia St.||Brian Bohannon|
|6||Jacksonville St.||10-3||530||10||Aug. 25 vs. No. 14 North Carolina A&T||John Grass|
|7||Eastern Washington||7-4||454||22||Sept. 1 vs. Central Washington||Aaron Best|
|8||Weber St.||11-3||446||5||Aug. 30 at Utah||Jay Hill|
|9||New Hampshire||9-5||430||15||Aug. 30 at Maine||Sean McDonnell|
|10||Samford||8-4||393||17||Aug. 30 vs. Shorter||Chris Hatcher|
|11||Wofford||10-3||340||7||Sept. 1 vs. The Citadel||Josh Conklin|
|12||Northern Iowa||8-5||338||19||Sept. 1 at No. 25 Montana||Mark Farley|
|13||Elon||8-4||319||21||Sept. 1 at South Florida||Curt Cignetti|
|14||North Carolina A&T||12-0||292||6||Aug. 25 vs. No. 6 Jacksonville St.||Sam Washington|
|15||Central Arkansas||10-2||269||8||Sept. 1 at Tulsa||Nathan Brown|
|16||Delaware||7-4||257||NR||Aug. 30 vs. Rhode Island||Danny Rocco|
|17||Nicholls St.||8-4||241||23||Sept. 1 at Kansas||Tim Rebowe|
|18||McNeese St.||9-2||187||18||Sept. 1 at Northern Colorado||Lance Guidry|
|19||Villanova||5-6||165||NR||Sept. 1 at Temple||Mark Ferrante|
|20||Illinois St.||6-5||144||NR||Sept. 1 vs. Saint Xavier||Brock Spack|
|21||Furman||8-5||128||20||Sept. 1 at Clemson||Clay Hendrix|
|22||Stony Brook||10-3||120||11||Sept. 1 at Air Force||Chuck Priore|
|23||Austin Peay||8-4||119||NR||Sept. 1 at Georgia||Will Healy|
|24||Youngstown St.||6-5||88||NR||Sept. 1 vs. Butler||Bo Pelini|
|25||Montana||7-4||67||NR||Sept. 1 vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa||Bobby Hauck|
*– Ranking in final FCS Coaches Poll of 2017
Others Receiving Votes: Idaho, 41; Northern Arizona, 36; Yale, 22; Grambling St., 14; Monmouth (N.J.), 12; Southern Utah, 11; Sacramento St., 9; Colgate, 8; South Dakota, 6; San Diego, 5; Richmond, 4; Western Illinois, 3; Western Carolina, 2; Lehigh, 1.