Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
Down to two games left on the slate for the College Premier Division, the competition needs barnburners out of Delaware/Ohio State and Utah/Arizona State to avoid having blowouts in every one of the games this weekend.
Touted as the best college competition in the nation, no one can deny that the CPD boasts the best collection of top level teams. Except there is a big difference between having the best teams and those same teams playing competitive games. In the case of this weekend, the CPD has produced one-way traffic with the top half of the team beating their opponents handily.
In the seven CPD games played thus far this weekend, the winning teams have outscored their opponents by a score of 378-79. That is an average of 54-11. The closest margin of victory was 21 points, which happened in two games.
The action started Friday night with Colorado‘s previously covered 29-3 victory over Colorado State.
The bell curve for the weekend was shattered by… guess who? Cal. Cal (2-0) thumped UC Davis (0-1) 106-0. Not much of a surprise as Cal nearly cracked 100 points last week against San Diego State. Cal’s 16 tries, came out to an average of one try scored every five minutes.
The next highest margin came when Arkansas State (1-0)smashed LSU (0-1) 58-0 in a game that was expected to be closer. Arkansas State’s David Caswell (So) scored a whopping 28 points (3 tries, 5 conv, 1 penalty kick) for the Red Wolves. Could this be Arkansas State’s year to reach the finals?
Arizona (1-0) roughed up visiting Wyoming (0-1) 56-15 in the Western Conference debut for both teams.
Central Washington (2-0) posted a solid 43-17 win over visiting Cal Poly (1-1). Another game that was expected to be a bit closer, Central Washington took care of business.
San Diego State (1-1) bounced back from their lopsided loss last weekend to outpace UCLA (0-1). UCLA had upset in mind, but the Aztecs proved to be ready. Duncan Kelm scored two tries to pace the Aztec attack.
The long road to Texas wasn’t enough to deter Life (2-0) as they defeated Texas A&M (1-1) 43-22 in one of the closer games of the weekend… that is, if you can say a 21-point win is close.
What does it all mean?
That the good teams in the CPD are alot better than the rest. It is not that the rest of the teams are really bad, they just aren’t on the level of the Top 10 or so CPD teams. If you’re looking at the silver lining, then these teams are still learning valuable lessons through defeat. Sometimes the best learning experiences come when a team is tested well beyond their limits and in the process see their weakness.
That all said, what does the CPD remind us of?
Ahhh… that’s right. International rugby. The Top 5 teams in the world are head and shoulders above the next 4-5, those 4-5 teams are head and shoulders better than the next 10 teams.
Next weekend’s schedule has a few better matchups, but this story should be prevalent as the season continues.