Missouri Valley bracketology

Zach Vraa scores a touchdown against SIU two weeks ago.

Per the beauty of the blog, time to editorialize my story from Wednesday on the playoff possibilities of Missouri Valley teams. In other words: who is going to make the field? OK, I’m breaking down, yes it’s November tomorrow and time for some bracketology:

  • NDSU (8-0) is in. At 8-0, even if the Bison drop one of their last three games, they still should get one of the top two seeds and be guaranteed home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
  • Youngstown StateĀ  (7-1) is in. The Penguins, however, have their toughest stretch left being at South Dakota and Northern Iowa and at home against NDSU and SDSU. I think they will beat USD and have a solid shot to win at UNI and at home against SDSU and have a chance against NDSU.
  • After that, it gets dicey. The team that has the best chance? Southern Illinois (4-4) with winnable games left against Western Illinois, Missouri State, Illinois State and Indiana State. Plus, the Salukis own wins over Northern Iowa and SDSU and would have the head-to-head advantage if all three finish 8-4. Problem is SIU lost its starting quarterback and it remains to be seen if the backup can lead the way.
  • South Dakota State (5-4). Only three games left including a much-needed bye week this week. The Jacks host Indiana State, are at South Dakota and travel to Youngstown on the last game of the season that can be a statement game to make the playoffs. SDSU beat UNI so therefore, if the Panthers run the table and SIU doesn’t, it would have the head-to-head advantage if both finish 8-4.
  • UNI (4-4). The Panthers have that FBS win at Iowa State, but have dropped four straight and lost their defensive leader in linebacker Jake Farley. Like SDSU, it plays Youngstown (in two weeks) and has winnable games left against Illinois State this weekend, Missouri State and Western Illinois. UNI needs to run the table and have SDSU and SIU both stumble once more, certainly not out of the question.
  • South Dakota (4-4). The Coyotes gave it a run, but a lack of offense will eventually catch up them. Plus the schedule is brutal with Youngstown, Montana, SDSU and NDSU remaining.
  • Illinois State (4-4). Like USD, the Redbirds have tough schedule remaining plus have a freshman quarterback. The finish at NDSU and SIU and they still don’t have a playoff quality win and we’re heading into November. Best victory is USD.

What will happen on Selection Sunday: NDSU and Youngstown will be the only representatives from the league. Everybody else has been beating each other up, no reason to figure it will stop now. You can argue all you want about the power of the Missouri Valley, face it, when it comes to playoff selection, it comes down to wins and losses in the eyes of the playoff committee. There are notable exceptions like Lehigh with one loss last year not making it, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

27 thoughts on “Missouri Valley bracketology

  1. Hard to imagine the MVFC could only end up with 2 bids but your article shows how difficult it will be for a Valley team to claim that 3rd spot.

    I think that whoever can beat YSU out of UNI and SDSU will get a 3rd spot for the MVFC. Youngstown usually has a drop off in their play every year where they start losing games they shouldn’t lose.

  2. There will be a 3rd team, no matter what the record is, especially since the increased the teams to 24.

  3. It would be a travesty of only 2 teams from the MVFC made the 24 team field. Some of these other conferences are exceedingly weak. There’s no way the second team in the Northeast, Pioneer, Patriot, Mid-Eastern, Big South or Ohio Valley is more deserving of a post season birth than the 3rd team in the MVFC.

    • Normally I’d agree with you, but the Patriot will get 2 teams in this season, because Fordham isn’t eligible to win Patriot League title, because they are fully funded w/63 scholarships, Patriot won’t do that till 2015, so Lehigh will get the AUTO bid and Fordham grabs an at-large. OVC is going to get 2 Eastern Illinois is in and likely Tennessee State with an at-large. The Big South has a shot at two, Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern play each other next week, if CSU beats CC, they’d be 10-1 only loss to Colorado, hard to keep them out. More on video blog Sunday.

      • I know the field is up to 24 teams but the selection committee isn’t running a charity quite yet. The “had to keep them out” argument is a lame one. Why is it any harder to keep an undeserving team with 1 or 2 losses out than it is to keep a deserving team with 4 out? Do they not think anyone is paying attention? It’s insulting.

        To be clear, I’m not saying that none of those conference should get a second team into the field, I’m just saying they ought to be in line behind the 3rd team from the best conference in 1-AA.

  4. The only 2 teams to beat SU the last 2 years were MVFC teams. The only team to come within a TD is now FBS. Bring on the weak East Coast and Big Fluffy teams. Plus who wants another conference rematch.

  5. NDSU and YSU game will be a #1 v #4 game in a few weeks (probably should be #1 v #2 eastern illinois &’coastal Carolina? Who do they play?)

    I’m thinking NDSU gets ewu or Montana in a semifinal game at fargodome, then Sam Houston or Youngstown in frisco

  6. In reality, we cannot get in the heads of the bracket voters on how they decide to set up the brackets. The MVFC is the top group to seed, but if only 2 get in, then so what??? The teams need to do what they have to do and beat everyone.

  7. Will be interesting. I think there will be numerous 4 loss teams competing for spots this year so it really depends on how other teams across the country fare down the stretch.

  8. Honestly, SDSU has the most realistic chance of winning out. Indiana St. is in shambles, USD doesn’t score, and NDSU plays Youngstown the week before they play them. So far the “Bison Curse” has really hurt teams this year. The Bison have severely punished teams they have played, and other teams have taken advantage of that the following weeks. With their win in the playoffs last year, SDSU’s name will be thrown around if they win out. However, another regional match up would come of it in the second round (boring). Let’s hope another team in the MVFC makes it in the playoffs so the league can show it’s ability to play physical football. Who knows, maybe (if we’re lucky) they would actually get put in the opposite side of the bracket and they can beat out some better teams to soften up the game is Frisco…

  9. Might I suggest a change of subject. How about the UND hockey team playing one game a year in the Fargodome. It would be a money maker all around. Season ticket holders for UND and 5,000 seats for UND students and the remaining to the general public. UND could pick a series that might not draw much and divide the series up with one in GF and one in Fargo.

    • I’m sure they’d be more than willing to play one game on the campus of NDSU… that would go over pretty well. That has a lot to do with Missouri Valley Bracketology too. Ban this guy!

    • You know I am not a Sioux fan but it would be great for the Dome cuz it would be a sellout. I wouldn’t be in favor of this if there was a D-I hockey program at NDSU or MSU-Moorhead.. It gives the Dome a big payday, people come from GF stay in F-M hotels, eat at F-M restaurants and shop and by gas in F-M as well. To be honest I thought they would be scheduling a game or two in the Scheels Arena by now. I doubt the merchants of GF would be for this. The UND fans who live in GF might not like it either. Best solution is to get a D-I hockey team at MSU-Moorhead.
      Go Dragons! Go Bison!

      • You really think fans from GF would stay in Fargo? Why would it give the FD a big payday? We sell out every game already.

    • Hmmmm………. the Fargodome versus Ralph’s Temple of Ice……..yeah, right !!!

  10. Your kidding right? The team that has the best college arena in the country would want to play in the Fargodome? I get what you are saying and it would great deal for Hockey fans in Fargo but the Dome isn’t a hockey arena and I don’t see the players or avid UND Fan from GF wanting this. It would be a great plan if attendance is down overall and you wanted to spur interest in Fargo. My guess you wouldn’t gain much otherwise there would have been a move to make the club team a varsity sport when they had the chance.

  11. How did this conversation go so off the tracks. SDSU could be the 3rd MVC team even if the are 7-5 with a loss to Youngstown. If SDSU runs the table and finishes 8-4, there will be no doubt they are in. It doesn’t look good for Illinois State and their tough three games left to end the season.

    I say three still get in NDSU, YSU and SDSU from the MVC.

  12. I think SDSU gets in at 8-4 no way at 7-5. If any of those teams ends up 8-4 they are in otherwise only NDSU and YSU get in. Go Bison!

  13. So if YSU wins out (win over NDSU), YSU would be MVFC champs and both teams have 1 loss, does YSU push the bison out of a top 2 seed?

  14. Everyone’s making too much out of the 4 loss number. That doesn’t have the same significance it used to because:

    -The Field is Expanded
    -Most Everyone Is Playing 12 Games, including an FBS game (or in some cases 2)

    Under the theory that an FBS loss shouldn’t really harm you and only benefit if you win, most of the these four loss programs really only have three.

    The Valley gets three in. NDSU (duh), Youngstown and someone else. Sorry but this league is too good to just get two no matter how much they beat each other up.

    Other thing is, YSU could EASILY also finish with four losses. They certainly could drop games to USD, UNI, NDSU, and SDSU too. So if everyone but NDSU has four losses are does that mean the Valley just gets one team because the four loss number is that important? Ha!