Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings, Week 2

Eight of the ten MVFC teams were in action this past week and absolutely no surprises. The half that play against FBS opponents, all lost and the half who played anybody else, all won. Two more games took place within the MVFC/Big Sky Challenge, which now stands at a 3-2 advantage for the good guys. The final three games in the Challenge will happen this coming weekend. But, let’s gets right to this week’s rankings…

1. North Dakota State (1-0), previously #1. Even when they have a bye, the Bison don’t lose. Okay, you can say that for everybody. But their strange hold on overall top spot in the media polls continues to tighten, despite five “knuckleheads” who somehow are voting for James Madison(2) or North Carolina A&T(3). This week, the Bison continue their non-conference slate of home dates with FCS newcomer, North Alabama. A team who is undefeated in their short time in their new classification. It would be a monstrous upset if continues on Sunday. Up next: vs. North Alabama.

2. South Dakota State (1-0), previously #2. Montana State got the full wrath of the Bunnies this last weekend. Maybe they really did want that canceled game in Ames against Iowa State. Needless to say, now that a product has been put on the field and on film, the thoughts of any lag from the graduations of past specialty weapons has relaxed quite a bit. These guy still look for real. And that’s really scary for a very, very bad opponent coming for this week’s beating. Next: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

3. South Dakota (1-1), previously #3. Despite all the flack I received on the Monday edition of On Press Row about my “man crush” on a certain Coyote quarterback I wished two or three years ago would have been taken into the Panthers’ fold, the results this weekend were affirmed. Simmons is a mega-talent, at least after a few starts in 2018. This week’s test will be much tougher than last; both because of elevation and the fact that this opponent actually concentrates on defense. Next: @ Weber State.

4. Illinois State (2-0), previously #4. The Redbirds made a huge statement in the Mid-America Classic against Eastern Illinois. In fact, the game was over before halftime, making it more like the Mid-America Maiming. The momentum gained from their first two victimizations will get put on hold as they prepare for a trip to FBS Colorado State in two weeks. Next: bye.

5. Northern Iowa (0-1), previously #5. Northern Iowa’s traditional FBS game comes in a less traditional Week 3 with an even less traditional second overall game in Week 3. The questions left unanswered after the Montana game have gone mostly unanswered this week as the Panthers continue to play close to the vest. This was expected. Their opponent has their own questions offensively, but will still be a deeper unit overall than the defense they’ll face. What’s really scary is that the Hawkeyes’ defense is no doubt stout and they’ll be facing an offense who might not really know its true identity. Next: @ Iowa (FBS).

6. Southern Illinois (1-1), previously #7. The Salukis are getting a bump despite losing and giving up 76 points in the process. The first half to three quarters, they gave a pretty good SEC team every bit of mustard they could throw at’em. In fact, they were only down eight going into the final stanza when they were obviously worn down and all game momentum was on the side of the Rebels. No reason to think a win should be coming this week, as they open their home dates against a sub-par Ohio Valley team. Up next: vs. Southeast Missouri State.

7. Western Illinois (0-2), previously #6. The Leathernecks were a sexy pick to pull an FBS upset last week. Never really came close to materializing. Now they face a real possibility of starting the season 0-3 with a top 15 ranked Big Sky visitor, who’s not concerned with their early woes. It would be considered an upset, but this is really a win needed for necessity, if there’s any hope of building a playoff resume.  Next: vs. Montana.

8. Youngstown State (0-2), previously #8. After very forgettable loss to Butler to open the season, the Penguins were thoroughly trounced by FBS West Virginia. Nothing unexpected there, as the Mountaineers will do the same to many better teams this year. Now, at 0-2 and facing the same dilemma as Western Illinois, they have to win this week for any chance at making a playoff run later. They do get another Pioneer League team this time around, one who’s even further down the pecking order. Next: vs. Valparaiso.

9. Missouri State (1-1), previously #9. The Bears beat a Division II opponent last week and frankly wasn’t overly impressive. Odds makers had them around a seven touchdown favorite and they only won by 24. Rarely does a team win by 24 and get backlash for it, but facing a schedule where they’ll be lucky to be favored in any game, this was their chance to really lay it on someone…and didn’t. Or worse…couldn’t. A home game against a team that hates playing outdoors will help this week, but this team is very, very talented.  Next: vs. Northern Arizona.

10. Indiana State (1-1), previously #10. The Sycamores actually played FBS Louisville pretty strongly. At least for two-thirds of the game. It was very similar to Southern Illinois’ effort against Mississippi. Now they have an interesting game. Short road trip against a team that will be very motivated after being completely run off the field. The same team Illinois State just played. Good news – the blueprint for winning easily was shown. Bad news –  they might now have the overall talent to execute that blueprint. We’ll see. Next: @ Eastern Illinois.