Week 5 MVFC Power Rankings

Hot Beef Take

Let’s not get funny with introductions this week, let’s just get into the rankings…

1. North Dakota State (4-0), previously #1. The question as to who the best team in FCS was answered last weekend, when the Bison came from behind and clipped their neighbors from the south. Thing is, you have to answer the bell every week when you’re the best and you’re going to get your opponent’s best shot every time you take the field. This next one is a major question just for the reason that these guys haven’t left North Dakota since 2017’s National Championship in Frisco, Texas. Up next: @ Northern Iowa.

2. South Dakota State (2-1), previously #2. The Jackrabbits had an extra week to prepare for Bison week and still came up short. That’s not a mark against them but testament to what NDSU has become. SDSU was leading into the fourth quarter, so you know the margin between the two is very small. You can bet these guys will want another shot against their neighbor in the playoffs. Next: @vs. Indiana State.

3. Missouri State (3-1), previously #6. Now wait a second…this is a typo, right? Afraid not. A two weeks after dismantling a previously ranked Northern Arizona, the Bears welcomed a top ten ranked Illinois State and sent them back to Normal with an AB-normal result. Maybe, just maybe, the Bears AREN’T who we thought they were! It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility to think they couldn’t win their next four, before they start seeing the top of the conference. At least from preseason perception, it wouldn’t be expected, but every season has a few huge surprises. This might be it. Next: @ South Dakota.

4. Western Illinois (2-2), previously #4. The Leathernecks took step one to saving their season, winning at home against Youngstown State. It’s not that it came easy though, as the 45-38 result will tell you. Still, with their overall strength of schedule, the right breaks and a 5-3/6-5 season could be enough to snag a playoff bid. And this in-state road trip would be a double-rung step, helping themselves and hindering another. Next: @ Illinois State.

5. South Dakota (2-2), previously #5. South Dakota delivered on the road, which is a tough thing to do in the Valley, no matter who you are. Coming home is nice considering they haven’t played at home in nearly a month. Now they get an opponent who’s at a decade high in confidence, with the winner keeping a shared piece of first place in the conference. Up next: vs. Missouri State.

6. Northern Iowa (2-2), previously #8. Whether their last two games were against weaker competition than their first two is irrelevant. When your defense shuts out consecutive opponents, something’s working. Let’s be clear, nobody expects the nine quarters shutout streak to continue to thirteen this week. The defense will have to be stout, no doubt…but the other side of the ball will need to be downright offensive, if they want to pull the upset. Next: vs. North Dakota State.

7. Illinois State (3-1), previously #3.  Missouri State seems to be better than expected. It seems to be the modus oporendi for Illinois State to have one of these stinkers. Last year it was Southern Illinois who got them. They are still sitting on that FBS win at Colorado State, but they’re going to need Missouri State to exceed preseason expectations to make this loss look less damaging. They need this coming home game to be good…in a bad way. Next: vs. Western Illinois.

8. Southern Illinois (1-3), previously #9. The Salukis came close but dropped a home game to South Dakota by a lone touchdown. Now they take this troubled defense and high-powered offense to Ohio to play a team that lost in an 81-point shootout of their own, last week. Really, this game will be a marginal ender of playoff hopes for the loser. You should figured on an inspired effort from both. Up next: @ Youngstown State.

9. Youngstown State (1-3), previously #10. The Penguins tried the damnedest to leave Macomb with a victory, but the Leathernecks made sure their plans were upheld instead. They do get to come home and if there’s any sprinkling of a playoff glimmer, they need to start a winning streak and start this week. Even then, that loss to Butler to begin the year might be too much to overcome. Up next: vs. Southern Illinois.

10. Indiana State (2-2), previously #7. For having the extra week to prepare against a tired, traveling opponent, the Sycamores look completely over-matched. Sure, talent-wise, they are probably still a bit behind the upper echelon of the Valley, but getting blanked on your own field is not a good way to start conference play. And don’t expect a break from a Jacks team who just lost their first game last week. Next: @ South Dakota State.