BROOKINGS, S.D. ( — The South Dakota State University football team has achieved its highest-ever ranking in a preseason poll, earning the No. 2 spot in the initial Football Championship Subdivision rankings conducted by HERO Sports that were announced Wednesday.

SDSU was sandwiched in between two other Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents; defending national champion North Dakota State holds the top spot, with Northern Iowa checking in at No. 3. Rounding out the top five are Sacramento State and James Madison.

The Jackrabbits made their eighth consecutive appearance in the FCS playoffs during the 2019 season, finishing with an 8-5 overall record. SDSU was awarded a top-eight seed in the postseason for the fourth year in a row.

Previously, SDSU’s highest preseason ranking was third in the STATS FCS poll in both 2018 and 2019.

SDSU, which returns six starters on offense and eight on defense, is scheduled to open the 2020 season by hosting Butler on Sept. 5.

1. North Dakota State
2. South Dakota State
3. Northern Iowa
4. Sacramento State
5. James Madison
6. Weber State
7. Montana
8. Villanova
9. Montana State
10. Central Arkansas
11. Kennesaw State
12. Illinois State
13. Austin Peay
14. Furman
15. Delaware
16. Princeton
17. New Hampshire
18. Eastern Washington
19. North Carolina A&T
20. Florida A&M
21. The Citadel
22. Southern Illinois
23. Sam Houston State
24. Albany
25. Yale



(Brent Nathaniel, Watertown Radio Sports)