5 MVFC teams ranked in preseason Top 25

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The Missouri Valley Football Conference has five teams ranked in the HERO Sports Top-25 preseason poll, including the top three spots.  North Dakota State, which holds an FCS-record 37-game winning streak, holds the top spot in the poll, followed by South Dakota State (2), UNI (3), Illinois State (12) and Southern Illinois (22).

Founded in 1985, the Missouri Valley Football Conference has shaped itself into the nation’s premier NCAA FCS conference, and this fall the league undergoes a facelift as perennial FCS power North Dakota joins the league and expands membership to 11 institutions for the first time in conference history.  In 2019, the league demonstrated its superiority again as four MVFC teams earned selection to the NCAA Division I Championship.  North Dakota State won its eighth national championship in nine years, and the MVFC’s four teams went a combined 8-3 in the playoffs with only one of those losses at the hands of a non-conference team.

Last year, the league fashioned a 27-19 non-conference record and won the Big Sky-MVFC Challenge Series for the third-straight year.  The season featured another MVFC win against an FBS school as Southern Illinois handled UMass, 45-20.   Valley schools have had at least one win against an FBS opponent in each of the past 10 seasons, had 19-such victories from 2010-19 and the league has a total of 46 FBS wins in MVFC history.  All 11 league teams will face an FBS opponent in 2020.   And this fall, the Big Sky-MVFC Challenge Series renews for a fourth-straight year, with six matchups on the regular-season slate.

In 2019, four league teams finished the season ranked in the Top 10, while North Dakota State went wire-to-wire as the nation’s top team, capping its perfect 16-0 season with a 28-20 win against No. 2 James Madison in the title game.  The 16-0 season marked the first in college football in the modern era and the first since Yale in 1894.  In the process, NDSU extended its winning streak to an FCS-record 37-straight games.  Other MVFC teams ranked in the final poll included UNI (5), Illinois State (7) and South Dakota State (10).  Each represented the league in the NCAA playoffs.

HERO Sports Preseason Top 25

1. North Dakota State

2. South Dakota State

3. UNI

4. Sacramento State

5. James Madison

6. Weber State

7. Montana

8. Villanova

9. Montana State

10. Central Arkansas

11. Kennesaw State

12. Illinois State

13. Austin Peay

14. Furman

15. Delaware

16. Princeton

17. New Hampshire

18. Eastern Washington

19. North Carolina A&T

20. Florida A&M

21. The Citadel

22. Southern Illinois

23. Sam Houston State

24. Albany

25. Yale


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