Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings, Week 10

Hot Beef Take

Finally, there are two weeks left in the regular season.  The playoff picture usually starts clearing up about this time of year, but this year it’s probably murky than any time the half decade.  And it’s just as apparent in the Missouri Valley Football Conference than anywhere else. Much of that has to do with the fact that any of the remaining shuffling in our part of the FCS world has to be done before the rest can shuffle theirs. Last week seemed to shake the FCS world, but in actuality, it might have improved things.

SDSU was stuck with a brutal ending schedule and getting to the magical seven-win plateau looked like it was going to be difficult. Bam! They beat NDSU for that seventh win. Now they’ve reached that threshold and put the biggest of helmet stickers on their resume. NDSU lost some traction in the polls, but if they win out, they’ll still be the #2 seed in the playoffs. That would still mean home field advantage until Frisco and the National Championship, if they played that far. Same thing can be said for Northern Iowa beating South Dakota. USD was already sitting at seven wins AND they have a win over FBS Bowling Green. UNI has a favorable schedule remaining and now a clear path to seven wins themselves. Things are setting up nicely for a five bid conference…wait, maybe six!

  1. North Dakota State (8-1 overall / 5-1 MVFC), previously #1. Boo-hoo! The Bison lost a regular season game. Seems like it happens once every year. This year was not unlike two years ago. How? The week immediately after they played Northern Iowa at home, they lost their next game. That’s a rivalry and the result of a rivalry game. Their fan base lost their heads a little this week, but their team usually doesn’t lose back-to-back – and they’re coming back to the Fargo Dome. Up next: vs. South Dakota.
  2. South Dakota State (7-2 / 4-2), previously #4. Dakota Marker champion. Sure they’d rather have the MVFC title again, but they don’t have control over that any more. They can control where they end up in the playoff pecking order. Winning out now would definitely put them in the seeding, possibly as high as #5 or #6. Up next: vs. Illinois State.
  3. Northern Iowa (5-4 / 4-2), previously #5. The Panthers finally emerge from the gauntlet, but honestly, their entire schedule has pretty much been a gauntlet. And this has been quantified by the Ken Massey Ratings, as they are recognized as playing the hardest schedule in all of FCS. The win over South Dakota is huge. Winning out should garner an at-large now. But they can’t be looking ahead now. One at a time to seal the deal. Up next: at Missouri State.
  4. South Dakota (7-2 / 4-2), previously #2. The Coyotes uncharacteristically were sloppy with the football on Saturday. And those turnovers were very costly against a team who’s backs were against the wall. Things aren’t going to get an easier either, as they have the top two teams in the conference left to play. And the first will be a road trip to Goliath, who’s going to be in a bad mood. Up next: at North Dakota State.
  5. Western Illinois (6-3 / 3-3), previously #6. The Leathernecks took to the road, though it was a short trip to Illinois State. The writing of a collapse was on the wall, as they had lost two in a row coming in. Now, they sit in terrific shape. Very winnable games and sitting on a potential eight win, FBS bonus season. They could be knocking on the cusp of the last seed coming Selection Sunday. Up next: at Indiana State.
  6. Illinois State (6-3 / 4-2), previously #3. This last game was a game the Redbirds may very well be saying “what if?” If they don’t do it after this game, they were probably already doing it in reference to their Southern Illinois loss. They alternate opponents with USD these last weeks, which means if they’re going to make the playoff field, they’re really gonna have to earn it. Up next: at South Dakota State.
  7. Youngstown State (4-5 / 2-4), previously #8. The Penguins seemed to take their recent slump out on Indiana State. They actually look good to get to 6-5, as their last couple games should have them favored. Yes, they took FBS Pittsburgh into overtime and lost. But having two Northeast Conference teams on the non-conference schedule doesn’t look as good. However, one of those was Central Connecticut State. Granted, the Blue Devils don’t add a lot of clout to the resume, but CCSU is playing for the NEC automatic this coming week. Any little point helps. Who knows? Up next: at Southern Illinois.
  8. Missouri State (3-6 / 2-4), previously #9. The Bears seem to be getting it together late in the season. Beware Northern Iowa. Their offense has shown glimpses of explosiveness off and on this season, so if they’re clickin’, they have a puncher’s chance. Spoiler role is still intact and it’s momentum that can be put towards next year. Up next: vs. Northern Iowa.
  9. Southern Illinois (4-5 / 2-4), previously #7. Losing QB Sam Straub is not beneficial to the Salukis success. It fact, it’s an obvious and significant detriment. It seemed to have an effect on the defense also, maybe from lack of production and possession. Missouri State wasn’t hearing none of it and jumped all over SIU early. They get to come home now, where they’ll try to YSU’s very slim playoff hopes. Up next: vs. Youngstown State.
  10. Indiana State (0-9 / 0-6), previously #10. The Sycamores still have two shots to end their winless season, but their two remaining opponents are going to need wins to qualify or improve playoff positioning. Needless to say, things aren’t looking good. In the same notion, you know their effort will be higher than ever as time dwindles. Up next: vs. Western Illinois.