BILLINGS — Montana State is ranked in the top 15 in both the Athlon Sports and Hero Sports preseason Top 25 FCS polls released Tuesday. Montana came in at No. 23 in the Athlon poll.

MSU, coming off an 8-5 season in which it won its first playoff game in six years, has been tabbed No. 8 by Athlon and No. 14 by Hero Sports. Montana, which went 6-5 last season and missed the postseason, is not listed in the Hero Sports rankings.

Athlon ranked five Big Sky Conference teams in its poll. Eastern Washington, last year’s national runner-up, comes in at No. 4 while UC Davis, a playoff quarterfinalist in 2018, is No. 5. Weber State checked in at No. 9.

North Dakota State, winners of the previous two FCS titles and seven in all, is ranked No. 1 by Athlon.

Hero Sports ranked UC Davis third and EWU seventh. Weber State was ranked No. 11.

James Madison, the 2016 FCS national champion, is slotted No. 1 by Hero Sports. North Dakota State is No. 2.

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