This week was a huge one in the Missouri Valley conference, as two battles between ranked teams took place.
While North Dakota State beating South Dakota State might not have been surprising, the relative ease of which the Bison dispatched the Jackrabbits was, a 28-7 game that really wasn't all that close.
And Illinois State, in a true "show-me" game, at least to me, really did show that they are as advertised, beating Northern Iowa 21-13. While controversial RB Marshaun Coprich did play for the Redbirds, his 143 yards and 2 touchdowns were instrumental in their key conference win.
These two wins cleared a logjam in my Top 10 and established two clear frontrunners in the Missouri Valley race.
1: James Madison Dukes
2: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
3: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
4: Illinois State Redbirds
5: North Dakota State Bison
6: Eastern Washington Eagles
7: Harvard Crimson
8: Chattanooga Mocs
9: Northern Iowa Panthers
10: Indiana State Sycamores
11: Fordham Rams
12: Liberty Flames
13: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
14: Montana Grizzlies
15: Dartmouth Big Green
16: Southeastern Louisiana Lions
17: Sam Houston State Bearkats
18: Richmond Spiders
19: Furman Paladins
20: North Dakota
21: William & Mary Tribe
22: Wofford Terriers
23: New Hampshire Wildcats
24: Portland State Vikings
25: McNeese State Cowboys
- No. 25 Wasn't Easy. I really agonized over who to stick in there this week. A third Ivy League team, perhaps Yale? I didn't feel comfortable with putting the Bulldogs in there especially after already having Harvard and Dartmouth in there. A NEC team? Not after Duquesne lost to both Albany (who was smoked by Holy Cross this week 37-0) and non-scholarship Dayton. 4-1 Bethune-Cookman? After looking at their schedule? Not a chance. Though the Cowboys haven't really done much to justify a ranking except for beat who they're supposed to beat, in a week where I was fumbling for a team to put in the final spot, the undefeated third team out of the Southland conference ended up being it.
- Where's Bo? I hate putting in the 6th or 7th best team of a conference in my Top 25 under any circumstances, and that's what I feel about Bo Pelini's Youngstown State Penguins at this point. Indiana State, whom I reluctantly have at 10th, I feel is a better team than Youngstown, who have had cupcakes Robert Morris, South Dakota and St, Francis (PA) on their docket as well as Pitt. If they beat Illinois State this weekend, we can talk about me putting them in my Top 25. Until they actually prove themselves against real competition, however, I'll pass on having them in.
- Dartmouth At 15? Sure! QB Dalyn Williams, who did a great job building up his NFL resume this weekend with a 41-20 drubbing of Penn, is one of the best FCS quarterbacks in the nation, something he will undoubtedly show again this coming weekend when the Big Green face off against Yale. Southeastern Louisiana, who came dangerously close to getting upset vs. Lamar last Thursday, doesn't look better than them to me. Sam Houston State, who lost to said Lamar team, ain't much better. I didn't really intend to have them at 15, but they kept climbing each time I placed them head-to-head against other teams. I fully anticipate them beating Yale this week.