The Bison once again topping a list as the expected 2018 champions.

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- The Bison once again topping a list as the expected 2018 champions.

The STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 naming the defending national champions after they take 151 of 157 first-place votes.

In second, national runner-ups, James Madison.

A big piece helping drive this year's expectations is the high number of returning playmakers the Bison roster boasts.

On defense that includes Greg Menard. The redshirt senior returns from an injury sustained exactly one year ago.

While he said the knee feels great and his confidence in the strength he's rebuilt is there, he did admit he had some nerves taking the field again.

"It's a long process that you go through," Menard said of his recovery. "At first you can barely walk and then you start making some cuts but you feel like you're still not putting all your weight on it and then finally getting back to this, wondering I guess will you be the same, but once you get going it's like nothing ever happened."

Menard said he's built a great deal of strength in his upper body and is quickly gaining his foot speed back.