National Champions North Dakota State is ranked No. 1 with the runner's up, Sam Houston State, coming in at No. 2. Georgia Southern, one of the 2011 playoff semifinalists, stands in the No. 3 spot with Big Sky Conference co-champion Montana State in at No. 4.
The Colonial Athletic Association playoff quarterfinalist James Madison comes in at the No. 5 spot with three-time national titlist Appalachian State tabbing the No. 6 position. Towson and Old Dominion come in at No. 7 and 8 with UNI and Montana rounding out the top-10.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference has five different teams representing the conference in the preseason poll including two in the top-10. The three remaining teams, Youngstown State, Illinois State and Indiana State, round out the MVFC teams in the top-25 represented in the College Sporting News preseason poll.
UNI is coming off another stellar season by capturing back-to back MVFC titles in 2011 following a 7-1 run through the league. The Panthers also achieved head coach Mark Farley's sixth 10-plus win season since taking over in 2001.
The Panthers posted a mark of 4-2 against Ranked foes in 2011, including a 28-21 win over No. 12 ranked Wofford in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
College Sporting News also announced their preseason All-America teams with UNI tabbing two players on the squads. Tyler Sievertsen earned a second team nod for his performance during the 2011 season and Varmah Sonie and John Hubbard earned third team recognition.
UNI will open their season against Big Ten member Wisconsin on Sept. 1 in Madison, Wisc. The game is set to kick-off at 2:30 p.m. CT.
College Sporting News 2012 FCS Preseason Top 25
1. North Dakota State
2. Sam Houston State
3. Georgia Southern
4. Montana State
5. James Madison
6. Appalachian State
8. Old Dominion
9. Northern Iowa
12. Eastern Washington
14. New Hampshire
16. Stony Brook
17. Youngstown State
18. Illinois State
20. Eastern Kentucky
21. Central Arkansas
22. Indiana State
24. Murray State
25. Stephen F. Austin
Others receiving votes: Bethune-Cookman, Harvard, Chattanooga, Grambling State, Norfolk State, Southern Illinois, Villanova, Jacksonville State.