The top six remaining teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference have a schedule to remember in November and there is a lot yet to decide in those three contests for each team.
North Dakota State continues to pace the field with its undefeated record with South Dakota and Illinois State one game back in the conference race. South Dakota State and Northern Iowa are two games back. Western Illinois is just 2-3 inside the conference but also looks like a team destined for the playoffs if they can win two of its last three games. Southern Illinois even has an outside chance also at 2-3 but likely has to win out to be assured a spot.
Here are my rankings for this week with last week’s rankings in parenthesis.
1. (1) North Dakota State 8-0 overall (5-0 MVFC)
Last week: Beat Northern Iowa 30-14 at home
This week: at South Dakota State
The Bison defense has retained its dominate self again last week against UNI. Possibly the best offense in the conference will be the challenge this week in the Dakota Marker game this week in Brookings.
2. (2) South Dakota 7-1 (4-1)
Last week: Beat Southern Illinois 42-0 at home
This week: at Northern Iowa
The Coyotes put the Salukis in their place last week in the shutout win and pretty much proves USD will be around in the postseason. A road test, however, this week will be a challenge against a desperate UNI squad.
3. (3) South Dakota State 6-2 (3-2)
Last week: Beat Western Illinois 52-24 on the road
This week: vs North Dakota State
The Jacks cooled down the offense a few games ago but seem now to be run on all cylinders just in time to see NDSU come to town.
4. (7) Illinois State 6-2 (4-1)
Last week: Beat Youngstown State 35-0 on the road
This week: vs Western Illinois
The Redbirds righted the ship after two mediocre losses previously. A tough home contest against a road warrior type team in WIU comes to Normal this week so IL State best not rest on the loreals of last week’s road blowout win.
4. (4) Northern Iowa 4-4 (3-2)
Last week: Lost to North Dakota State 30-14 on the road
This week: vs. South Dakota
The Panthers had five turnovers in their loss to NDSU and the interception before halftime turned the tide in the game. Now a very powerful USD squad comes to Cedar Falls this week in what has to be a win if UNI wants to stay in the playoff hunt.
6.(5) Western Illinois 5-3 (2-3)
Last week: Lost to South Dakota State 52-24 at home
This week: at Illinois State
WIU hopes its strong road record (4-1) thus far can help them win at rival Illinois State. After two straight losses, the Leathernecks really need a win this week to stay in the playoff talks.
7. (6) Youngstown State 3-5 (1-4)
Last week: Lost to Illinois State 35-0 at home
This week: at Indiana State
After making it to the national championship game last year, it looking unlikely the Penguins will even make a return trip to the playoff—so is the life in MVFC play. But YSU does get IN State in what could try to right the ship.
8. (8) Southern Illinois 4-4 (2-3)
Last week: Lost to South Dakota 42-0 on the road
This week: vs. Missouri State
SIU can still be in the playoff race if it can win out but based on last week’s blowout loss at USD, that probably isn’t going to happen.
9. (9) Missouri State 2-6 (1-4)
Last week: Beat Indiana State 59-20 at home
This week: at Southern Illinois
The Bears proved they are note at the bottom of the MVFC with a 59-20 win over Indiana State. MSU is looking for higher rankings in playing at SIU this week.
10. (10) Indiana State 0-8 (0-5)
Last week: Lost to Missouri State 59-20 on the road
This week: vs. Youngstown State
The Sycamores’ best chance of winning a game has appeared to have come and gone. They have home games against Youngstown State, Western Illinois and a road game against Northern Iowa to end the season.
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.
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