CSU is the only Big South Conference team in the STATS poll and is the highest ranked team from the state of SC.
For the fifth time in the past six seasons, the Sam Houston State Bearkats will start off the season in the top five of the STATS FCS national rankings after the publication released its initial poll on Monday.
Illinois State advanced to the FCS Playoffs for the third-consecutive season in 2016, marking the first such streak in program history.
SIU returns 15 starters off last season's 4-7 squad, as well as 50 lettermen. Leading the way on the sidelines in his first season as head coach will be Mark Tucker, CSU's quarterback's coach for the last four years. On the way to winning their second national title, the Dukes ended North Dakota State's five-year championship run in the semifinals.
Defending national champion James Madison was No. 1 with 134 of the 163 first-place votes and 4,034 overall points.
South Dakota State will enter the 2017 college football season from a vantage point they've never experienced before.
Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason favorite North Dakota State was second with 3,874 points, followed by Sam Houston State (3,610), South Dakota State (3,385) and Eastern Washington (3,270).
Northern Iowa was 18th, Illinois State was 20th and Western Illinois was 25th in the poll.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga opens the 2017 season ranked No. 12 in the STATS FCS Top 25.