SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Coming off a 2016 season in which it went 14-1 and was crowned national champion, James Madison University was selected first overall in the 2017 FCS preseason coaches poll.
The Dukes received 20 first-place votes, accumulating a total of 642 points, and are led by senior quarterback Bryan Schor. Schor was named the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, throwing for 29 touchdowns with just six interceptions and adding 10 more scores on the ground. Including Schor, JMU returns three All-Americans and 14 starters for the 2017 campaign.
North Dakota State (12-2) was slated to finish second, receiving a pair of first-place votes, while Sam Houston State (12-1) was voted third, totaling three first-place votes.
Eastern Washington and Jacksonville State round out the top five, followed by the final team receiving a first-place vote, South Dakota State, at No. 6.
Illinois State and Northern Iowa both cracked the preseason top 25 after finishing 2016 unranked.
The 2017 preseason poll features teams from nine conferences, with the Missouri Valley leading the way with five schools. The Big Sky, CAA and the Southern Conference each boast four schools 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.
Preseason FCS Coaches Poll (Aug. 8, 2017)
|Points||2016 Final||2016 Record|
|Team (First-Place Votes)|
|1||James Madison (20)||642||1||14-1|
|2||North Dakota State (2)||618||3||12-2|
|3||Sam Houston State (3)||577||5||12-1|
|6||South Dakota State (1)||479||7||9-4|
|24||North Carolina Central||83||19||9-3|
|25||North Carolina A&T||78||20||9-3|
Others receiving votes: Fordham (63), Albany (62), Western Illinois (54), Montana (51), Northern Arizona (42), McNeese State (34), San Diego (33), Tennessee State (26), Kennesaw State (17), William & Mary (16), Harvard (16), South Dakota (14), Saint Francis (8), Southeastern Louisiana (7), Dayton (7), Nicholls State (6), Princeton (5), Prairie View A&M (5), Colgate (5), Towson (2), Eastern Illinois (2), Southern (2), Southern Utah (2), Mercer (1).