MVFC Power Rankings, Post-Week 9

1. North Dakota State (8-0 / 5-0), previously #1. It’s getting more and more difficult to lob superlatives on this team. There’s no foreseeable roadblocks in the future.The only team capable of beating the Bison right now, is the Bison. Up next: vs. Youngstown State.

2. South Dakota State (5-2 / 3-2), previously #3. The classic rebound from a top-level program. The Jacks jumped all over Illinois State last week. They did let up and let them back into the game some, but never enough to where the outcome was in jeopardy. Now that the rough stretch is over in the schedule, you figure three more wins await them in November. Next: vs. Missouri State.

3. Western Illinois (4-4 / 3-2), previously #5. Provided the Leathernecks do not continue their pattern of losing two, then winning two, these last three games are all winnable and should propel them into the playoffs. They still could have been in the talk had they lost to Northern Iowa, but now they’ve taken hold of the Valley’s #3 playoff position and nobody can jump up and take it from behind without them giving it away. And they have a neighbor downstate, would love to ruin their plans. Next: @ Southern Illinois.

4. Northern Iowa (4-4 / 3-2), previously #2. Made a comment last week about the letdown location…Macomb didn’t disappoint. The little town in Illinois is kryptonite for the Panthers. Still, there’s no time for crying over spilled milk, as a week 10 playoff game is going to go down in the UNI-Dome. The winner will be in excellent shape for making the playoffs, the loser will be chewing a lot of fingernails in three Sundays. Next: vs. Illinois State.

5. Illinois State (5-3 / 2-3), previously #4. It’s hard to believe that a team ranked in the teens nationally is in this position. One more loss and the Redbirds are going to be sponsored by Rolaids on Selection Sunday. A 2-1 finish would leave them at 7-4 / 4-4, with a win against a non-Division I opponent. But, then they also have a win over FBS Colorado State, which counts like a double victory. The Committee Conundrum.  Next: @ Northern Iowa.

6. Indiana State (4-4 / 2-3), previously #9. The Sycamores were sitting 2-4 two weeks ago with two road games facing them, most hope for the season gone – they won the both. It would be a major uphill battle to win out and doing so would probably still leave them out of the playoffs, even with a 5-3 conference record. The focus should really be one game at a time and maybe they finish over .500. Next: vs. South Dakota.

7. Missouri State (4-4 / 2-3), previously #6. The Bears were 4-2 two weeks ago with two home games against middle to lower ranked MVFC teams facing them – they lost them both. These are the growing pains of a rebuilding program. Next year or the year after that, they’d probably be sitting at 6-2. As it stands, they’ll play out the string with a realistic view of a better future, even if they lose these remaining games. Next: @ South Dakota State.

8. Youngstown State (3-5 / 2-3), previously #7. Been calling it here for the last few weeks about Coach Pelini and the hot seat. Never want to see someone lose their job, but this one is starting to sound inevitable, as players seem to be speaking up about the head coach. That’s definitely one of those smoke and fire situations. And the November schedule isn’t conducive to padding win totals either. Up next: @ North Dakota State.

9. Southern Illinois (2-6 / 1-4), previously #10. Finally in the win column. You knew eventually there was too much firepower offensively for the dogs to be grounded the entire season. Last week, they ran circles around the Bears. This coming week is there last good chance at getting a second conference win tally mark. On top of that, they could ruin their neighbor’s playoff chances. Up next: vs. Western Illinois.

10. South Dakota (3-5 / 2-3), previously #8. Consecutive home losses are tough to swallow, even if they’re against Northern Iowa and North Dakota State. That game in the middle of their current three game losing streak, at Youngstown State, is the season sealer. There’s not enough games left on the slate to rectify the 2018 now. Up next: @ Indiana State.