In the inaugural FCS coaches poll of the 2012 season, Georgia Southern was ranked third behind North Dakota State and Sam Houston State.
The Eagles, who received one first-place vote, return eight starters on offense and eight on defense from the 2011 squad. A year ago GSU won its ninth Southern Conference championship and advanced to its second straight FCS semifinals in an 11-3 season.
Reigning FCS champion North Dakota State received 19 first place votes while finalist Sam Houston State received six.
Fellow SoCon members Appalachian State and Wofford were ranked fifth and 13th, respectively.
The Colonial Athletic Association had the most ranked teams with six, followed by the Missouri Valley with five teams.
The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.