The reigning CIS champions were chosen the top team in the country on Tuesday with 25 of 30 first-place votes from the Football Reporters of Canada.
McMaster won its first-ever Vanier Cup last season with a 41-38 overtime victory over the Laval Rouge et Or.
Laval is ranked No. 2 after receiving four first-place votes. The University of Calgary Dinos placed third with one first-place vote.
Rounding out the first top 10 of the season are the Montreal Carabins, Western Mustangs, Queen's Gaels, UBC Thunderbirds, Saskatchewan Huskies, Acadia Axemen and the Windsor Lancers.
The Marauders kick off their Vanier Cup defence on Sept. 3 with a home game against Guelph. That game's part of an 11-game opening weekend in the OUA, RSEQ and Canada West conferences.
The AUS regular schedule starts on Sept. 7.