FARGO, N.D. — Perennial Football Championship Subdivision power North Dakota State sits atop this year’s Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll, but narrowly.

The Bison received 21 first-place votes and 380 total points to edge South Dakota State, which got 19 first-place votes and 379 total points. The two schools were conference co-champions last season.

The poll is conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors. The No. 3 spot is held by Youngstown State, which reached the FCS title game last season.

Northern Iowa and Illinois State round out the top five, followed by Western Illinois, South Dakota, Southern Illinois, Missouri State and Indiana State.

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