MVFC Power Rankings, After Week 11

Two weeks remain in the regular season and until Selection Sunday. The top of the conference seems poised for playoff action, including the fifth team. Barring any supremely crazy results the last two weeks, the MVFC should lead the way with five playoff bids, three of which are probably going to be seeded.

1. North Dakota State(6-0 in MVFC, 10-0 overall), previously #1. A 57-21 win might seem like an excessive blowout, but really, much worse could have happened. The Bison were “friendly” hosts and didn’t put it on Western Illinois too badly, relatively speaking. With two weeks to go, the object now is to win one more game to secure the automatic bid the the playoffs and a guaranteed top two seed and home field all the way to Frisco. That and health, which is even more important. Next week: vs. South Dakota.

2. Northern Iowa(5-1, 7-3), previously #3. The Panthers are all sorts of banged up. The offensive roster is looking down right offensive when you look at all the injuries. Anybody working in sports training or any kind of medical treatment degrees could set up a triage center of the sidelines and be plenty busy. Panthers did what they had to to beat Indiana State. It’ll take a lot better effort than that though to win on the road this next weekend. Next: @ South Dakota State.

3. Illinois State(4-2, 7-3), previously #4. Just when you wondered if the blueprint for beating the Redbirds was laid out and a second half schedule collapse could derail a near certain playoff bid, BOOM! Illinois State goes to Brookings and beats the Jackrabbits and solidifies their playoff existence. They’re right back in the seeding conversation again. Two more wins would probably secure that. Next: vs. Missouri State.

4. South Dakota State(4-2, 7-3), previously #2. The Jackrabbits lost a rare home game to someone NOT named North Dakota State. That’s not to say they don’t give the Bison fits(they do) or that they were blown out, it’s just rare. Hence was the situation on Saturday. Losing a starting quarterback hurts, but there is plenty left in the cupboard, including a stout defense. Oddly enough, a loss this week and the Jacks will be playing in the First Round of the playoffs, as opposed to getting a seed. Next: vs. Northern Iowa.

5. Southern Illinois(4-2, 6-4), previously #5. That’s four consecutive wins now. And those are the four teams directly below them here. This week they play the last one. How can this team be a playoff contender beating just these five teams? They have one of three FBS victories(over Massachusetts) and a win over a very good Tennessee-Martin team from the OVC. Their two non-conference losses are to Southeast Missouri State, who should be playoff bound and FBS Arkansas State. The resume is there, but they HAVE to win this next one. Next: @ Western Illinois.

6. South Dakota(3-3, 4-6), previously #7. What was that? The Coyotes looked like they’d cashed it in for the year and come out and destroyed the final glimmer of playoff hopes that Youngstown State had remaining. What could have been. An unthinkable loss to Western Illinois and a shocking home loss to Houston Baptist in non-conference play, these guys would be 4-2/6-4 and an upset these final two weeks from serious playoff consideration. Next: @ North Dakota State.

7. Indiana State(1-5, 3-7), previously #8. The results weren’t there, but the effort given by the Sycamores in Cedar Falls shows what this team was looking forward to at the beginning of the season. And having not lost the starting and preseason conference first team quarterback, things would have been dramatically different. As it stands, now they just play out the string and build towards 2020. Next: vs. Youngstown State.

8. Youngstown State(1-5, 5-5), previously #6. The Penguins traveled all the way to South Dakota and laid an egg. Any thoughts of the playoffs are over now, so it’s just a matter of playing out the schedule. They do have something to play for though. A win guarantees at least a .500 record. Two wins would mean finishing above. Next: @ Indiana State.

9. Missouri State(1-5, 1-8), previously #9. The un”Bear”able schedule continued with a loss at Southern Illinois. This week they get their fifth straight ranked opponent. Promise it ends after this week, even though they finish with a team who WAS ranked to start the season. Next: @ Illinois State.

10. Western Illinois(1-5, 1-9), previously #10. Nobody expected a victory in Fargo. So regardless of the margin of victory, nothing was really learned, either way. These last two games are both against teams cruising into the playoffs. The ‘Necks could play mega-spoiler this week and do it to an instate brother.  Next: vs. Southern Illinois.