FCS voters think the 2018 season will play out exactly like 2017, apparently.

After North Dakota State knocked off defending champion James Madison to win its six national championship in seven seasons, the Bison topped the STATS FCS preseason Top 25, with James Madison checking in at No. 2.

The trend follows patterns in other divisions. Defending champion Alabama topped the FBS Coaches’ Poll, and defending champion Mount Union checked in at No. 1 in the preseason Division III rankings.

“What you’ve done in the past doesn’t help you as far as what you’re gonna do this year,” NDSU Chris Klieman said. The Bison are 97-8 since 2011, including a 26-1 mark in FCS playoffs games.

South Dakota State came in at No. 3, followed by perennial contender Sam Houston State. Kennesaw State rounded out the top five, a landmark achievement for Brian Bohannon’s program just four seasons after launching football. The Owls went 12-2, won the Big South and reached the FCS quarterfinals in 2017.

The full poll:

1. North Dakota State — 3,919 total points (151 first-place votes)
2. James Madison — 3,764 (6)
3. South Dakota State — 3,470
4. Sam Houston State — 3,228
5. Kennesaw State — 3,120
6. Jacksonville State — 3,041
7. New Hampshire — 2,873
8. Weber State — 2,815
9. Eastern Washington — 2,541
10. Wofford — 2,087
11. Samford — 2,003
12. Elon — 1,812
13. Northern Iowa — 1,612
14. North Carolina A&T — 1,480
15. Delaware — 1,470
16. Central Arkansas — 1,383
17. McNeese — 1,133
18. Nicholls — 1,056
19. Villanova — 920
20. Stony Brook — 798
21. Illinois State — 795
22. Austin Peay — 709
23. Furman — 685
24. Montana — 626
25. Youngstown State — 541