A big win vs. UCLA sees Washington State onto the rankings.
It’s time for a DI College Spring Ranking update, as all but two DI teams will end their seasons this weekend. Davis, Calif., and Marietta, Ga., host spring quarterfinals this Saturday-Sunday, and the two victors will advance to the spring championship on May 7. The DI Elite teams won’t enter post-season until April 22.
The big news last week was the cancellation the DI national championship. Fall champion UCONN informed USA Rugby in December 2015 that it could not compete on May 7, as that date conflicted with the university’s graduation. UCONN is senior-heavy (and coach Mark Jordan’s son is also graduating UCONN that day) and would have had to send an inexperienced team unbefitting a national final. Unfortunately, this news was not communicated until last week, and DI spring teams were informed then that their seasons would end at the spring championship stage.
Consequently, UCONN is no longer reflected on these rankings, which only showcase those teams playing competitively in the spring. The removal coincided with the need to add Washington State, which played its Pacific Mountain Rugby Conference (PMRC) crossover against UCLA last Friday, a week after the rest of the field. The Cougars hosted the Bruins, which had just returned from rugby camp in Amsterdam, and triumphed 58-5. Fellow west coast quarterfinalists UC Davis, UC San Diego and Chico State also posted big wins in their crossover matches against Arizona State, Cal and Washington, respectively.
Washington State comes in above Indiana University, which is the only ranked team that is still idle. The Red Storm had scheduled appearances at the Nash Bash and Cherry Blossom tournaments, but ultimately did not attend. Indiana gets moving Sunday at the Big Ten 7s tournament, which involves Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Purdue.
The only other movement was a swap between Central Florida and Florida International. The pair had identical records, but UCF banked a bonus point in its loss to FIU for a one-point lead in the standings. And since Florida received one seed to the east coast quarterfinals, that meant the end of the road for FIU.
Mason Dixon received the other three seeds to Marietta, Ga., after a wild conference championship last weekend. The first and second seeds were predictable – UVA reiterated the divide between itself and the rest of the competition, while UNC distanced itself from the field below. The third-place game saw a weary Virginia Tech (which had played 150 minutes on Saturday prior to the third-place match Sunday) take a three-try lead over James Madison. The game went into overtime and JMU prevailed. At the east quarterfinals, an old South rivalry between UNC and UCF will replay itself, while UVA takes on James Madison Saturday.
The DI Elite teams in the top half of the ranking have been busying themselves with friendlies and tournaments. The most interesting result occurred between Central Washington and BYU in a rematch of the teams’ first-ever meeting in the fall. The Wildcats traveled to Utah and prevailed 12-7 for what is hopefully a preview of the intense playoffs to come.
Looking toward this weekend, Penn State will be active in the Big Ten 7s; Central Washington hosts former USA Women’s 7s coach Ric Suggitt’s team University of Lethbridge; Life and Lindenwood head south to the Atlanta 7s Festival, where they’re favored to meet in the elite final; BYU plays Dixie State; and Stanford continues to recoup after spring break losses to Dartmouth and Life West.
DI COLLEGE RANKINGS – APRIL 6, 2016
New Rank (Old Rank) Team (League Record). Results
1(1) Penn State (11-0). Went 3-0 on Italy tour; beat McGill 98-12; tied DC Furies 40-40
2 (2) Central Washington (9-0). Finished 2nd at Vancouver 7s, defeated BYU 12-7
3 (3) Life (11-2). Defeated UCF 99-0, won Nash Bash club division 110-15
4 (4) Lindenwood (8-2). Defeated Twin Cities 43-24, won Lions 7s Cup 205-0 & STL Ruggerfest
5 (5) BYU (4-1). Defeated Vipers 50-5, Lethbridge (Canada) 26-14, lost 12-7 to Central Washington
6 (6) UC Davis (6-1). Defeated Arizona State 96-10 in PMRC playoff
7 (7) Stanford (4-2) Lost 29-22 in Dartmouth friendly, 75-10 to DII club Life West
8 (8) UC San Diego (11-0). Defeated Cal 77-12 in PMRC playoff
9 (9) UVA (7-0). Defeated UNC 39-5 for Mason Dixon championship
10 (12) Chico State (3-4). Defeated Washington 58-3 in PMRC crossover
11 (unr) Washington State (7-2). Defeated UCLA 58-5 in PMRC crossover
12 (10) Indiana (5-4). Idle
13 (13) North Carolina (5-2). Defeated JMU 47-5, lost 39-5 to UVA in Mason Dixon final
14 (15) Central Florida (7-1). Defeated Florida State 56-0; won Florida seed
15 (14) Florida International (7-1). Defeated Florida State 27-7