CSN is the oldest and largest news service organization devoted solely to the FCS.
McNeese State stands 13th in the rankings while two-time defending league champion Stephen F. Austin is 18th and Central Arkansas 25th.
Sam Houston, with 19 starters returning from a young squad that won six of its final nine games last year, was one of nine FCS teams listed in the also receiving votes category.
Western Illinois, which represented the Missouri Valley Conference in the NCAA Division I national playoffs last year, was listed No. 21 in the rankings. The Leathernecks will be Sam Houston's opponent in the 2011 season opener for both teams Thursday Sept. 1 at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.
Appalachian State, the winner of three consecutive national championships from 2005-07 and coming off two quarterfinal appearances and one semifinal finish in the past three years, is ranked No. 1 in 2011 in the CSN rankings.
Georgia Southern, a semifinalist last season, is ranked number two. The Eagles have won a record six FCS crowns, but none since 2000.
Last year's national runner-up Delaware and CAA auto-bid recipient William & Mary are ranked third and fourth, while Eastern Washington and Montana State of the Big Sky, the co-champions of that league in 2010, are ranked in the fifth and sixth spots.
New Hampshire, a CAA team with an FCS-best streak of eight consecutive playoff berths, is seventh, followed by defending MVFC champion Northern Iowa, defending SoCon co-champion (with Appalachian State) Wofford, and North Dakota State of the MVFC.
Sam Houston State football players report for 2011 preseason camp Wednesday morning and will hold their first practice on Thursday.
The Bearkats will play six games at home in Bowers Stadium this season and another contest just 70 miles away when Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin meet in the YP.com "Battle of the Piney Woods" at Reliant Stadium in Houston Oct. 8.
Season tickets for all seven of those games are on sale now online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets . Fans also may call the Sam Houston athletic ticket office for information.
The ticket office, located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone is 936 294-1729.
College Sporting News 2011 Preseason Top 25
1. Appalachian State
2. Georgia Southern
4. William & Mary
5. Eastern Washington
6. Montana State
7. New Hampshire
8. Northern Iowa
10. North Dakota State
12. Jacksonville State
13. McNeese State
14. James Madison
17. Southern Illinois
18. Stephen F. Austin
21. Western Illinois
22. Florida A&M
25. Central Arkansas
Others receiving votes: Chattanooga, Colgate, Sam Houston State, Murray State, Southern Utah, Central Connecticut State, South Carolina State, Grambling, Robert Morris.