MVFC Power Rankings, Post-Week 10

1. North Dakota State (9-0 / 6-0), previously #1. So was that a little bit of a letdown, having played that string against the other contenders or did the Penguins bring their A-game? Either way, the Bison were pushed some this past weekend and it was probably a good thing in their overall scheme of things, showing if they aren’t totally on the ball, they aren’t invincible. Ironically, with two weeks left in the season, NDSU has already clinched the Missouri Valley Conference title…again. They’ve all but locked up at least a top 2 seed in the playoffs also. Life in Fargo must be boring winning all the time. Up next: @ Missouri State.

2. South Dakota State (6-2 / 4-2), previously #2. Wow! Now that was a butt kicking performance! The Jacks ran up on the Bears this weekend and rabbit kicked them in the face about eighteen times before they even woke up. This is the perfect example of how dangerous this team can be. What’s strangely amazing is that these if they win out, they will be a top 8 seed in the playoffs, yet could conceivably finish fourth in the MVFC (by tiebreaker for second place). If this last game was any indication, they’re amping at the right time. Next: @ Southern Illinois.

3. Western Illinois (5-4 / 4-2), previously #3. It took some late game perseverance, but the Leathernecks came through in the clutch and beat Southern Illinois. At the same time, they saved their playoff bacon, which would have shriveled up and been burnt to a crisp, had they lost. Next on the MVFC playoff pitfall map is the final installment of the Coach Neilson Bowl. This year’s redshirt seniors are the final recruiting class Neilson had (thanks, Leather Cy), when he still coached at WIU. Better expect a top effort from their old coach, but his former players need this one more. Next: @ South Dakota.

4. Northern Iowa (5-4 / 4-2), previously #4. If that was the kind of team that could show up every weekend, the Panthers could beat anybody in FCS not named North Dakota State, for certain. And they could give those same Bison a run for their money. Inconsistency has been this team’s bane all season. Much like Western Illinois, now’s not the time for slip ups, as a loss now turn those playoff dreams into unrealized nightmares. In what looked like a fairly easy win a couple weeks ago, their next opponent put together their best effort in weeks and pushed NDSU the hardest since these same Panthers did. Eastern Ohio is a difficult enough place to play, but the game will start at noon there, that’s 11:00 am here. Get the crust outta your eyes or the Penguins will take your prize. Next: @ Youngstown State.

5. Illinois State (5-4 / 2-4), previously #5. Still can’t believe the Redbirds are in the position they are. Actually, I can. I made comment about this early on this year about that stupid non-Division I game they played. If they would have forked out the money (and I know that’s much easier to say as a fan than an administrator) and gone to Sacramento State or pushed a little harder to get an FCS team in their house, they’d be a win out lock for the playoffs. As it stands, they have to win out and hope The Committee sees that FBS Colorado State as a true double victory. Otherwise, this season’s 7-4 will look pretty but will keep them home for Thanksgiving. Next: @ Indiana State.

6. Indiana State (5-4 / 3-3), previously #6. The Sycamores were sitting 2-4 three weeks ago with two road games facing them, most hope for the season gone – they won the both.Then game the home game with South Dakota, boom! Riding a three game winning streak is a nice place to be. And now, fellow 5-4 Illinois State comes to visit. Exactly like ISURed (Illinois State), ISUBlue (Indiana State) has a non-Division I victory on their resume. And that will probably keep them out of the playoffs at 7-4. The biggest difference between Red and Blue is that Blue would LOVE to just be n the conversation at 7-4. Of course, that would also entail a five game winning streak to end the season. Enough mayhem continues across the FCS landscape, you never know. Next: vs. Illinois State.

7. Youngstown State (3-6 / 2-4), previously #8. Rarely does a team get a moral victory bump, but that was a terrific effort put for in the hardest place to play in FCS football. One still has to wonder about the head coach’s hot seat, as he lumped a lot of praise on the Bison after the game but said nothing about his own school, at least in the clip I saw. That could be doctored footage of someone trying to stir up controversy, but who knows? Still, the players proved they’ve still got game and their visitors this week best beware. Up next: vs. Northern Iowa.

8. Missouri State (4-5 / 2-4), previously #7. The Bears have gone the complete opposite direction I talked about with Indiana State. They were 4-2, had just beaten Indiana State and even made my top 25 rankings on College Sports Madness. Three weeks have completely changed the perspective. And South Dakota State showed them no mercy last week. And this week they come home to face the Pain Train. Next: vs. North Dakota State.

9. Southern Illinois (2-7 / 1-5), previously #9. The Salukis came up short in ruining their neighbors playoff hopes. That makes the loss hurt even more, when that’s all you really have to play for and fail. They get to come home, but a top notch outfit is visiting and offensively, is not afraid to put up crooked numbers – extremely crooked numbers – against a defense that has had trouble all season from keeping normal teams from doing so. Up next: vs. South Dakota State.

10. South Dakota (3-6 / 2-4), previously #10. My how the mighty have fallen. We talked about their game before playing Northern Iowa that that game could be one that is seen as a playoff separator. Since losing that game, the Coyotes have gone completely in the tank. Not a victory in sight. And games at Indiana State and Youngstown State seemed winnable for this team. It’s hard to say they’ve just given up and you know a team in the Valley would never do so, but something is wrong here. Their next foe really needs this for the playoffs. They need this just for themselves. Up next: vs. Western Illinois.