MVFC Power Rankings, Post-Week 8

Hot Beef Take

 

1. North Dakota State (7-0 / 4-0), previously #1. Illinois State was no match for the Bison either. At this point, barring a complete and total mental breakdown, NDSU is going undefeated. In fact, at this point, it would take two losses for them to fall below the #1 or #2 seed line in the playoffs. Up next: @ South Dakota.

2. Northern Iowa (4-3 / 3-1), previously #4. A month ago, the Panthers’ resume was deserving of the tenth team in the Valley. Going toe-to-toe with the best team in the nation, then beating the second or third best team in the nation last week has changed perception swiftly. The next game is at a traditional letdown location. And the team waiting is fighting for their own playoff lives. A dangerous combination. Next: @ Western Illinois.

3. South Dakota State (4-2 / 2-2), previously #2. One of the two losers from the top four pair-off games last week, one wonders if another loss could cause momentum to a lost season. The final three games after this week look more winnable, but everybody knows things don’t always go as planned in the Valley. Next: @ Illinois State.

4. Illinois State (5-2 / 2-2), previously #3. And here’s the other loser from last week’s top four pair-off. Though calling either of these teams losers is actually overly harsh. There’s still one more toughie waiting for the Redbirds on the schedule next week. In what would typically be a losing proposition, two more losses might mean an outside chair for the playoffs. And that’s namely because they only would have only six Division-I wins – but one of those is against FBS Colorado State. And those often count like a double win. Still, this would make things a lot easier. Next: vs South Dakota State.

5. Western Illinois (3-4 / 2-2), previously #7. Western Illinois really needed a road win and got one in Springfield. They have a tough home game here but they’re more than capable of winning everything left on their slate. In fact, they may have to. A 6-5 / 5-3 Missouri Valley team has sneaked into the playoff field on a couple of occasions. But you never want to rest on the past. Next: vs. Northern Iowa.

6. Missouri State (4-3 / 2-2), previously #5. The Bears probably watched their realistic playoff hope go up in smoke when they dropped their home game to Western Illinois. No team wants to claim moral victories, but this season has already been a success for what Missouri State was expected to do. That doesn’t mean they can’t add it their accomplishments and this week is a great place to start. Next: vs. Southern Illinois.

7. Youngstown State (3-4 / 2-2), previously #8. The Penguins did all they could to keep their coach off the hot seat…at least for one week. But, there’s a really good chance that they could win this week also. At 4-4, there’s still a chance to make the playoffs. It would be a huge long shot considering who remains, but running that gauntlet would guarantee a playoff bid. Up next: vs. Indiana State.

8. South Dakota (3-4 / 2-2), previously #6. The once promising season has now evaporated and the prospects of not even finishing above .500 are in real jeopardy. That also means the playoff hopes are also gone. This week is the biggest uphill climb of all. Up next: vs. North Dakota State.

9. Indiana State (3-4 / 1-3), previously #9. The Sycamores took care of Southern Illinois last week, getting their first conference win of the year. Oddly enough, they could still finish over .500 by the end of the season. They will need an upset, maybe two. But they’re done playing the super heavyweights. Next: @ Youngstown State.

10. Southern Illinois (1-6 / 0-4), previously #10. The Salukis lost to Indiana State and are now the sole remaining team without a conference victory. Offensively, this team is too good to be in this position. Unfortunately, the defense is loading more weight than their offense can carry. If they’re going to get a win, they need to do it quickly, because the last two games are probably more than they could handle. Up next: @ Missouri State.