HAMMOND — When Southeastern Louisiana opened up fall practice Monday, it did so with the highest-ranked football team the school has had in more than 50 years.

The defending Southland Conference champions were selected No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches poll released Monday. Southeastern peaked last season with its No. 6 finish in the final poll. The Lions previously cracked the top three in various polls in both the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

The two teams that have claimed the past four FCS national championships were the only teams ranked above Southeastern. Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State is No. 1 spot, and 2010 champion Eastern Washington is No. 2.

McNeese State is ranked No. 9, the same spot it finished 2013.

Preseason FCS coaches poll

With first-place voates, last season’s record, total points and last season’s final rank:

RightAlign.91RightAlign.109RightAlign.125?1. North Dakota St. (18) 15-0 636 1

?2. E. Washington (6) 12-3 615 3

?3. Southeastern La. (1) 11-3 542 6

?4. New Hampshire 10-5 510 5

?5. Montana 10-3 505 8

?6. Coastal Carolina 12-3 447 7

?7. Towson (1) 13-3 438 2

?8. Jacksonville State 12-2 425 12

?9. McNeese State 10-3 424 9

10. South Dakota State 9-5 332 14

11. Eastern Illinois 12-2 314 4

12. Fordham 12-2 305 10

13. Villanova 6-5 287 —

14. Sam Houston State 9-5 277 13

15. Northern Iowa 7-5 263 —

16. Chattanooga 8-4 238 25

17. Tennessee State 10-4 237 17

18. Furman 8-6 188 21

19. Montana State 7-5 170 20

20. Maine 10-3 169 11

21. Youngstown State 8-4 162 19

22. William & Mary 7-5 159 —

23. Bethune-Cookman 10-3 136 16

24. Richmond 6-6 118 —

25. Northern Arizona 9-3 116 15

Others receiving votes: Samford 95, Southern Illinois 59, Harvard 42, Charleston Southern 39, James Madison 30, Princeton 24, Southern Utah 20, Alcorn State 16, Liberty 16, Delaware 15, South Carolina State 15, Cal Poly 14, Missouri State 12, Sacred Heart 10, Wofford 8, Central Arkansas 7, Alabama State 6, Lehigh 6, Eastern Kentucky 4, Holy Cross 1, Illinois State 1, Jacksonville 1.