Complaints have been somewhat common since the 2013 FCS playoff field was announced last November that the Missouri Valley didn’t get more than two teams in the 24-team field. In response, commissioner Patty Viverito put the following challenge to her league teams: play the competition and beat the competition.
She’s 100 percent right. Although perhaps not the marquee matchups, the Valley is 8-0 this year against other FCS teams including 2-0 against the Big Sky Conference and Ohio Valley and 1-0 against the Southland. On Saturday, there are three more games with the Big Sky: UND at Missouri State, South Dakota at Montana and South Dakota State at Southern Utah. NDSU hosts Incarnate Word of the Southland but the reclassifying Cardinals don’t hold lot of weight yet in the FCS. There are two Valley vs. Ohio Valley matchups: Illinois State hosting Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois hosting Southeast Missouri State.
Last year, the Missouri Valley was 5-6 in non-conference play against teams ranked in the top 25. So far, it is 1-0 with SIU beating Eastern last week.
It’s an easy statement to make: if the Missouri Valley expects more than two teams in the playoffs when the field is announced this November, it needs to maintain the early-season pace.
“I don’t care what they say, there’s some subjectivity involved in that whole thing,” SDSU head coach John Stigegelmeier said of the selection process. “We as a league can clear it up by continuing to win against the Big Sky or the Ohio Valley or whoever.”