Yesterday, I painted the picture of how the Missouri Valley Football Conference might get just three teams in the FCS playoffs this year, which is a low number for the league. After today's disastrous performances, not only is three teams getting in a strong possibility, but getting two teams into the bracket is just as likely.
The MVFC had four teams with four losses entering today. Three of them lost. Two of those cost the conference big time.
- In a battle of 5-4 teams, Indiana State knocked off Illinois State 28-23.
- 5-4 Northern Iowa lost a terrible 31-10 game at Youngstown State, who was 3-6.
- 5-4 Western Illinois lost 17-12 at South Dakota, who was also 3-6.
So with North Dakota State improving to 10-0 today and South Dakota State getting to 7-2, only two teams are locks for the playoffs. There's only one team with less than five losses, and that's Indiana State at 6-4.
The problem with that is the Sycamores only have five Division I wins. Usually, seven D1 wins is the mark you have to hit to make the playoffs, although the Valley has gotten 6-win teams in before.
Just two Valley teams are going to have those seven D1 wins this year. The league simply couldn't afford UNI and WIU losing their games. But it happened. And now the Valley looks like a 3-bid league. And three teams would be considered generous from the playoff committee.
Sure, the MVFC has a 5-3 head-to-head advantage on the Big Sky during the nonconference. But when things like Missouri State beating Illinois State or teams like UNI losing to WIU and YSU after knocking off No. 2 SDSU happen, it's going to cost you.
Whether you want to make the argument of the MVFC being down this year or it's so strong that these teams are beating up on each other, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, or the regular season in this case, a Top 3 conference in the FCS is not going to be represented well in the playoffs.