We're closing in on four weeks to the start of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference football season, and the only commissioner the conference has ever known is very bullish on where things stand a month before kickoff.

Missouri Valley Football Conference

Patty Viverito has been with the league since 1982, when it was operating at the Gateway Conference.  She's seen a lot of things change on the landscape of college football over the years, most recently the trend of top FCS schools like Georgia Southern and Appalachian State moving from FCS to FBS.  The move is one Viverito says has its downfalls.

The makeup of the entire FBS as we currently know it may be changing, as the top five FBS Conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, SEC) continue to hint at breaking away from the rest of the pack to form their own subdivision.  It's a move Viverito thinks may bode well for Missouri Valley teams.

Another challenge on the horizon for FCS teams, conferences like the Big 10 adopting new scheduling policies eliminating games against non-FBS teams.

On the field, the FCS playoff brackets are being expanded for the second time in three years, from 20 to 24 teams this season.  One additional automatic qualifying conference (accounting for 11 of the 24 spots) has been added, leaving three additional at-large spots (up from 10 to 13).

2013 also features two important changes to the at-large selection process: Division I wins and a new rating system.

This season, about 50 Missouri Valley Conference games will be broadcast on a host of different TV networks this season.

The MVC also has the #1 presence of any FCS Conference on two national watch lists:

Dennis Hubbard/South Dakota State University

5 players on the Walter Payton List for top offensive player (including SDSU's Zach Zenner).

University of South Dakota

4 on the Buck Buchanan list for the top defensive player.  USD's Tyler Starr is on that list.