MVFC Power Rankings: Week 11

We head into the final week of the regular season and the cream has definitely risen to the top, and the gunk has settled to the bottom.

The conference is assured of three playoff spots and probably only one team with a real shot of making it four.

Everybody will be playing for playoff positioning, or to see what they could have for next year.

1. North Dakota State   (8-2 / 6-1, previously #1)

The Bison were down 24-10 going into the fourth quarter against Youngstown State — no problem. Much like their late-drive win over Northern Iowa and their National Championship win over Illinois State last year, this team is clutch. The comeback more than likely saved their National seed for the playoffs. The goal this coming week is to not take any major injuries as they play the MVFC’s rolling bye week, Missouri State.

2. South Dakota State   (8-2 / 5-2, previously #2)

The Jackrabbits pulled a Houdini-esque escape in Vermillion, dashing the slim playoff hopes of their in-state little brother, South Dakota. And again, like NDSU, probably saved their National seed for the playoffs. A tough final road game before the playoffs in Macomb against Western Illinois is next.

3. Illinois State   (8-2 / 6-1, previously #3)

The Redbirds had no issues with Southern Illinois like the other league leaders. Still, must be concerning that their defense gave up almost 330 passing yards to Iannotti. Not that that is shameful, he is a good quarterback. But you figure their coaching staff would want the defense ticking upwards headed into the playoffs. They finish up their schedule with a home game against South Dakota.

4. UNI   (6-4 / 4-3, previously #4)

The Panthers did what everybody else has to this point, put a beat down on Missouri State. Riding a four-game winning streak, the “Cardiac Cats” have put themselves in position to qualify for the playoffs after an unthinkable 2-4 start to the season. A home win against Southern Illinois next week should be enough to convince the Committee to put them on the (bracket) tree.

5. Western Illinois   (5-5 / 4-3, previously #7)

The Committee’s worst nightmare is still alive, scratchin’, clawin,’ fightin’ and bitin’. A road win over fellow bubble buddy Indiana State has the Leathernecks in a spot where most of the rest of the bubble wishes they weren’t. All that being said, this team has played the toughest schedule in FCS. They did NOT get Missouri State, played a Big Ten team (Illinois), destroyed potential playoff qualifier Eastern Illinois, and only lost by seven at Coastal Carolina, who’s been ranked in the top-five all season. A win next week against South Dakota State, makes their case extremely strong.

6. Youngstown State   (5-5 / 3-4, previously #5)

Yes, they have the same record as Western Illinois. Why are they not considered a playoff hopeful? They did beat Western Illinois, but getting to 6-5 makes them 4-4 in conference (WIU would be 5-3). On top of that, two of those wins are against Northeast Conference teams, even if one of them is their potential conference champion. They finish at Indiana State, trying to finish over .500 regardless.

7. South Dakota   (5-5 / 3-4, previously #6)

Oh, what could have been. The Coyotes had the Jackrabbits dead to rites, but the big brother pulled it out late. They travel to Illinois State looking to finish over .500.

8. Indiana State   (4-6 / 2-5, previously #8)

The Sycamores lose a home overtime game against Western Illinois. The promising beginning to this season has evaporated completely. However, the groundwork has been laid, perhaps they can build on it towards next year in their home finale against the Penguins.

9. Southern Illinois   (3-7 / 2-5, previously #9)

The Salukis were scolded by the Redbirds like the dogs they are (for those who don’t know what a saluki is). They travel to Cedar Falls to finish out, trying to end on a high note and ruin Northern Iowa’s playoff hopes.

10. Missouri State   (1-9 / 0-7, previously #10)