Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings, Week 8

Again, we’ve reached the halfway point to another conference season.  That statement alone brings a tear to my eye and probably to many others as well.  The shuffling around in the MVFC power rankings is having a lasting effect on the entire national landscape as well.  A few weeks ago, the conference looked almost tyrannically strong compared to most of the rest of the FCS.  Now, it’s still as strong, but the strength the conference has is imploding on itself.  Two weeks ago, the MVFC would have been a six-bid league for the playoffs.  As we sit right now, a fifth bid might be pushing it.  Part of that comes from the cream rising to the top elsewhere and the MVFC still in full blender mode, if that makes any sense.  Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings.

  1. North Dakota State (7-0 overall / 4-0 MVFC), previously #1.  North Dakota State did enough to dispose of Western Illinois at home.  It was still tight, even into the second half, but the Bison wore out their opponents and put them away late.  I can say it just about every week…it’s just what they do.  Now they get one of their two main rivals to pay a visit.  Up next: vs. Northern Iowa.
  2. South Dakota (6-1 / 3-1), previously #2.  Last week I mentioned that the Coyotes should be on upset alert, as Illinois State was embarrassed the week before.  Boom!  Not going to drop them this week, they’ve done way to much prior to warrant that, plus the two directly behind them lost.  Now, it’s Southern Illinois’ turn to be wary.  South Dakota comes back to the Vermillion Dome with a bad taste in their mouth.  Up next: vs. Southern Illinois.
  3. Northern Iowa (4-3 / 3-1), previously #5.  So what happens when you are meandering at 2-3 and sitting on the outside, looking in at the playoff scope nationally?  You buckle down and beat people up – the American Way!  Two huge Top 10 victories(even though Youngstown State SHOULDN’T have been there) and now the Panthers are knocking on the door again.  And guess what?  They actually control their own destiny now.  Fitting that this week’s trip has so much on the line.  Good friends(not), good football(definitely), good golly(yay!).  Up next: at North Dakota State.
  4. Illinois State (5-2 / 3-1), previously #8.  What a difference a week makes…and a change of venue.  After getting tossed around downstate by the Salukis, the Redbirds came home and handed South Dakota their first loss of the season.  And considering what the Coyotes were doing to everyone else, that’s saying something.  The remaining schedule gets incrementally tougher towards the end.  These guy need another win or two to make the playoffs.  Up next: at Youngstown State.
  5. Western Illinois (5-2 / 2-2), previously #3.  Not going to over penalize the Leathernecks for losing by 12 in Fargo.  That’s just bad policy.  They’re one of three schools who get the two lowest ranked teams as opponents to end the season(Northern Iowa and Youngstown State are the others).  Surely, WIU isn’t going to want to rest on their laurels.  They were 6-2 last year before a collapse and missed the playoffs all together.  Up next: vs. South Dakota State.
  6. South Dakota State (5-2 / 2-2), previously #6.  Much like not over penalizing Western Illinois, this week, we’re not going to over amplify the Jacks win over Missouri State.  We could have moved them to the 5-hole, but they play that opponent next week.  If you want it, go take it from them.  Nationally, it’s a pretty big tilt as the winner picks up their sixth win with three to go.  Where the schedule eases for WIU, SDSU has some of the heft left.  They need this one.  Up next: at Western Illinois.
  7. Youngstown State (3-4 / 1-3), previously #4.  The Penguins are hurting right now.  They have four games left and might need to win all four to get in the playoffs.  Here’s where those Northeast Conference opponents really hurt in non-conference action.  They do have the one conference win and it’s SDSU, that would help.  But the business is now and they do come home where they are much tougher.  Up next: vs. Illinois State.
  8. Southern Illinois (4-3 / 2-2), previously #7.  The Salukis fall by no action of their own, they whipped Indiana State like they needed to.  On top of that, one more upset plus the one game they’ll be favored in and these guy ARE in the conversation for one of the last at-large bids to the playoffs.  Not too many people outside Carbondale would have guessed that this year.  Up next: at South Dakota.
  9. Missouri State (1-6 / 0-4), previously #9. The Jackrabbits took some liberties with the Bears and beat them down pretty badly.  I don’t think you’ll hear the Bears say ‘Woe is me’ and you certainly won’t hear SDSU apologizing.  The Bears just have to get better and they know it.  They’re just not there yet.  This week is their best chance to get that first conference win.  Up next: vs. Indiana State.
  10. Indiana State (0-7 / 0-4), previously #10.  The Salukis weren’t very nice to Indiana State either.  The last three games on the Sycamores schedule are against rated, or close to being rated teams needing wins to qualify for the playoffs.  They hit the road this week for Springfield.  If they don’t come back to Terre Haute with that elusive ‘W’, this might end up a winless 2017.  Up next: at Missouri State.