Two weeks remain in the regular season and the playoff potential teams still have so many questions to answer.
The MVFC schedule makers really did some good forecasting as there are four teams in contention for the playoffs and all get to play each other down the stretch (with UNI being the one exception).
This week it’s South Dakota at North Dakota State and Illinois State at South Dakota State. The final week flips the schedule, with Illinois State hosting NDSU and USD hosting SDSU.
With four teams jammed up at 4-2 in conference play, only one thing is clear; If NDSU wins out, they will have won their seventh straight Valley title and first outright title since 2013.
1. (1) North Dakota State (8-1 overall, 5-1 MVFC)
Last week: Lost to South Dakota State 33-21 on the road
This week: vs. South Dakota
Despite losing at South Dakota State last week, the Bison stay atop the Power Rankings this week still with the best record within conference play. We will see if this loss is a wake-up call or a sign of more of the same this week.
2. (3) South Dakota State (7-2, 4-2)
Last week: Beat North Dakota State 33-21 on the road
This week: vs. Illinois State
A big win over NDSU puts them in prime position to at least finish second in the MVFC standings. This week, however, will not be one for a slip-up as Illinois State comes to Brookings.
3. (2) South Dakota (7-2, 4-2)
Last week: Lost to Northern Iowa 34-29 on the road
This week: at North Dakota State
It appeared the Coyotes were going to be able to escape out of Cedar Falls with a win. Then, UNI scored 21 unanswered points to end the game to sneak out the victory. USD now must play the ‘State’ schools of the Dakotas in back-to-back weeks–not an easy task.
4. (5)Northern Iowa (5-4, 4-2)
Last week: Beat South Dakota 34-29 at home
This week: at Missouri State
With the win over USD, UNI looks likely to get a postseason berth. A road game against Missouri State this week and then a home game against Indiana State to end the season looks very much like a 7-4 overall record.
5. (4) Illinois State (6-3, 4-2)
Last week: Lost to Western Illinois 31-14 at home
This week: at South Dakota State
After starting last week’s game with a 14-0 lead, IL State did pretty much nothing after this. The Redbirds likely have to win one of the next two game to get a playoff berth. It won’t be easy though as they get SDSU this week and NDSU the following.
6. (6) Western Illinois (6-3, 3-3)
Last week: Beat Illinois State 31-14 on the road
This week: at Indiana State
WIU looks almost assured a playoff spot at this point especially with a road trip at winless IN State this week. A playoff berth for the Leathernecks would be the second in three years but first under head coach Charlie Fisher.
7. (7) Youngstown State – 4-5 (2-4)
Last week: Beat Indiana State 66-24 on the road
This week: at Southern Illinois
After being shut out the prior week, the Penguins put up 66 on the winless Sycamores. There could be some outside chance for YSU to make the postseason if it should win its last three games including last week but chances look remote.
8. (8) Southern Illinois – 4-5 (2-4)
Last week: Lost to Missouri State 36-28 at home
This week: vs. Youngstown State
SIU came all the way back from being down 24-7 to leading 28-27 against Missouri State before giving away the lead in the fourth quarter. That loss pretty much sealed the fate for the Salukis to be home for the playoffs.
9. (9) Missouri State (3-6, 2-4)
Last week: Beat Southern Illinois 36-28 on the road
This week: vs. Northern Iowa
The Bears seem to be a team on the rise so UNI should beware as MSU can run the ball and could mean a low scoring game this week.
10. (10) Indiana State (0-9, 0-6)
Last week: Lost to Youngstown State 66-24 at home
This week: vs. Western Illinois
In total, the Sycamores are giving up 45.3 points per game, second worst in the entire nation so you can really see why this team is winless.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Reach him at this email or click below: