MVFC Power Rankings, After Week 10

Hot Beef Take

There’s three weeks left until Selection Sunday and the Missouri Valley Football Conference is rounding out for the playoffs. The top four all look solid right now and the fifth is a couple wins from locking in also. A sixth bid is going to be very difficult to justify, but for once other conferences across the nation are cannibalizing each other even worse than they do here in the Midwest. As for the rankings, very little movement again this week. Could have done some at the bottom, but in the end seemed unnecessary.

1. North Dakota State(5-0 in MVFC, 9-0 overall), previously #1. Having a ninth win already, the Bison have officially locked up a playoff bid. Sure, an 0-3 finish would look bad, but the chances of that happening are the same as a one legged man winning a butt kicking contest. This week’s game could get very ugly. We’ll see if the Bison show any real mercy. Next week: vs. Western Illinois.

2. South Dakota State(4-1, 7-2), previously #2. The Jackrabbits started slow at Missouri State but was never in real danger of being upset. The next two games are very important. Winning at least one of the two will guarantee a national seed. Losing both and SDSU will be playing in the First Round. To their benefit, they get both at home. Next: vs. Illinois State.

3. Northern Iowa(4-1, 6-3), previously #4. For a team who had not won on the road, the Panthers have actually looked pretty good the last two weeks. UNI is definitely in national seed conversation and finishing 2-1 should accomplish that goal. Winning out? At worst, probably a #5, potentially a #4. But one game at a time. Next: vs. Indiana State.

4. Illinois State(3-2, 6-3), previously #3. The Redbirds looked like a lead pipe cinch for the playoffs and a marginal national seed just last week. But looking closer, a 2-1 finish is probably needed to guarantee a bid. One has to wonder if Northern Iowa laid the blueprint in how to really beat these guys. Next: @ South Dakota State.

5. Southern Illinois(3-2, 5-4), previously #5. Southern Illinois stayed hot, winning their third in a row, at Indiana State. The next two games are also vitally important for these guys. Both are very winnable games. Doing so will get them no less than 7-5 to finish the year with an FBS win over Massachusetts. The Selection Committee loves those higher level wins and they’re one of only three teams in the FCS to pull the trick in 2019. The fact they lost one of these games also is almost disregarded. Double good for SIU. Next: vs. Missouri State.

6. Youngstown State(1-4, 5-4), previously #6. Well, the North Dakota State game went about as predicted. A playoff push is still not impossible, but the Penguins have no more rope. And the fact remains, a 3-0 finish might only leave them in the conversation. Though, that would mean a season ending victory over Illinois State. But that’s three weeks away. Concentration on the task at hand has to be the focus now. Next: @ South Dakota.

7. South Dakota(2-3, 3-6), previously #7. If head coach Bob Nielson isn’t feeling the heat right now, he’s wearing some very good insulated underwear. Losing to the one winless team remaining in the conference is a really bad look for a group many thought were a fringe playoff contender in the summer. That’s why they play the games. The last three opponents all are playing for the playoff existence or seeding purposes. Not a good position to be in. Next: vs. Youngstown State.

8. Indiana State(1-4, 3-6), previously #8. Indiana State couldn’t stop the sudden Saluki train, falling at home. That sixth loss also ends any thought to a playoff berth. It doesn’t get any easier this week, traveling to Cedar Falls. Still, the Sycamores have enough talent to make things hard. And as can be said just about any MVFC match-up, ya never know. Next: @ Northern Iowa.

9. Missouri State(1-4, 1-7), previously #9. The Bears fell to their third straight top ten opponent. Sometimes the Valley schedule is just unfair to those trying to climb into relevance. They’re probably a mid-level conference team in other conferences. Here, they get beat up. The next two games are now on the road, that doesn’t make things any easier. Next: @ Southern Illinois.

10. Western Illinois(1-4, 1-8), previously #10. Nice to see the Leathernecks get off the scheid and win a game. The last three look very difficult, none more so than this week. But everything they accomplish from now on is gravy. But don’t expect potatoes this week.  Next: @ North Dakota State.