At Craig Bohl’s weekly Monday press conference this week, he made a point to talk about the disappointment he felt that the Missouri Valley Football Conference had only had two teams get into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
I will take it a step further and call it complete ignorance on the part of the committee. To have a conference that is ranked number one in the Gridiron Power Index (GPI) only have one at-large bid team get it shows the committee did not watch much Valley football this season.
Or, if they did, they were not watching the right games. NDSU dominated every team they played in the Valley, outside of the University of Northern Iowa. Besides that, the Valley was the most balanced conference in the nation.
I could regal you with how close some teams were to beating the University of Montana or Eastern Illinois but I’ll spare you those arbitrary points and stick with some facts.
1) UNI, the Panthers, beat Iowa State, a Football Bowl Division school, and McNeese State during the season. They went 7-5 overall and were not placed in the playoffs. Flashback three years to 2010 and we see NDSU walking off the field in Springfield, Mo. just having lost their fourth game of the year to Missouri State University 3-0. The next day, they are put in the FCS playoffs.
NDSU also had a victory over a FBS school in the University of Kansas and didn’t have a victory over the other two MVFC playoff qualifying teams in UNI and Western Illinois University. Similar to what UNI did this season, yet UNI receivers nothing.
2) Youngstown State University went 8-4 this season. They won five games in the Valley. Their ranking in the GPI was 12. They were tied in GPI ranking with UNI. Here are some teams that were given at-large berths to the playoffs that finished behind them.
The University of New Hampshire, Sam Houston State University, Tennessee State University, Jacksonville State University, Southern Utah, Samford, South Carolina State University and Forham. Eight schools in total with worse GPIs than YSU picked to go to the tournament.
3) Southern Illinois University, which had the same 5-3 conference record as South Dakota State University and the same 7-5 overall record as UNI, was snubbed due in large part to…. Hmm.
They had a better GPI than all of the teams I listed above and beat SDSU and UNI in back-to-back weeks on the road. They lost in overtime to the number two seeded Panthers of EIU and actually played an FBS school, unlike Tennessee State or Jacksonville State. (No. Georgia State is not a real FBS school. Sorry.)
To me, the committee looks at overall record, they don’t take into account difficulty of conference schedule and still are under the impression that the best football in the country comes from the east and not the Midwest.
It is an east coast bias that hurts the MVFC and leaves coaches wondering what in the world they have to do to get their teams in the playoffs. This committee seems more like a group of buddies who get together in their friends garage to talk about how good their alma mater is and not about the fact that the BEST conference in the nation should probably get some recognition.
Frankly, they are a bunch of rubes.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.