ST. LOUIS (NDSU Athletics) -- North Dakota State has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason favorite in a poll conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors released Monday, July 29. NDSU has been picked first in the preseason poll for eight straight seasons.
North Dakota State has earned at least a share of the league title for eight straight years with four outright championships including 2017 and 2018. This year, NDSU received 32 of 40 first-place votes and 392 total points in the preseason poll.
South Dakota State earned the second spot in the poll, finishing with 348 total points while picking up four first-place votes. Illinois State (289 points), Indiana State (279) and Northern Iowa (266) were tightly bunched for third, fourth and fifth place, while Illinois State (3) and Indiana State (1) also received first-place mentions.
The second half of the poll is led by South Dakota, which came in sixth place with 176 points followed by Youngstown State seventh (153), Western Illinois eighth (128), Southern Illinois ninth (89) and Missouri State (80).
A preseason favorite has claimed the league crown 21 times in 33 previous polls. North Dakota State was picked to win the league last season, and the Bison earned both the league title and the national title following a 38-24 win over Eastern Washington in the NCAA Division I Football Championship game in Frisco, Texas.
North Dakota State opens the 2019 season at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, against Butler University at Target Field in Minneapolis presented by Pioneer. Tickets are available for as low as $20 and can be purchased by visiting TwinsBaseball.com/football, calling 612-33-TWINS (612-338-9467) or 800-33-TWINS (800-338-9467), or visiting the Target Field ticket office.
2019 Missouri Valley Football Conference Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. North Dakota State (32) 392
2. South Dakota State (4) 348
3. Illinois State (3) 289
4. Indiana State (1) 279
5. Northern Iowa 266
6. South Dakota 176
7. Youngstown State 153
8. Western Illinois 128
9. Southern Illinois 89
10. Missouri State 80