North Dakota State has been picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference crown in 2014. NDSU, the defending national champion, has won 24-straight games, and 43 of its past 45 games (going 14-1, 14-1, and 15-0).
The Bison earned 24 of a possible 39 first-place votes and 370 total points, in a poll conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors.
South Dakota State is picked second in the poll after tying for second place and representing the league in the FCS playoffs a year ago.
Perennial FCS power UNI is picked third in the poll after going 7-5 last year. UNI, NDSU and SDSU all received votes for first place.
Youngstown State (240 points) and Southern Illinois (237) were a close choice for the fourth- and fifth-place positions. The teams tied with SDSU and Missouri State for second place in 2013.
A pre-season favorite has claimed the league crown 16 times (in 28 previous polls). North Dakota State was picked to win the league last season.
In 2014, the Missouri Valley Football Conference is celebrating its 30th season. In its first 29 seasons the league owns five national crowns, including the past three seasons.
2014 Valley Football Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) ----- Pts.
1. North Dakota State (24) 370
2. South Dakota State (8) 330
3. UNI (7) 324
4. Youngstown State 240
5. Southern Illinois 237
6. Illinois State 197
7. Missouri State 180
8. South Dakota 121
9. Western Illinois 96
10. Indiana State 50
2014 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team
QB- Austin Sumner, SDSU 6-5 225 Sr. Brandon (S.D.) Valley High
RB- David Johnson, UNI 6-3 225 Sr. Clinton (Iowa) High
Zach Zenner, SDSU 6-0 220 Sr. Eagan (Minn.) High
FB- Andrew Bonnet, NDSU 6-3 245 Jr. Council Bluffs (Iowa) Underwood High
WR- Jason Schneider, SDSU 6-5 220 Sr. Andover (Minn.) High
Zach Vraa, NDSU 6-2 203 Sr. Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Rosemount
TE- MyCole Pruitt, SIU 6-3 255 Sr. St. Louis (Mo.) Kirkwood High
OL- Robert Booker, MSU 6-3 320 Jr. Ozark (Mo.) High
Zack Cooley, MSU 6-5 301 Sr. Lebanon (Mo.) High
Richard Galbierz, MSU 6-3 306 Sr. Fenton (Mo.) Fox High
Trevor Greger, SDSU 6-5 305 Sr. Wagner (S.D.) High
%Zack Johnson, NDSU 6-4 317 Jr. Apple Valley (Minn.) Eastview High
Jack Rummells, UNI 6-5 301 Sr. West Branch (Iowa) High
LS- Chris Highland, ILS 6-2 225 Sr. Normal (Ill.) Central Catholic High
PK- Thomas Kinney, SIU 5-8 175 Sr. McHenry (Ill.) Johnsburg / Winona State
DL- Kyle Emanuel, NDSU 6-3 246 Sr. Schuyler (Neb.) Central High
Drew Iddings, USD 6-6 283 Jr. Rapid City (S.D.) Stevens High
Cole Langer, SDSU 6-2 255 So. Dell Rapids (S.D.) High
Xavier Williams, UNI 6-4 311 Sr. Kansas City (Mo.) Grandview High
LB- Andrew Beisel, MSU 6-2 238 Sr. Fenton (Mo.) Rockwood Summit High
Auston Johnson, USD 6-0 240 Sr. Chino Hills (Calif.) El Camino College
Carlton Littlejohn, NDSU 6-1 216 Sr. Minneapolis (Minn.) North High
Pat Meehan, ILS 6-1 230 Jr. Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln-Way East
*Connor Underwood, INS 6-3 230 Jr. Washington (Ill.) Community High
DB- Martinez Davis, WIU 5-10 180 Sr. Madisonville (Ky.) Air Force Prep
Makinton Dorleant, UNI 5-11 185 Jr. Bradenton (Fla.) Lely / Maryland
Colten Heagle, NDSU 5-11 202 Sr. Appleton (Wis.) Kimberly High
Caleb Schaffitzel, MSU 6-0 217 Sr. Fair Grove (Mo.) High
P- Ben LeCompte, NDSU 5-10 200 Jr. Barrington (Ill.) High
RS- Andre Stubbs, YSU 5-7 165 Jr. Maple Heights (Ohio) High
QB Sawyer Kollmorgen (UNI); TB Martin Ruiz (YSU); FB Drew Potter (USD); WR Kevin Vereen Jr. (UNI); LS Nathan Gibbs (YSU); OL Jermaine Barton (ILS); LB Kevin Kintzel (WIU); LB T.J. Lally (SDSU); DB/RS Christian Dudzik (NDSU).
- Every school with minimum of one first-team selection. NDSU represented with a league-high 8 total selections. UNI (6), South Dakota State (6) and Missouri State (5) were next best.
*Connor Underwood (INS) received votes for DL, but playing LB this year.
%Zack Johnson (NDSU) selected to team but out in 2014 with an injury.