FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Five-time defending national champion North Dakota State has been tabbed as the favorite to win this year's Missouri Valley Football Conference title.

The Bison earned 37 of a possible 39 first-place votes in the preseason poll conducted among the league's coaches, sports information directors and select media representatives.

Northern Iowa received the other two first-place votes to finish second in the poll, followed by South Dakota State, Illinois State and Youngstown State.

Rounding out the top 10 are Western Illinois, South Dakota, Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Missouri State.

NDSU captured its fifth consecutive Football Championship Subdivision crown in January with a 37-10 win over Jacksonville State.

This is the fifth straight season that the Bison have topped the conference preseason poll.

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