Every school in the league has played two conference games so far and we are starting to see the separation of the top teams and the ones. We are down to just two undefeated teams both overall and three within league play in North Dakota State and South Dakota with Illinois State losing the last MVFC out-of-conference contest at the Big Sky’s Northern Arizona last week.
There is little movement in the rankings this week. Again, last week’s ranking is in parenthesis. As the top ranked CSJ Sagarin ranked FCS league, now we will see teams knocking off each other week to week. Who will get the wins this week with the big game this week being NDSU traveling to YSU.
1. (1) North Dakota State 5-0 (2-0 MVFC)
Last Week: Beat Indiana State 52-0 on the road
This Week: at Youngstown State
The Bison had a rather easy start to the conference slate with the bottom two teams in our power rankings to start. Now it gets tough with five of the six games against currently ranked squads with a mix of three each at home and on the road. The tough road starts this week at YSU.
2. (3) South Dakota– 5-0 (2-0)
Last Week: Beat Youngstown State 31-28 at home
This Week: vs. Indiana State
The Coyotes look very impressive right now and a win this week over IN State will secure a winning record already for USD. It is looking like this team will make the playoffs for the first time in its DI history this year.
3. (6) Western Illinois – 4-1 (1-1)
Last Week: Beat Northern Iowa 38-29 on the road
This Week: vs. Missouri State
The Leathernecks actually lost an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter but quarterback Sean McGuire engineered a game winning drive to pull out the victory on the road over UNI. (a fumble recovery for touchdown after this drive made the score look even better). WIU should handle MSU easily this week.
4. (4) South Dakota State 4-1 (1-1)
Last Week: Beat Southern Illinois 49-14 at home
This Week: vs. Northern Iowa
SDSU’s offense looked like its normal high powered self last week in the win over SIU. UNI comes to town this week and could be a recipe for even more offensive success against what looks like an unusually soft Panther defense.
5. (2) Youngstown State 3-2 (1-1)
Last Week: Lost to South Dakota 31-28 on the road
This Week: vs. North Dakota State
The Penguins lost in overtime to begin the season and on a last-second field goal last week–both being on the road. Now, YSU must rebound from the loss and play NDSU.
6. (5) Illinois State 4-1 (2-0)
Last Week: Lost to Northern Arizona 37-16 on the road
This Week: at Southern Illinois
The Redbirds look like their weekness is against the pass on defense as they let the Big Sky’s NAU basically pass it all over the place. Now, IL State must go again on the road against rival SIU.
7. (7) Northern Iowa 2-3 (1-1)
Last Week: Lost to Western Illinois 38-29
This Week: at South Dakota State
The Panthers are nearly in must win mode now and that has proved dangerous for their opponents in year’s past. We shall see if the UNI defense wakes up as it has not looked its normal self. In fact, UNI is ranked 9th out of ten schools in defense thus far in league play. It doesn’t get any easier with a road trip to SDSU this week.
8. (8) Southern Illinois – 2-3 (0-2)
Last Week: Lost to South Dakota State 49-14 on the road
This Week: vs. Illinois State
SIU last year was a high profile offense despite losing. Now the Salukis are losing and not scoring like they were last year. We shall see if it rights the ship this week in hosting IL State.
9. (9) Missouri State – 1-4 (0-2)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Western Illinois
The Bears had two weeks to prepare for the road trip to WIU. Will the extra time help MSU or will remain winless in league play?
10. (10) Indiana State – 0-5 (0-2)
Last Week: Lost to North Dakota State 52-0 at home
This Week: at South Dakota
The Sycamores looked like a lower division team last week against NDSU as neither side of the ball really could do anything. It gets no easier this week with a trip to South Dakota.
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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