MVFC Power Rankings, Week 4

We head into traditional MVFC bye week on a pretty solid note. After a disappointing opening week, the Valley has roared back, for the most part. All but two teams will have this week off and it’s not an issue for them, as they open against each other next week when Valley play rules the schedule until the playoffs. Last note, the MVFC has already clinched the MVFC/Big Sky Challenge for the third time, in three years. One game is left to be played, but the conference has really placed itself at the top of the food chain when selection time comes around in November. Let’s look at this week’s rankings.

1. North Dakota State(4-0), previously #1. 4-0 going into MVFC play, who’d have thunk it? The Bison had a battle with UC-Davis, but still won over the #4 team in the nation by eleven. It’s hard to think anybody can knock off NDSU at this point. But if it’s going to happen, you’d be a little less surprised if a conference team pulled the trick. Time will tell. Next week: Bye, October 5 @ Illinois State.

2. South Dakota State(3-1), previously #2. The Jackrabbits kicked Southern Utah all over the field Saturday. You have to think Southern Utah is done playing MVFC teams after the treatment they received from SDSU and UNI. SDSU is well positioned nationally heading into conference play, but all three of their non-conference opponents don’t seem to have a major impact elsewhere or towards helping the Jacks’ resume down the road. So a good effort will still be needed down the rod. Next: Bye, October 5 vs. Southern Illinois.

3. Illinois State(3-1), previously #3. For everything that was desired in their game with Eastern Illinois and wasn’t shown, they did successfully against Northern Arizona. Now, the defense gave up 27 points and a slew of passing yards, but NAU does that to just about everyone. ISUred is sitting quite nicely in a national light. The non-con wasn’t quite as soft as SDSU’s but like most of the MVFC’s upper echelon, they had good showings, even in defeat, to FBS teams. Next: Bye, October 5 vs. North Dakota State.

4. Northern Iowa(2-1), previously #4. The Panthers had the fight of their lives against Idaho State. Everything the Bengals were supposed to be was a lie. Thought to be a pass happy crew, the Bengals ran the ball about 60% of the game. And their linebacking corps was as good as advertised. Next comes a top ten roadie con-conference tilt. And this is why UNI always has a top three SoS at the end of the year. This game looks like a mirror image game. A team predicated on defense, wanting to run the ball and be timely and efficient. Should be another low-scoring affair. Next: @ Weber State.

5. Youngstown State(3-0), previously #5. The Penguins took the week off. Was it to rest from playing Duquesne or to prepared for Robert Morris? This game should be a win. Of course, all these cupcake games leave them a total mystery as to their true identity when Valley play begins. Maybe that’s what they wanted. Next: vs. Robert Morris.

6. Southern Illinois(2-2), previously #6. Southern Illinois couldn’t pull the double-dip on the FBS at Arkansas State, but that’s a pretty rare feat nowadays. Still, SIU should be pleased with that performance, as they hung tough. That FBS win will bode well come selection time if they can muster up a 5-3(or better) conference record. Next: Bye, October 5 @ South Dakota State.

7. Indiana State(2-2), previously #7. The Sycamores had a very similar result against Eastern Illinois as Illinois State did. And getting back to 2-2 with a FBS loss, ISUblue is back into improving on last season’s success. And doing so leaves the Valley with seven legitimate playoff contenders.  Next: Bye, October 5 @ South Dakota.

8. South Dakota(1-3), previously #8. The Coyotes defense has been found! And really found, surrendering only 6 points to Northern Colorado. Now, where’d the offense go? 14 points against Northern Colorado is less than impressive also. If the Coyotes ever get the whole thing together, they could be dangerous. Right now, it’s just not happening. Next: Bye, October 5 vs. Indiana State.

9. Missouri State(0-3), previously #9. The Bears left it all out there and gave a 110% effort against Kennesaw State. And they were winning the game going into the third quarter, but the Owls proved to be too much in the end. MSU will look to get their first win in two weeks when they play the only other winless Valley team. Next: Bye, October 5 @ Western Illinois.

10. Western Illinois(0-4), previously #10. Losses to schools with almost no tradition is not the way to go about improving your situation. The Leathernecks are so far behind the 8-ball, they’re nearly in the pocket. A predicted tough season is now in fruition. They need to geared up and win one soon before an already lost season becomes hopeless also. Next: Bye, October 5 vs. Missouri State.