MVFC Power Rankings, After Week 7

Now we’re getting into it. And it seems like every week is a massive jump towards the end of the season. A season that feels like it has just started. But that’s the way it progresses and explains the magnitude of every game. So let’s not waste time and get after it…

1. North Dakota State(2-0 in MVFC, 6-0 overall), previously #1. Not sure how many more superlatives I can find and throw at the Bison. This last week they outlasted Northern Iowa and punished them in the fourth quarter, making a relatively close game look ridiculously lopsided. It’s what they do and will probably to all the way to Frisco. Next week: vs. Missouri State.

2. South Dakota State(2-0, 5-1), previously #2. Jackrabbits had their super long, in-conference road trip this week. No major issues beat Youngstown State. SDSU really is looking like the bridge between NDSU and the rest of the league. A team or two MIGHT be able to sneak a win against this team, but this is probably the ONLY team with the tools to beat the Bison. Next: @ Indiana State.

3. Illinois State(1-1, 4-2), previously #4. The score wasn’t eye-popping, but a 21-7 victory on the road in the Valley is solid. And when you consider the oddsmakers had made Illinois State the underdog, even more impressive. The tools are here for a great season, but this has been said about the Redbirds since their National Championship loss a few years ago. They better be able to take care of business again this week. Next: @ Western Illinois.

4. Northern Iowa(1-1, 3-3), previously #3. Northern Iowa was more or less curb stomped in the fourth quarter by the Bison. Early ground work led to a tired bunch of defenders late. And when the offense continued its mostly woeful day, NDSU kept the pressure on and gouged the Panthers like opposing post players in the Iowa Hawkeye’s Adam Woodbury basketball era. It goes without saying that every game from here on out gets amplified, but a suddenly hot opponent comes to the dome next week. Next: vs. South Dakota.

5. South Dakota(2-0, 3-3), previously #7. The Coyotes defense now officially found. And now the offense is hitting its stride. South Dakota is morphing into the full blooded monster some people thought they could become. A win this week and they will probably be ranked and back in the bracketologists’ minds moving forward. Next: @ Northern Iowa.

6. Indiana State(1-1, 3-3), previously #8. Took a little more effort than they wanted, but the Sycamores are a beat-up bunch right now. And with that, a win is a win. They do get to stay home this week and push their record back into the green(above .500), but this should be a much tougher go’round. Next: vs. South Dakota State.

7. Youngstown State(0-2, 4-2), previously #5. The Penguins are looking more and more like the cupcake, non-conference champion they may have been perceived. These next two opponents will do very little to dissuade that notion. But they are also games they HAVE to win if they have any thoughts of postseason down the road. Next: @ Southern Illinois.

8. Southern Illinois(0-2, 2-4), previously #6. Southern Illinois is in jeopardy of being one of those teams who pulls a non-conference FBS upset, then falls flat in conference and fails to make the playoffs. The Salukis are at a point where they have to probably win five or their last six games just to get a sniff of playoff consideration. Next: vs. Youngstown State.

9. Missouri State(1-1, 1-4), previously #9. The Bears were jumped in the second quarter against South Dakota and never had a chance afterward. And this coming game is the last place you want to go to try and find momentum. Losing by less than five touchdowns might be a more appropriate goal. Next: @North Dakota State.

10. Western Illinois(0-2, 0-6), previously #10. Having lost to Indiana State, the prospects of 0-12 loo very good. There’s no real soft spots left on the schedule. The remaining road games are all against nationally ranked foes, as are two of the remaining three home games. Wish there was something more encouraging to say. Next: vs. Illinois State.