Familiar ring: NDSU is No. 1, Sam Houston State No. 2

It's all so familiar.

The Sports Network FCS Top 25 returned on Monday to the way it finished in each of the past two seasons - with North Dakota State at No. 1 and Sam Houston State at No. 2.

They played each other in the 2011 and 2012 FCS national championship games, with North Dakota State winning both times.

Here the two dance partners are in the same order again, with North Dakota State remaining atop the poll as it has been since the preseason and Sam Houston State moving up two spots to No. 2.

It was a result of the two teams winning the most anticipated games of this past weekend's schedule. North Dakota State handled then-No. 6 South Dakota State, 20-0, and Sam Houston State raced past then-No. 2 Eastern Washington, 49-34.

The top-ranked Bison (4-0) received all but one of the 158 first-place votes and 3,949 points. The Bearkats (4-1), whose only loss is to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, gained the other first-place vote and had 3,673 points, jumping over No. 3 Towson to gain the second spot.

Towson (5-0) remained unbeaten after staging a second-half rally to beat Stony Brook, 35-21.

Northern Iowa (4-0) won the weekend's other matchup within the Top 10, routing then-No. 9 McNeese State, 43-6, and moved up one spot to No. 4. The Panthers will play in Saturday's biggest matchup by visiting North Dakota State for a Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup.

Eastern Illinois (4-1) was next in the rankings at No. 5, followed by No. 6 Eastern Washington (2-2), No. 7 South Dakota State (3-2), No. 8 Montana State (3-2), No. 9 Coastal Carolina (5-0) and No. 10 Montana (3-1).

The next 10 were No. 11 McNeese State (4-1); No. 12 Fordham (5-0); No. 13 Lehigh (4-0); No. 14 Central Arkansas (2-2); No. 15 Northern Arizona (3-1), which moved up nine spots after posting a win over Montana; No. 16 Georgia Southern (3-1); No. 17 Wofford (2-2); No. 18 Cal Poly (2-2); No. 19 New Hampshire (1-2); and No. 20 Villanova (2-2).

Rounding out the Top 25 were No. 21 Bethune-Cookman (3-1), No. 22 UT Martin (3-1), No. 23 Maine (4-1), No. 24 Delaware (4-1); and No. 25 Gardner-Webb (4-1).

Maine and Delaware had the formula for joining the Top 25 for the first time this season. They knocked teams out of the rankings, with Maine beating Richmond, 28-21, and Delaware topping James Madison, 29-22, in a pair of CAA Football matchups.

The CAA and Big Sky Conference had the most teams in the Top 25 with five each. Nine FCS conferences were represented in the rankings.

A panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selects the national poll. In the Top 25 voting, a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon, except for the final weekend, when it will be released Sunday morning, Nov. 24, prior to the selection of the FCS playoff field.

The final Top 25 will be released on the Monday after the FCS championship game Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.