Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings, Week 9

Hot Beef Take

Well, the schedule has been played to completion through the October games.  For FCS teams, these last three weeks of the regular season are where you butter your bread – November.  How fitting it is too.  After three more Saturdays, there will be 24 teams who’ll be giving Thanksgiving a true, resounding trumpeting.  But, there will also be 100 FCS teams who’ll disappear from playoff reality and become turkeys.  In the MVFC, there’s only two teams let with a chance to get the automatic, but plenty of others are still fighting for at-larges.  Let’s see where everyone stands going into the final month…

  1. North Dakota State (8-0 overall / 5-0 MVFC), previously #1.  North Dakota State had to be wondering if and when they would get their mojo going against Northern Iowa. It took a pick six, just before halftime and the Bison stampede was just getting started. NDSU has all but sewn up an at-large bid, even if the unthinkable happened. But you know they want it all. A border war should provide ample motivation for this week.  Up next: at South Dakota State.
  2. South Dakota (7-1 / 4-1), previously #2.  The Coyotes kenneled the Salukis, as expected. Probably facing the toughest stretch of the schedule these last three weeks. Even if they lost them all, they’re probably safe as far as the playoffs go, but they should win another to make sure. The availability of QB Strevelar will go a long way towards the results they desire and this week is do or die for their opponent.  Up next: at Northern Iowa.
  3. Illinois State (6-2 / 4-1), previously #4. For those who were starting to doubt the Redbirds, they went to Youngstown State and ended the Penguins playoff hopes, with a shutout no less.  It wouldn’t hurt to win two of their last three, but they have to get one, for sure, to stay in the conversation on Selection Sunday. And none of the last three will be easy.  Up next: vs. Western Illinois.
  4. South Dakota State (6-2 / 3-2), previously #6. The Jackrabbits had their backs up against the wall, needing a win to set up the November run. They’re in a very similar place as Illinois State, two wins guarantees the playoffs, one leaves them on the fringe. On top of that, their games are just as tough.  And guess who plays each other the following week?  Gotta love this time of year. Up next: vs. North Dakota State.
  5. Northern Iowa (4-4 / 3-2), previously #3. A very good first half in Fargo ended badly. The impending avalanche buried the Panthers. Now, they’re in win now or stay home-mode. UNI’s record in November in recent years is probably better than anyone NOT named NDSU. Unfortunately, the over-scheduling constantly puts them in these situations. The last two look winnable, but this first remaining is double tough. Up next: vs. South Dakota.
  6. Western Illinois (5-3 / 2-3), previously #5.  Hard to keep Western Illinois higher, having gotten destroyed by South Dakota State. On top of that, they lost the week before. In the back of their minds, you have to wonder if they feel “the collapse” coming on again. The end schedule should keep that from happening, but if it doesn’t, they really didn’t deserve it in the end. Up next: at Illinois State.
  7. Southern Illinois (4-4 / 2-3), previously #8. Not often does a team lose as badly as SIU did to South Dakota, but they are mathematically still alive for playoff consideration. For that to happen, they would have to win out and probably get a little help.  But stranger things have happened. The schedule is not impossible either, as none of their opponents are in the top half of the league right now. Up next: vs. Missouri State.
  8. Youngstown State (3-5 / 1-4), previously #7.  The Penguins were blistered at home by Illinois State. Even with these guys winning out, they would be 6-5/4-4 and two wins over also-ran NEC teams in non-conference action. For a team that was ranked nationally in the top 10 most of the season, it really seems like a wasted effort. Did the off the field distractions make the difference. They’d never admit it. Up next: at Indiana State.
  9. Missouri State (2-6 / 1-4), previously #9. The Bears took advantage of home field and an equal or lesser opponent, by unleashing an offensive barrage on Indiana State. Winning one conference game gives them at least some comfort, knowing they’ll be hanging the bagel. Now they have the opportunity to ruin two rivals hopes the next couple of weeks.  Up next: at Southern Illinois.
  10. Indiana State (0-8 / 0-5), previously #10. Probably the Sycamores best shot at winning was vanquished by an onslaught of mammoth proportions by Missouri State. There’s still three shots to erase the donut and put up a long john. Up next: vs. Youngstown State.