North Dakota State has been picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference crown in 2013. NDSU, the defending national champion, has won 28 of its past 30 games (going 14-1 each year). The Bison were a unanimous choice to repeat, earning 39 of a possible 39 first-place votes, in a poll conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors. The Bison return 18 total starters from a team that went 14-1 overall and 7-1 in the conference last year.
South Dakota State is picked second in the poll after finishing in second place and representing the league in the FCS playoffs a year ago. SDSU returns 15 starters from last year's 9-4 team.
Perennial FCS power UNI is picked third in the poll after going 5-6 last year. Before falling from the Top 25 rankings last year in October, the Panthers had been ranked among the nation's elite for a league-record 99-straight weeks.
Although the voters all agreed that NDSU is their top choice, there was a wide variance for the league's other nine teams, as seven teams were picked to finish in five or more different positions.
A pre-season favorite has claimed the league crown 15 times (in 27 previous polls). North Dakota State was picked to win the league last season.
2013 Valley Football Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. North Dakota State (39) 390
2. South Dakota State 323
3. UNI 269
4. Illinois State 264
5. Youngstown State 253
6. Indiana State 197
7. Southern Illinois 188
8. Missouri State 123
9. Western Illinois 77
10. South Dakota 61
2013 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team
Name, School Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown / High School
QB- Brock Jensen, NDSU 6-3 226 Sr. Waupaca (Wis.) High
RB- Shakir Bell, INS 5-8 185 Sr. Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central
RB- David Johnson, UNI 6-3 214 Jr. Clinton (Iowa) High
RB- Zach Zenner, SDSU 6-0 215 Jr. Eagan (Minn.) High
FB- Jordan Neukirch, ILS 6-2 235 Sr. Algonquin (Ill.) Huntley High
WR- Dorian Buford, MSU 6-0 184 Sr. St. Louis (Mo.) McCluer North
WR- Ryan Smith, NDSU 5-7 178 Sr. Wahpeton (N.D.) High
TE- MyCole Pruitt, SIU 6-3 250 Jr. St. Louis (Mo.) Kirkwood High
OL- Chris Elkins, YSU 6-3 300 Sr. Beaver Falls (Pa.) High
OL- Jimmy Holtschlag, WIU 6-5 300 Sr. Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame
OL- Dan Kruger, UNI 6-5 320 Sr. Wesley (Iowa) West Hancock High
OL- Billy Turner, NDSU 6-6 311 Sr. Shoreview (Minn.) Mounds View High
OL- Bryan Witzmann, SDSU 6-7 300 Sr. Houlton (Wis.) Somerset High
PK- Adam Keller, NDSU 6-1 200 Jr. Lewisberry (Pa.) Red Land High
DL- Cole Jirik, NDSU 6-4 245 Sr. Northfield (Minn.) High
DL- Doug Peete, SDSU 6-3 255 Sr. Olathe (Kan.) Olathe North High
DL- Leevon Perry, NDSU 6-3 276 Sr. Cottage Grove (Minn.) Saint Agnes HS
DL- Colton Underwood, ILS 6-4 255 Sr. Washington (Ill.) High
LB- Grant Olson, NDSU 6-0 222 Sr. Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata High
LB- T.J. Lally, SDSU 6-0 225 So. Chicago (Ill.) Marmion Academy
LB- J.J. Raffelson, WIU 6-3 235 So. Lake Zurich (Ill.) High
LB- Tyler Starr, USD 6-5 230 Sr. Little Rock (Iowa) George-Little Rock
DB- Calvin Burnett, INS 5-9 160 Sr. Orlando (Fla.) Freedom High/Hofstra
DB- Martinez Davis, WIU 5-10 180 Jr. Madisonville (Ky.) Air Force Prep
DB- Caleb Schaffitzel, MSU 6-0 214 Jr. Fair Grove (Mo.) High
DB- Marcus Williams, NDSU 5-11 197 Sr. Minneapolis (Minn.) Hopkins High
P- Ben LeCompte, NDSU 5-10 195 So. Barrington (Ill.) High
RS- Ryan Smith, NDSU 5-7 178 Sr. Wahpeton (N.D.) High
QB Sawyer Kollmorgen, UNI; QB Kurt Hess, Youngstown State; WR Brett LeMaster, UNI; OL Josh Aladenoye, Illinois State; OL Jermaine Barton, Illinois State; OL FN Lutz III, Indiana State; PK Tyler Sievertsen, UNI; DL Anthony Grady, MIssouri State; LB Jake Farley, UNI; LB Travis Beck, North Dakota State; P Austin Pucylowski, Southern Illinois.
*Every school with minimum of one first-team selection. NDSU represented with a league high 10 total selections. UNI (6 total selections), South Dakota State (4) and Illinois State (4) were next best.