Missouri Valley Football Non-Conference Analysis

Illinois State: vs. St. Xavier, IL (Low), vs. Eastern Illinois, @ Colorado State (FBS).
For a team wanting to get back to the playoffs, the lower class opponent does nothing for them. A game with a Big Sky opponent would have suited them much better for strength of schedule.
Indiana State: vs. Quincy (Low), @ Louisville (FBS), @ Eastern Illinois.
The lower class opponent should provide a win but little preparation for their two road games or anything they’ll face in their rugged conference schedule.
Missouri State: @ Oklahoma State (FBS), vs. Lincoln, MO (Low), vs. Northern Arizona.
Two very tough opponents and a lower class team. Luckily, they don’t have to travel to Flagstaff to play NAU. The trip to Stillwater will be plenty difficult.
North Dakota State: vs. Cal Poly, vs. North Alabama, vs. Delaware.
Three home games in non-conference action means they get a total of seven for 2018. When you’re the defending FCS champion, you can dictate these things a little easier.
Northern Iowa: @ Montana, @ Iowa (FBS), vs. Hampton.
Two road games begin the season. Both are at two of the rowdier places to play in FCS and FBS, respectively. The home date with Hampton fell into their lap when both schools needed an opponent.
South Dakota: @ Kansas State (FBS), vs. Northern Colorado, @ Weber State.
A Big XII roadie with a pair of Big Sky games. The home game should favor them, the away game is against last year’s conference champion.
South Dakota State: @ Iowa State (FBS), vs. Montana State, vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Visiting the Big XII’s Cyclones a brought success in recent years, though they’re improving lately. The other two games are both at home. One is dangerous, the other should be a certain win.
Southern Illinois: @ Murray State, @ Mississippi (FBS), vs. Southeast Missouri State.
A pair of Ohio Valley teams front and back this schedule. A SEC road game should prove to be a pretty mighty test.
Western Illinois: @ Montana State, @ Illinois (FBS), vs. Montana.
A split home and away series with the Treasure State this year. A middle game with in-state FBS Illinois provides some good meat for that sandwich.
Youngstown State: vs. Butler, @ West Virginia (FBS), vs. Valparaiso.
For at least the last three or four years, this has been a normal non-conference set-up; one FBS road game and two home games with teams from the Northeast Conference, or like this year, Pioneer League.
Missouri Valley Opponent Breakdown
8 vs. Big Sky
1 vs. Colonial
4 vs. Ohio Valley
2 vs. Pioneer
1 vs. Southwestern
2 vs. FCS Independent
9 vs. FBS
3 vs. Lower Class Opponents (Div-II, Div-III or NAIA)
Eight games against the Big Sky, the MVFC/Big Sky Challenge is very healthy. Still, there are a few points you look at the non-conference schedule and wonder why a few more couldn’t have been added. This is no more apparent than seeing those three lower class opponents. Everybody except North Dakota State plays a game with an FBS opponent. Really seems like the MVFC pulled in the reigns a little this year and didn’t schedule out of region as much as previous seasons.