Last season, South Dakota State came within a victory of playing for its first-ever national championship in football. So it makes perfect sense that the Jackrabbits would be just off the top spot of the 2018 FCS pre-season poll.

SDSU is third in the STATS FCS pre-season rankings.

The Jackrabbits 11-3 mark last season was the best in school history and ended in a semifinal loss at James Madison. The Dukes, who went on to lose the FCS title game to North Dakota State are second to the Bison to start the season.

NDSU grabbed 151 of the 157 first place votes cast.

SDSU's third-place showing is its highest in a pre-season poll and matches the third-place standing the Jackrabbits attained in the 2017 season-ending STATS poll.

Three other Missouri Valley Football Conference teams appeared in the pre-season top 25: Northern Iowa (13th, Illinois State (21st), and Youngstown State (25th).

South Dakota was the first team out of the top 25.

The Jackrabbits are scheduled to kick off the 2018 season Sept. 1 at Iowa State. SDSU's home opener is slated for Sept. 8 against Montana State.

The STATS FCS Preseason Top 25:

1. North Dakota State

2. James Madison

3. South Dakota State

4. Sam Houston State

5. Kennesaw State

6. Jacksonville State

7. New Hampshire

8. Weber State

9. Eastern Washington

10. Wofford

11. Samford

12. Elon

13. Northern Iowa

14. North Carolina A&T

15. Delaware

16. Central Arkansas

17. McNeese

18. Nicholls

19. Villanova

20. Stony Brook

21. Illinois State

22. Austin Peay

23. Furman

24. Montana

25. Youngstown State

Others Receiving Votes: South Dakota