Four-time defending Football Championship Subdivision winner North Dakota State is favored to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
A poll of league coaches, media and sports information directors released Monday shows that NDSU earned 32 of a possible 40 first-place votes for 389 points. Illinois State, the team the Bison edged in last year's FCS championship, received the other eight first-place votes and 366 points.
Northern Iowa is picked third with 300 points, followed by Youngstown State with 265, South Dakota State with 251, Indiana State with 180, Southern Illinois with 143, Western Illinois with 139, Missouri State with 91 and South Dakota with 66.
NDSU and Illinois state shared the conference title a year ago. The Missouri Valley has six national titles in 30 years as a conference.