Jay Hill and his Weber State football program have waited an extra few months to get their season kicked off.

When they do, the Wildcats will, not surprisingly, be ranked among the nation’s best. Weber State came in at No. 3 in the HERO Sports preseason top 25 rankings released Monday, behind only defending national champion North Dakota State at No. 1 and South Dakota State at No. 2.

Trailing the Wildcats in the top 5 are James Madison at No. 4 and Villanova at No. 5.

Eastern Washington, at No. 14, joins Weber State as the only other Big Sky team in the rankings.

Weber State, which was predicted to win the Big Sky last July before the season was moved from the fall to the spring, will open its six-game spring season Feb. 27 at Idaho State. Three of the Wildcats’ final four games will be played at home, and a 16-team FCS playoff is scheduled to begin April 24.

The Wildcats are coming off an 11-4 season where they won a third straight Big Sky championship and reached the FCS playoff semifinals, where they lost to James Madison.