CSJ Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings — Week 4

The Missouri Valley Football Conference has proven itself as the top to bottom FCS league in the country. Right now, the league still has half of its schools with undefeated records and the conference as a whole has two FBS wins (and one its losses was in overtime). Western Illinois and South Dakota—two teams picked towards the middle of the pack in the preseason polls—are on a collision course this week against each other.

While conference play gets fully into action this week, it actually go underway last week with Missouri State traveling to Illinois State. That wasn’t much of a match-up with the Redbirds handling that game easily. But this week, we see two very compelling match-ups with SDSU traveling to Youngstown State and the other South Dakota school in USD travels to Western Illinois. Also, UNI travels to SIU as the third billing and a very important game at least for the Panthers.

Last week saw little movement with just four contests played involving MVFC squads but the most impressive win was Western Illinois’ FBS win over Coastal Carolina. The Leathernecks had to move-up because of that outstanding win. But elsewhere, rankings stayed about the same. Again, last week’s ranking is in parenthesis.

1. (1) North Dakota State (3-0, 0-0)

Last week: Beat Robert Morris 56-0 at home

This Week: vs. Missouri State

NDSU has given up just 20 points in three games this season in their three out-of-conference games in total. While two opponents in Mississippi Valley State and Robert Morris won’t raise too many eyebrows, including Eastern Washington will (a team that just scored 48 last week in its win at Montana).

2. (2) South Dakota State (3-0. 0-0)

Last week: Bye

This Week: at Youngstown State

The Jacks are still undefeated but had a tougher than expected game before the bye week at Montana State. SDSU travels again about the same distance away from home but just in the opposite direction from two weeks ago against a very tough YSU team.

3. (3) Youngstown State (2-1, 0-0)

Last week: Bye

This Week: vs. South Dakota State

YSU also had a bye week coming into this key MVFC opener against SDSU. The Penguins have only won once in five MVFC match-ups all-time in against SDSU. The Penguins will be hoping home field advantage will help them win this time.

4. (4) South Dakota (3-0, 0-0)

Last week: Bye

This Week: at Western Illinois

South Dakota will put their best start since 2006 on the line when they travel to Western Illinois. The key to USD’s turnaround has definitely been its defense. The Coyotes right now lead the league with 14 sacks thus far this season.

5. (6) Western Illinois (3-0, 0-0)

Last week: Beat FBS Coastal Carolina 52-10 on the road

This Week: vs. South Dakota

The Leathernecks scolded Coastal Carolina last week—a team that is in its first year of play in FBS. The 52 points set a best for a MVFC squad in a win over a FBS team. And the surprising thing is that WIU is off to an undefeated start despite playing its first three games on the road. Now, for its home opener and homecoming, WIU gets a very hot USD team. This game should be fun.

6. (5) Illinois State (3-0, 1-0)

Last week: Beat Missouri State 34-9 on the road

This Week: vs. Indiana State

It’s rare you see a team win and drop a spot but WIU above them just performed too well to not move-up. Illinois State did win easily and on paper, should have another easy game against the other ISU but the Sycamores have played the Redbirds tough through the years and I expect this one also to be closer than the Redbirds win over MSU.

7. (7) Northern Iowa (1-2, 0-0)

Last week: Bye

This Week: at Southern Illinois

The Panthers are not performing to its normal high standard especially on defense. UNI has allowed 14 touchdowns in the first three games against two Big Sky teams and FBS Iowa State. We will see if the bye week improved any schemes on defense this week against high scoring SIU>

8. (8) Southern Illinois (2-1, 0-0)

Last week: Lost to FBS Memphis 44-31 on the road

This Week: vs. Northern Iowa

The Salukis looked good against a FBS squad of Memphis, who had just beaten ranked UCLA previous to this game, but just couldn’t keep up at the end to pull off the upset. Now, UNI comes to town and this should be a good indicator game for how good this SIU team will be this year in conference play.

9. (9) Missouri State (1-3, 0-1)

Last week: Lost to Illinois State 34-9 at home

This Week: at Youngstown State

MSU has the conference’s worst offense (20 points per game) and worst defense (40.3 points per game). These statistics don’t add up well to good results in playing at NDSU this week.

10. (10) Indiana State (0-3, 0-0)

Last week: Bye

This Week: at Illinois State

Indiana State has really been better than it 0-3 record with the last game before the bye week against Liberty really should have been a win but lost on a last second FG block. Getting a win at least on paper looks tough with games at Illinois State this week and hosting NDSU next week.